2019 Irish Enterprise Awards

30 EU BUSINESS NEWS / 2019 Irish Enterprise Awards , Dundalk Institute of Technology Dundalk Institute of Technology: Enterprise and Innovation Centre of the Year 2019 Jan19521 The Regional Development Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) is the driving force behind industry engagement in the North East of Ireland. Aidan Browne, Head of Innovation and Business Development at DkIT discusses howhis team effectively builds links between enterprise and higher education to foster a culture of entrepreneurship and collaboration in the region. Established in 1989, the Regional Development Centre (RDC) was the first campus-based enterprise and innovation centre in Ireland. Since its inception, the centre has supported more than 1,600 entrepreneurs through a variety of supports aimed at helping them to grow and sustain their businesses. Aidan explores the range of services the centre has to offer and how these benefit its users. “At the RDC we offer everything expected from a high-class enterprise and innovation centre including state of the art facilities, collaboration opportunities with researchers, access to expert networks, incubation supports, business coaching and unrivalled access to DkIT’s impressive pool of graduate talent. ” The centre is strategically located at the epicentre of the M1 economic corridor which connects Ireland’s two largest cities, Dublin and Belfast. With its excellent transport infra- structure, strong track record for industry and direct access to talent, the RDC’s location in the North East provides businesses with an attractive option to locate outside of the city environment, as Aidan highlights. “By using our centre, companies can avoid some of the major hurdles associated with establishing a new business in a city, such as the high cost of office space, grid-locked commutes and battles for talent. In 2017, we also became the first campus-based incubator to offer 1GB dedicated broadband speeds to client companies. This ensures that businesses have the same access to high-speed internet as our counterparts based in the capital.” At its core, the RDC aims to secure practical solutions to client requirements by leveraging the resources and expertise at DkIT and to compliment the support provided by the State agencies and the private sector, as Aidan explains. “Thanks to our unique position, at RDC we can fast track access to resources at the Institute such as student placements, gradu- ate employees, and access to collaborative research and consultancy. We are particularly focused on helping companies during the critical stage of starting up and growing a business by providing a informative and supportive environment for entrepreneurs particualrly around business development and funding acquisition from public and private sources. We also manage the New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme in the region on behalf of state agency Enterprise Ireland." The RDC provides extensive coaching and mentoring supports to client companies. The centre has expertise in assisting enterprises on the development of core competencies such as idea evaluation, mastery of commercialisation and building a