Above: Sean O’Driscoll, Chairman and CEO of Glen Dimplex and investor of the fund
A €300,000 Ludgate Seed Capital fund, aimed at companies who locate in The Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, is currently calling on entrepreneurs to register interest in the fund by May 20, 2016. The fund is designed to support start-up and early stage companies with job creation potential. The Ludgate Seed fund is joint-funded by Gain Line Capital Investments Limited and the Sean and Rose O’Driscoll Family Investment Fund, and was announced during the hugely successful National Digital Week in November of last year.
The Ludgate Hub is set in Skibbereen at the heart of scenic West Cork and offers an alternative space for start-ups and early stage companies to work from. Tenants of the hub will experience one of the fastest internet connections in the country powered by an uncontested 1000MB SIRO connection with Vodafone being the business provider. The refurbished Old Bakery building, which will be renamed The Ludgate Hub, was made available for the initiative by local businessman John Field and is due to officially open in Spring 2016. The 10,000 sq ft co-working space is the first of its kind in a non-urban area in Ireland and has already attracted a wealth of digital innovators, start-ups and those working in creative industries.
Maurice Healy, CEO of The Healy Group and investor of the fund said, “It has been great to be involved from the grassroots with Ludgate. It really is a amazing initiative that will give young businesses a great start. This is very close to my heart as the Hub is in my home town and myself and my family are really looking forward to working with the next generation of entrepreneurs, with exciting times ahead”.
The seed fund comes at a welcome time for entrepreneurs, as 2015 saw a significant decline in availability of seed finance. According to the Irish Venture Capital Association, the amount raised by seed funds in Ireland last year was €43.8 million, down from €66.8 million in 2014. In 2015, seed funding accounted for eight per cent of the overall €522 million raised through venture capital.
Sean O’Driscoll, Chairman and CEO of Glen Dimplex and investor of the fund added “For decades rural Ireland has been neglected. Over the last decade many towns and villages in West Cork have been devastated. The Ludgate Digital Hub combined with the arrival of 1,000MBps of broadband to Skibbereen opens up enormous new opportunities for West Cork. This new Digital age will make the impossible possible and consign geographic disadvantages to history and reinvigorate West Cork”.
All expressions of interest are encouraged to pitch for a share of this fund, by demonstrating how the fund could support job creation or retention. Interested parties can find out more information by visiting www.ludgate.ie/seed-funding/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm, Friday, May 20 2016.