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Cluster Opens and Toucan Come Too

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DateTuesday, May 12, 2009

The Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) and Microsoft are seeking to accelerate the indigenous software sector with a joint collaboration to host Ireland's first and only dedicated cluster environment for the Microsoft BizSpark initiative which will see the GEC software development cluster for start-up and early phase software development companies.




Microsoft Ireland's BizSpark Programme is an initiative designed to help indigenous technology start ups to grow into successful businesses. The programme recognises the unique and significant role that startup companies can play in helping to stimulate and drive an economy, and is designed to provide a package of supports which will strengthen their ability to develop innovative technologies and solutions while growing in markets at home and abroad.



The partnership with GEC builds on the programme by providing dedicated business and software development facilities, software, training and business advice to the six companies accepted into the first phase of the programme - all essential elements to help remove the obstacles to starting a software business in Ireland.



Companies with strong growth potential will be integrated into the prestigious Dublin BIC start-up programme which provides extensive business development services and access to finance.



Establshed in 2000, the Dublin city centre GEC creates the ideal environment for fostering entrepreneurship and job creation, and is currently home to around 70 early stage indigenous enterprises. The centre provides a mix of flexible office space, together with a complete range of enterprise support services and finance through the AIB Seed Capital Fund or the Halo Business Angel Partnership.



John McInerney, (pictured left) manager, Guinness Enterprise Centre said, "We are keen to kick-start the next generation of Ireland's international entrepreneurs. Together with Microsoft and Dublin BIC, we can bring the necessary technology, business development expertise and seed-capital to accelerate the development of Ireland's indigenous IT sector, which is absolutely critical to our economic regeneration."

"This is just one of the programme initiatives that we are rolling out to let people know that entrepreneurship is a viable option and that there are great supports available for the right people and ideas", he concluded.



Hosting 365 Support the Microsoft Bizspark Programme in IrelandBizspark is based on three essential pillars, which offer young companies and entrepreneurs valuable tools and support.


Firstly, participants have access to Microsoft's current full-featured development tools, platform technologies, and production licenses of server products.


Startups receive professional support from Microsoft and BizSpark Network Partners around the world, including incubators, investors, advisors and government agencies.


Lastly, start-ups have access to discounts on Dell hardware, and to a range of internet hosters like partners Hosting365 and C-Infinity.



Ronan Geraghty, (pictured right) BizSpark Programme Manager (Ireland) at Microsoft, said, "Entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in driving innovation and creating the kind of new jobs that are essential to support Ireland's Smart Economy vision. The BizSpark programme has been designed to help Ireland's indigenous start up community at a time when they need the support most. We have had a huge response to the programme to date with almost 200 companies signed up to participate."


Geraghty continued, "We are delighted to build on the offering further through the collaboration with the GEC. We believe that the companies selected to participate in the cluster will receive significant benefits as a result and we look forward to working with GEC to ensure that this extension of the programme is a tremendous success."




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