• Hypermotion

Cities of Innovation: Galway

Additional information

ICT Infrastructure

Only 2% of premises don’t have a high speed 30MB broadband or above, and they are within the National Broadband Plan (NBP). The NBP objective is to ensure everyone has access to high speed broadband.


Galway also has a Broadband Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) originally funded by the government and operated by eNet. There are a good range of broadband providers supplying a range of services to the Galway City market.

Local, national and international transport links

There is also an early morning commuter service between Athlone and Galway. The railway line between Galway and Limerick has reopened serving Limerick, Ennis, Athenry and Galway and new stations at Sixmilebridge, Gort, Ardrahan, Craughwell and Oranmore.


There are 15 daily services between Galway and Dublin and 12 services between Galway and Cork, provided by Bus Éireann. In addition, there are regular daily private bus services to and from Dublin, many of which provide direct links to and from Dublin Airport. There is also a network of daily bus services, which connect other locations in the county. There are also daily services direct to Shannon Airport.


GoBus travels between Galway and Dublin City and Dublin Airport, with up to 20 daily return services.


Irish Citylink operates six main routes offering 100 daily departures.


As well as Shannon International Airport, there is Dublin International Airport with flights to the US, UK, Europe and domestic routes. New international routes include daily f lights to Washington and Dubai. New services direct to China and Hong Kong became operational during 2018. Two hours 15 minutes’ drive from Galway.

University links and access to talent

The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) is the third largest in Ireland. It was ranked in the top 200 of the Most International Universities in the World by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016.


The Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) operates five campuses with 7,324 students (figures for 2013). There are two campuses in Galway City. A third campus specialising in the furniture is located in Letterfrack in Co Galway alongside the Furniture Technology Centre where there are approximately 205 students. A fourth campus is located in Mountbellew in Co Galway which focuses on Agricultural Studies, and the fifth campus is in Castlebar, Co Mayo with 807 full-time students. GMIT has three research centres representing areas of research excellence and expertise:

Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC)

Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Centre

Centre for Integration of Sustainable Energy Technologies (CiSET)


Links between education and industry:

Extensive collaboration with industry involves a number of internationally recognised research centres, including: Insight @ NUIG, CURAM, NCBES, REMEDI, NFB and more.


External liaison, exchanged learning, adult education and distance learning programmes. Enterprise Ireland funds the Technology Transfer Office at NUI Galway.


The West Regional Skills Forum is a collaborative forum comprised of representatives from education and training provider groups namely the National University Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Galway Roscommon Education & Training Board (GRETB) , Mayo Education & Training Board (MSLETB), Skillnets, and Intreo working in partnership with industry representative groups and state agencies such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, IBEC, Western Development Commission, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Fáilte Ireland, Local Enterprise Office, Construction Industry Federation, Teagasc, Chambers of Commerce, and the American Chamber. The Forum is industry-led with Senior Director for R&D at Hewlett Packard, Mark Gantly, as Chair. Industry representation is across 11 industry sectors including Food & Natural Resources, Hospitality & Tourism, Pharma, Medtech, ICT, Construction, Retail, SME, Creative Industries, Retail, Engineering and Electronic Manufacturing. The aim of the regional skills forum is to support and facilitate communication and engagement between education and enterprise in the identification, development and delivery of skills required for the region.


Galway Roscommon Education & Training Board works to support individuals through learning, to achieve their full potential and contribute to social, cultural and economic development.


Specific Skills Training courses typically take over six months full- time to complete and are designed to meet the needs of industry across a range of sectors leading to accreditation at levels 4-6 on the NFQ or certification from an Industry accrediting body. Courses are full-time and all-year round. Examples of courses include; Computer Applications and Office Skills, Retail Skills Health and Beauty, Business Administration, IT Security Management, Business Process Improvement, Manual and Computerised Payroll and Book keeping, Life Sciences Manufacturing Operations.Traineeships typically take from 4-9 months full-time to complete.


They provide occupation-specific training and integrate formal classroom training and workplace coaching with a host employer. Courses are full time and all year round to facilitate those entering the labour market for the first time and persons wishing to update or acquire new skills. All programmes lead to accreditation at levels 4-6 on the NFQ or certification from a recognised external accredited body. Courses provide training as a Beauty Therapist, Outdoor Activity Instructor, Business Systems Service Technician and Software Developer.


Access to talent

— Galway has a strong cluster of technology companies with EMEA and global functions, including: HPE, SAP, Cisco, Avaya, EA and Fidelity.

— Strength in Software Engineering and R&D

— Multilingual, Tech and Customer Support and Inside Sales skills across leading companies such as Wayfair, SAP, SmartBear, Ipswitch and Mathworks.

— A world class Med Tech hub – internationally renowned companies including: Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Merit Medical and Creganna Medical.

Costs and availability of workspace

Grade A office space under construction:

Bonham Quay is a mixed-use project comprising 26,000 sqm of Grade A office space, 2,000 sqm of retail and restaurant space and student accommodation offering 345 beds. Designed to accommodate a working community of 2,600 – work commenced in February 2019.


Fine Grain Property, a Singapore-based company with strong Irish links, has begun development work on a mid- sized office building in Galway’s Parkmore East Business Campus. The three-storey block, which extends to 4,180sqm (45,000sq ft) is expected to facilitate the IDA’s job creation programme and encourage foreign direct investment in the Galway region.


Major rejuvenation plans are in the pipeline for Nuns Island, with separate applications for new office and apartment developments on the road lodged at City Hall. The developments on either side of the road will see a major facelift and the replacement of two dilapidated buildings.



Startup promoters and teams have access to several innovation, incubation and coworking spaces in the Greater Galway area including: — PorterShed: Officially opened in March 2016 and is now home to 24 companies and 74 full time members.

Innovation Hub, GMIT: This
on campus Innovation Hub (iHub), provides a supportive environment for startups on their journey from concept to commercial success. In addition to office space the Innovation Hub provides access to research, coaching and networking.

Ignite Centre, NUIG: The Ignite Technology Transfer Office Business Innovation Centre supports spin-out startup companies and external start-up companies with the potential to benefit from access to the research expertise on campus.

Galway Technology Centre (GTC): Galway Technology Centre provides serviced office space in a prime location in Galway to meet the needs of companies in the ICT, digitalmedia and other knowledge and service- based sectors. GTC also provides a range of business start-up and virtual office services.

SCCUL Enterprise Centre: SCCUL Enterprises provides infrastructure and support services to startups and small enterprises.

City support for start-ups and SMEs

Local Enterprise Office Galway runs a wide range of workshops, showcases and events which helps to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation in the city.

ITAG Skillnet (Network of over 60 companies from micro startups to local multinationals involved in the IT sector in the Galway area). The objective is
to strengthen the IT sector in Galway. ITAG is built on three core principles: Create, Connect, Compete. ITAG aim to identify and lead on issues that affect information technology industry and to advocate initiatives which will enable the continued growth and development of Galway in a way which facilitates the growth of the IT sector.

Colderdojo Galway City is one of the largest computer clubs for young people in Ireland. Coderdojo hosts free weekly computer coding classes in a relaxed friendly environment. Over 200 children, teenagers and their parents participate and learn a range of computer languages including Scratch, Python and HTML ably assisted by volunteer mentors from Insight. These are key skills essential for the foundations of a sustainable progressive knowledge-based economy and society.

Galway Science and Technology Festival (Ireland’s premier Festival for the promotion of STEM) showcases Galway as a growing hub for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

Hackathon: Many of the most talented and creative individuals from across the built environment sector gathered at the Portershed in Eyre Square, Galway, October 12 – 14 for a construction ‘hackathon’ – a non-stop 48-hour event aimed at rapidly developing innovative, technology-based ideas.



StartLab is powered by the Bank of Ireland and is a unique space which provides emerging tech startup companies with a six- month incubator programme that offers successful candidates access to a dedicated workspace, education programme and a wide range of support designed to help scale their companies.



Workbench is a unique concept which connects entrepreneurs by offering free dedicated space for co-working, seminars, clinics and events to encourage innovation and new ideas.

Financial support and access to investors & accelerators

The following organisations provide a range of government-funded grants and other financial supports for startups settling in the city:

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. It works in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets in this way leading to, sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.


Local Enterprise Office Galway provides direct financial supports to micro businesses (Micro Enterprises are businesses with 10 or less employees.) And also offer business information, advisory services and enterprise support.


— IDA Ireland’s inward investment promotion agency, the IDA, is a non-commercial, semi-state body promoting Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland through a wide range of services. Through partnering with potential and existing investors to help them establish or expand their operations in Ireland.


Four accelerators

New Frontiers is Ireland’s national programme supporting early-stage entrepreneurship. Funded by Enterprise Ireland, it offers comprehensive support for innovative businesses. Run by GMIT in the West of Ireland.


NDRC@Portershed builds and invests in very young digital companies, or startups.


— The BioInnovate fellowship programme guides multidisciplinary teams through a full cycle of innovation, from needs identification to designing and prototyping viable solutions, as well as searching for funding.


— Medtech Accelerator BioExel at NUI Galway, is supported by Enterprise Ireland, to further enhance the medical technology sector start-up ecosystem within Ireland and attract global talent to the Galway region. Other partnership sponsors for this Enterprise Ireland supported accelerator are the Western Development Commission, the Galway University Foundation and the Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund.


Five main investors channels

National based Seed & Venture Capital Companies


Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) is an all-island umbrella group responsible for the development of business angel syndicates and supporting the early stage entrepreneurial community in Ireland.


— The West by North West (WxNW) syndicate, together with Enterprise Ireland, will invest €2 million in start-ups located around the western seaboard.


HBAN MedTech Syndicate operates five regional business angel networks and 10 syndicate groups.


— The Western Investment Fund provides investment to SMEs, community and not-for-profit enterprises, and creative industries.