Denis Collins, CEO Smarter Dynamics & Chairman of LearnLode, has been involved in every aspect of the IT sector in Cork, and he sees this as a promising time for the region.
“We’re seeing an exciting renaissance of industry from small indigenous to multi-national, significant city centre capital investment, arts, food, global pedigree science/ R&D innovation supported by an accessible, integrated
infrastructure of industry, government, public sector and academia… all tied up with a bow of terrific lifestyle.
A very compelling proposition. Work, learn, live – Cork, it’s the right mix.”
Denis says “It’s not about Cork vs Dublin vs Galway. Every region has a lot to offer. If we can lead successfully down here, we can deliver something that helps the national bottom line. I’ve seen it from multinational, start-up and regional leadership perspectives. Cork right now is not just a place, it’s a frame of mind. There’s something special happening right now where we see a resurgence of indigenous business while the multinationals continue to invest. Tourism, agriculture and research and development are all helping drive this.
There is a passion and can-do spirit to the place that lends a type of Silicon Valley atmosphere. It can be complementary to Silicon Docks in Dublin. Some companies will always want to go to Dublin but there are others that will find the appeal of the eco-system and the lifestyle down here. It’s about work-learn-live.
From a work standpoint, there are opportunities from start-up to multinational. With learn, there is an eco-system of academia tightly connected all through Munster. You also want to live, the region has a topology of the whole country from mountains to beaches. That’s a compelling value proposition.”
The one area Collins said needs to be developed further is the centre of the city itself. The IT activity to date has been largely on the fringes of the city. Now, however, he sees a digital quarter developing in the city.
“We need to build from the city out. There is a coalition of the willing with industry, government, and academia. When you do that right and build out, the lifestyle part kicks in and other parts start to develop. That way it goes further out into the region on a complementary basis. Accelerating that digital quarter is similar to what happened in San Francisco. Across the board there are developments that help, like the convention centre and the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, that build up the city. We now need to accelerate business in the city centre, which Tyco’s new office is playing a big role in.
Combined with that we want to ensure we can allow business to flourish by feeding in the likes of restaurants and concerts. I want to see more acquisition of Nama buildings to create more opportunities to build out this digital quarter. Industry players from start-up to multinational are going to play a big role in this. The city is starting to boom in a way that has both a European and American flavour at the same time.”