Catalyst Inc is the new identity for the Northern Ireland Science Park which today announced an ambitious ten-year business plan targeting £100 million investment value in driving innovation and technology to support the growth of the region’s knowledge economy.
Outcomes will include 5,000 additional high quality jobs and a total of 1 million square feet of space starting with three new buildings two of which will be in Derry~Londonderry with a strong cross-border connection and another on the existing Belfast site. Created in 1999 to support the vision for a vibrant new knowledge economy in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Science Park has exceeded all its original targets and growth expectations by supporting the achievement of 2,600 jobs (representing an average 30% per annum growth by tenant companies), the development of 400,000 square feet of agile and connected workspace and leveraging additional private sector support and investment equating to £1million annually.
This has been achieved in just sixteen years working closely, in particular, with both Universities as well as the political, public and private sectors. We are now embarking on our next stage of evolution, re-envisaged as Catalyst Inc. Catalyst Inc is a not for profit organisation and we are confident that this exciting phase of our development will accelerate the attraction of International companies to Northern Ireland and continue to actively support the growth of indigenous companies.
Our surpluses, supplemented by both financial and pro-bono support from the private sector and sponsors, will continue to be invested in growing the community led entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem primarily through our Connect programmes. Already home to 160 companies in science, technology and knowledge based industries with campuses in Belfast, Derry~Londonderry, Letterkenny and Ballymena, approximately £125 million gross value added is contributed to the economy per annum. Tenants include Citi, Novosco, Dow, Path XL, 8over8, Wurkhouse, Taggled, IRP Commerce, Automated Intelligence, IBM and Qualcom.
It is this diversity of organisations based at and engaging with Catalyst Inc that is key to the success of our model. This includes major technology corporations, indigenous scaling companies and start-ups, co-located with world-class research (Queens University, ECIT/CSIT) all of which has created a fertile ground for growth.
Norman Apsley, Chief Executive of Catalyst Inc explained that the new name reflects their catalytic impact on the development of technology and knowledge based businesses and the fact that they are totally inclusive in their support for everyone from a start-up to a highly evolved business.
“Catalyst Inc is built upon the deep belief that in Northern Ireland we have a community of innovators so powerful its people can change the world. We provide the home, networks and empathy to support this talent and ambition to develop world leading products and services that will transform Northern Ireland into one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe,” he explained.
“Everyone talks about the need to grow the economy and drive our expertise and skills in technology as it is applied to every business sector. What we have done at Catalyst Inc is to provide the right environment for that ambition to take hold and to prosper. Through our collaborative approach we have developed significant and successful partnerships. Our success in securing EU Interreg funding for the development of our North West campus with Letterkenny Institute of Technology is one such example.
Now is the time to accelerate the generation and exploitation of knowledge to create competitive and compelling new products and services to sell to the world at large”
The re-envisaging of the Northern Ireland Science Park to Catalyst Inc was revealed to tenants, staff and leaders of Northern Ireland business at a celebration breakfast.
The most important remit of the organisation’s rebrand was to ensure an authentic representation of ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’. Through a series of workshops and listening exercises, with a range of tenants and external stakeholders, the definition of the modus operandi became clear. Catalyst Inc is an active force, a catalyst accelerating positive change that is inclusive with regards the benefits to, and participation of, Northern Ireland’s entire society.