Catalyst Inc is a peer-driven network aiming to establish, in Northern Ireland (NI), one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial and ambitious knowledge economies in Europe.
The Science Park model has contributed significantly to the development and growth of the knowledge economy in NI with 130 companies employing 2,300 people based in our Belfast campus and 30 companies employing over 200 people in our Londonderry campus. Our model of providing flexible accommodation with superb connectivity and networking facilities assists companies across the Knowledge Economy sectors to emerge, become established and grow.
Software, telecoms, financial engineering, digital media, health/bio, gaming, clean tech, aeronautical and business services are all represented in this 2,500-strong commercial and research innovation ecosystem which joins together the latest academic research and innovation, with a wider network of partners, advisors and the brightest innovators and entrepreneurs across Ireland and the world.
Important local collaborations with Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast and the Agri Food & Biosciences Institute are delivering strong and flourishing spin-outs.
Catalyst Inc has been able to evidence the progress of the growth of the NI Knowledge Economy through the independent production of the annual Knowledge Economy Index report. For the second year running, the 2015 report confirmed the NI Knowledge Economy as the second fastest growing in the UK.
World Class Facilities
Flexibility and connectivity have been the guiding principles behind the design of the Science Park, whose buildings are spread across three campuses – multiple buildings in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter; the Innovation Centre in Derry~Londonderry; and the CoLab facility at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, over the border in Co. Donegal.
Our ‘business ready’ infrastructure is a total performance hub providing seamless access to pure Internet super-connectivity and a Tier 1 open carrier neutral telecommunications platform. We provide peace-of-mind and an all inclusive 24/7 maintenance pack allowing tenant companies to concentrate on their business. Our progressive campuses throughout Northern Ireland create thriving centres of excellence that assist the modern working culture with secure access, support services, meeting facilities, onsite catering and parking.
Catalyst Inc provides agile configurations that can accommodate everything from wet lab facilities to data centres. Tenant companies at the NI Science Park range from one person-one desk on a monthly deal, to single company/whole building on a 15 year lease – and any number of combinations in between.
Catalyst Inc Belfast Facilities
The Innovation Centre 56,000 sq ft Northern Ireland’s most flexible and hi-tech workspace solution. Available in unit multiples of 2,000 sq ft, all-purpose workspaces adaptable for everything from wet labs to desk-based work.
Legacy Building 23,000 sq ft, two-storey facility Units range from 5,000 to 6,000 sq ft Home to larger corporate occupants and new start-ups that have outgrown their space in the Innovation Centre.
White Star House 40,000 square foot facility housing Citi’s Northern Ireland Technology Centre of Excellence (350 knowledge workers).
The Concourse Buildings
- Concourse I –54,000 sq ft flexible space across five floors
- Concourse II – 54,000 sq ft of flexible space across five floors
- Concourse III – 54,000 sq ft due to open in July 2016 supporting up to 500 Knowledge Workers.
CSIT and ECIT
ECIT (The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology) houses Queen’s University Belfast’s world-class research centre for electronics and computer science. CSIT (Centre for Secure Information Technologies), within ECIT, is pioneering research in cyber-security.
North West Regional Science Park
The EU INTERREG IVA-funded North West Regional Science Park 50,000 sq ft Innovation Centre has its own Data Centre and is home to specialists in enterprise software, ICT, digital media, health & bioscience, clean tech and television production.
The anchor tenant is Derry-born 8over8, a spin-out of Ulster University and a leader in contract risk management software for the global oil and gas industry.
The cross-border reach of the Science Park is further enhanced through its partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) in Donegal, where a 20,000 square foot extension to its successful CoLab opened in the summer of 2015.
CoLab is LYIT’s incubation, research and innovation centre. As well as housing LYIT’s postgraduate research community, it is currently home to 30 high-growth, technology-based, internationally trading enterprises, employing 120 people.
ECOS Innovation Centre, Ballymena
Due to open in December 2016, the ECOS Innovation Centre will provide approximately 20K sq. ft. over four floors with shared and private workspaces, formal and informal meeting spaces and conference facilities alongside quality catering and business support.
Common space on the ground floor and particularly the circular vestibule will be equipped with interactive digital systems to allow visitors to explore the science, technology and enterprise of the region, past and present, especially in the context of the global issues of sustainability.
The Science Park’s Vision is for the transformation of Northern Ireland into one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe by 2030. Central to achieving this vision is its non-profit organisation, NISP CONNECT, which delivers a suite of programmes that aim to foster entrepreneurship by accelerating the growth of promising technologies and early stage companies.
The programmes created and delivered by NISP CONNECT include:
NISP CONNECT’s flagship programme, Springboard provides “tough love for start-ups”. It delivers tailored in-business support, mentorship and peer-coaching for high growth potential innovations. As well as producing a compelling commercialisation strategy and investor- readiness, Springboard companies are 6.5 times more likely to succeed.
NISP CONNECT also organises the highly successful INVENT Awards, sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK. A proof-of-concept stage competition for inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs and students to pitch their prototypes in front of Northern Ireland’s business and tech leaders. Entrants compete for a share of the £33,000 prize fund and a place on a Tech Mission to pitch to investors in California.
Inspiring and engaging teenagers, Generation Innovation is a peer- driven movement of Northern Ireland’s most innovative, creative and entrepreneurial young people. Its mission is to make every young person aware of the attractive opportunities available in Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurial Knowledge Economy, to inspire them, connect them to the networks of opportunities and give them the confidence to succeed.
Risk Capital – Halo
Another important element to the Innovation Ecosystem is providing access to risk capital. The NI Science Park delivers Halo, the highly successful Business Angel Network, a joint initiative of Invest Northern Ireland and Intertrade Ireland.
Halo’s role is to match companies with growth potential to high net worth individuals- angels – who may wish to invest in them. The programme has recorded over £11m worth of investment since 2009 which has leveraged a further £24m investment for the companies.
In summary, £10 of angel investment is achieved for every £1 cost (latest figures 2014/15) and reports 90% satisfaction levels for users on both sides.
Catalyst Inc has demonstrated a successful sustainable model of passionate and effective support to cultural and economic change but most commentators recognise NI needs to speed up. This sets the platform for NISP’s dynamic vision to realise one million square feet of profitable property infrastructure ultimately acting as a stimulus to achieve the vision to transform NI into one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe by 2030.
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