Ludgate@Skibbereen is a not for profit initiative which was established in October 2014 and aims to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Skibbereen and West Cork Region. The Ludgate initiative has the capacity to create 500 jobs and 1000 indirect jobs and generate an estimated €34m in GDP for the region over 5 years.
The initiative has been developed by a steering group consisting of entrepreneurs, digital ambassadors and business owners of thriving local enterprises all involved on a volunteer basis. Ludgate@Skibbereen have created a digital strategy for the area which aims to bridge the rural-urban divide by giving back to rural communities which have been adversely affected by unemployment and emigration. The goal of the group is to create a digitally enabled rural society in which innovators can create and expand their businesses in rural Ireland whilst competing on a global scale. The hub is the first of its kind in a non urban area and the digital connectivity in the building is provided by Vodafone who are providing an uncontested 1000MB connection.
There are six primary streams of development within the Ludgate movement, all interconnected and embracing all elements of Digital.
- Ludgate Physical: The first project to come on stream in Q1 2016 was the opening of the new Percy Ludgate Digital Centre in Skibbereen. The building will be used to host all of the Ludgate community activities. The building has a 1000MB of connectivity due to a joint venture between Vodafone and ESB. Skibbereen will have speeds that will surpass nearly every urban area in Ireland.
- Ludgate Global: Aims to tap into the extended diaspora base using a range of projects, one in particular is to create a mapping platform that will connect thousands back to West Cork.
- Company Creator: Aims to develop a bespoke incubation cluster in Skibbereen.
- National Digital Week: Was the first of its kind in rural Ireland and brought a range of international speakers and seminars to Skibbereen. The event had an attendance of approx 1600 throughout the week and had significant regional and national media coverage which showcased rural Ireland as a thriving hub of innovation and enterprise.
- IoT, Connectivity, & Smart Town: Ludgate will drive the piloting and adoption of IoT and Smart Town technologies in the Skibbereen area and will focus on Rural Connectivity, Virtual presence, Agricultural and Marine Technology, thus advancing prospects for the local economy.
- Connected Communities: Following the results of a survey in early 2015 a number of projects are under development to solve challenges raised. These projects include a co-operative e-retail scheme, after school digital programme, iPad training course for our older citizens, a tech innovation project with local farmers, and installing solar powered tourist information kiosks.