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The Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Dara Calleary, TD, has today officially opened the CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub, marking a significant milestone for creative entrepreneurs and innovators in the west of Ireland.

Funded by the Western Development Commission through the Western Investment Fund and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment through Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) initiative, CREW represents the first innovation hub in the West dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs in the creative industries. With over €3.2 million in funding, this initiative underscores the government’s commitment to fostering innovation and economic growth in the region’s creative industries sector.

The CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub is poised to become the epicentre for CreaTech entrepreneurship, providing a dynamic environment for startups to innovate, collaborate, and grow. Equipped with collaborative workspaces, podcast studio, meeting rooms, and boardroom, CREW offers a comprehensive suite of amenities tailored to the needs of creative entrepreneurs. The project is a collaboration of many partners and acknowledged throughout the launch proceedings were Gillian Buckley, our Investment Manager, alongside Dr. Paddy Tobin, who initiated this journey back in 2015, recognizing the potential outlined in the WDC Creative West Report.

Crew Opening WDC Team and Minister
Allan Mulrooney, CEO, WDC, Gillian Buckley, WDC, Minister Daragh Calleary, T.D., Niamh Costello, CEO, CREW, Helena Deane, WDC and Stephen Carolan, WDC

The Western Development Commission are founding partners in the project and speaking at the event the CEO of the Western Development Commission, Allan Mulrooney, stated,

Through collaborative efforts, including funding from the WDC's Investment Fund, land from ATU and Enterprise Ireland's REDF programme, we've seen this vision come to fruition. Today's event signifies not just the opening of a building but a significant step forward for the creative industry in our region. CREW must now serve as an opportunity for Galway to support the greater region and the Northwest. The support from Government, state bodies including ours, must translate to a direct impact and learnings for the rest of the region. While the centre of excellence stands here, the opportunity is so much bigger.

Official opening of CREW
Minister Daragh Calleary, T.D speaking at the official opening

On behalf of CREW, Niamh Costello, CEO, stated, “We are thrilled to officially open CREW, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs in the creative industries to start, innovate, and grow. Through community, educational opportunities, and access to mentors, advisors, and investors via our partners, CREW is fostering a dynamic environment for the development and acceleration of its members. We are grateful for the support of Enterprise Ireland, who have been pivotal partners and funders of CREW.”


Officially opening CREW, Minister Calleary, congratulated the team and remarked, “Today is an important day for Galway which further enhances the West of Ireland’s reputation for creativity coupled with innovation. In Ireland, the creative industries account for 8.9% of national employment, the 2nd highest in Europe as a proportion of overall employment and this will continue to grow as CreaTech and the the convergence of art, design, and technology is opening new possibilities for businesses and contributing to economic growth.


The Programme for Government has recently committed to a Digital Creative Industries Roadmap with priorities for delivery across people, skills, business supports, Innovation and internationalisation. The acceleration and development of Irish companies through hubs like CREW is supported by my Department through Enterprise Ireland and I would like to congratulate ATU, the Western Development Commission, and Ardán on their considerable achievements. I wish the CREW team and all the entrepreneurs and innovators based here every success for the future.”


Anne Lanigan, Divisional Manager, Technology & Services, Enterprise Ireland said “Supporting innovative regional start-ups is a huge focus for Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Enterprise Development Fund is an effective mechanism of supporting balanced regional development. We are delighted to support the development of CREW as a state-of the-art centre here in Galway from which the creative technology sector can operate, develop, and thrive. By bringing together a diverse range of skills, knowledge and resources, CREW will enable real collaboration to take place and accelerate the growth of the CreaTech sector in the West.”

The CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub is a collaborative effort between Atlantic Technological University (ATU), the Western Development Commission (WDC), and Ardán, highlighting the power of partnerships in driving economic development and fostering innovation.


Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Mr Dara Calleary T.D. with Ian Brannigan and Gillian Buckley WDC
Bernard Kirk, Chairperson, CREW Board, Galway City Mayor, Cllr. Eddie Hoare, Niamh Costello, CEO, CREW and Dr. Paddy Tobin, ATU pictured at the official opening of CREW Creative Enterprise & Innovation Hub, (, by Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Mr Dara Calleary T.D. on Friday April 5th. Photo Martina Regan
Niamh Costello, CEO, Crew pictured at the official opening of CREW Creative Enterprise & Innovation Hub, (, by Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Mr Dara Calleary T.D. on Friday April 5th. Photo Martina Regan

Dr. Orla Flynn, President of Atlantic Technological University (ATU are founding members of CREW and have provided the site for the CREW Creative Enterprise Hub), emphasized the university’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. “ATU is committed to supporting the growth and development of the creative industries, which play a vital role in driving innovation and economic growth across the Western and Northwestern region. The CREW project aligns perfectly with developments in ATU’s creative programmes in Film & Documentary, Design, Animation & Game Design, and Creative Media. ATU recognizes the potential of these industries and is delighted to see the emergence of the CREW facility as a supportive environment for startups, enabling them to thrive and contribute to the growth and dynamism of the sector. The CREW facility also represents an exciting opportunity for graduates, entrepreneurs, researchers, students, and corporate teams to innovate and develop new approaches to growing the Creative Industries in the region”.

Alan Duggan, CEO of Ardán, saidThe establishment of CREW as a creative enterprise and innovation hub in the West of Ireland has been long-awaited, and within this space’s brief time being open we have already witnessed its key role in fostering community, facilitating connections, and supporting innovation. It’s significance in promoting Galway and the West as a leading location for creative technologies business development cannot be underestimated. As a platform for talent working in film, TV, games, and animation – Ardán looks forward to working closely with CREW, entrepreneurs, and other enterprises from the screen industry to drive economic growth and sustainable job creation in the region.”


CREW is also supported by Community Finance Ireland and sponsors, Siro Vodafone, TG4, Local Enterprise Office Galway and Údarás na Gaeltachta, all whose contributions have helped make the creative industries startup innovation hub possible.


With its official opening, the CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub is poised to become a catalyst for creativity, innovation, and economic prosperity in the west. Entrepreneurs and innovators are encouraged to explore the opportunities available at CREW and join the vibrant community of creators shaping the future of the creative industries.



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