The Smart Atlantic Way is a project intended to deliver a sustainable pipeline of investments to the WDC Investment Fund. This project contributes to the development of a Smart Region that underpins a viable ecosystem of innovative start-ups across the entire western region. Working with partners such as Insight, the SFI Funded Centre for Data Analytics, and Irish Lights, the WDC is working to identify the technology, data, and R&D assets across the region and make them available to start-ups and SMEs to facilitate innovation. The Smart Atlantic Way is underpinned by a network of more than 100 Enterprise Hubs along the Atlantic Economic Corridor from Donegal to Kerry. These hubs are a direct connection to one hundred communities of sole traders, SMEs, entrepreneurs and individuals within bigger organisations that can form a network of innovation along the Western Seaboard.

An analysis of the future of industry suggests that industries that will continue to grow include transport (with a focus on autonomous and electric vehicles), IOT, renewable energy, digital services, creative, health, and food. However, the core competencies in these industries will become technology-focused, with sensors, data, artificial intelligence and regulation becoming central to success. Future disruption is likely to be exogenous as IT converges with existing industries to fundamentally disrupt them. The WDC aspires for the western region to be at the heart of this disruptive convergence of IT and traditional industry and to shape it so that it contributes to the region’s sustainability.

The WDC Smart Atlantic Way seeks to use the quadruple helix to match core competencies around established industries and Higher-level Institutions across the region with natural resources to create centres of excellence in innovation that enable an innovative start-up ecosystem to flourish across the region. By focusing on the specific resources available in each county, we aspire for an ecosystem that is both diverse and resilient. These centres of excellence will use the network created by the Atlantic Economic Corridor to provide training and create space for incubation and acceleration.