Dublin’s Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) was named as the World’s Top Business Incubator, Collaborating with University, 2018. The award was presented to the GEC at the UBI Awards and Recognition Gala ceremony at the World Incubation Summit in Toronto, Canada, on February 22, 2018. The GEC saw off strong competition from more than 1,300 incubators worldwide, which were assessed and benchmarked by UBI Global, the prestigious Stockholm-based research and advisory firm.
A key factor which earned the GEC the coveted award is its innovative University Programme, an initiative involving collaborations with 23 of the top 50 best business schools in the world. The GEC works closely with top universities and institutions across the globe including Cambridge, Columbia, and HEC Paris. Closer to home it collaborates with Trinity College Dublin and UCD Smurfit, among others.
The GEC, which is managed by Dublin BIC, was recognised by UBI Global for its world class facilities, its supportive start-up ecosystem and its strong culture of community. It alsorecognised the GEC’s contribution in terms of hosting both business and social events for its start-ups, ranging from investor networking opportunities, hackathons and tech meet-ups, to yoga classes, golf trips, hiking and football tournaments. The GEC is the location for the Enterprise Ireland Sprint Programme that is run by Dublin BIC and the InnovateProgramme, an Enterprise Ireland accelerator for female entrepreneurs, also delivered by Dublin BIC.
Speaking from Toronto last night after accepting the award, Eamonn Sayers, manager, GEC, said, “The team at GEC, and the wider Dublin BIC team, will be absolutely delighted with the accolade. It’s a real honour for the GEC to be named as the top university collaborating global incubator programme in the world.”
“Working with universities and third level institutions, not just in Ireland but globally, has been an integral part of how the GEC delivers added-value to our companies. Going forward, we are focused on expanding the programme further to other top business universities as well as regional centres and their start-ups across Ireland.”
The UBI Global World Benchmark Study 2017/2018 maps out the international incubation ecosystem, illustrating key challenges and opportunities faced by the participatingprogrammes. It assessed more than 1,300 university incubators globally and ranking them according to value for ecosystem, value for clients, and attractiveness.
The GEC is the largest single building enterprise centre in Ireland and there are more than 90 companies located in the start-up hub, with an additional 100 companies co-working from CoWork@GEC. More than 500 people work in the GEC, with over 800 employed globally by start-ups based in the GEC.
Some of the companies that have availed of the supports and initiatives that the GEC provide include: Adaptive Mobile; Benetel; Black Shamrock; Circle; Dovetail Technology; Effective Software; GirlCrew; Jam Media; OpenJaw Technologies; Nasal Medical; Research & Markets; StatCounter and SwiftComply.
The GEC is managed by Dublin BIC, which provides a comprehensive range of services specifically designed to advance the ambitions of early-stage companies, including investor ready preparation, access to finance and incubation. Dublin BIC runs several programmes, including its Investor-Ready Programme, Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), Dublin BIC Venture Funding, the Funding & Scaling Series, Space@DublinBIC and FutureScope.
Speaking about the award, Michael Culligan, Dublin BIC CEO, said: “The award win is testament to the work that the GEC is doing, the networks and community that it is building up, and the successful, investor-ready start-ups that are emerging from the incubator. It cements Ireland as a globally recognised start-up hub. This is a great win for Ireland in a time of increasing competition between cities to attract high potential start-ups.”
In total, four global awards for Business Incubators were presented at the event – Managed by University, Affiliated with University, Collaborating with University and Linked to University. The award for university collaboration, won by the GEC, is given to the highest-ranked incubator programme which has no formal affiliation but closely works with one or more universities, generally based on a memorandum of understanding.