Europe’s largest co-working and digital innovation network - Talent Garden - has selected DCU ahead of London for their new campus.
Talent Garden (Tag) Dublin will provide capacity for 350 work spaces, the Talent Garden Innovation School, multiple corporate innovation labs, a large event space, and an Italian themed cafe/restaurant.
It will be located at DCU Alpha, the university’s innovation campus.
The exciting new venture will provide work space and networking opportunities and for start-ups and larger corporates - but crucially, this will be combined with educational opportunities in association with DCU.
The Innovation school will provide a digital skills ‘bootcamp’ education platform, which will work in partnership with DCU Business School to upskill entrepreneurs and assist corporates on their ‘digital transformation journeys’.
It’s understood the DCU campus was the preferred location for Tag, coming ahead of a location in London, after working closely with both the university and the IDA. The fact that Ireland will be on the only English speaking country in the EU after the UK leaves, also had some bearing on the decision.
Talent Garden was founded six years ago by CEO Davide Dattoli and is now the largest European co-working and digital innovation network, with 23 campuses across Europe in cities such as Milan, Barcelona and Vienna. A new campus will be opening in San Francisco later this year.
Mr Dattoli met with DCU President Brian MacCraith at their Milan campus on Monday ahead of the announcement.
“As Ireland will soon be the largest English-speaking member of the eurozone and is already the leading HQ for many of the Global Tech companies we work with, Talent Garden are very excited to bring our unique digital innovation and co-working model to Ireland.
“In DCU, we have found a University partner with the same entrepreneurial DNA and ambition as Talent Garden, which made the selection process easy,” he said.
Mr Dattoli nodded to wards the existing culture of innovation in DCU alpha as another factor behind their decision.
"The existing DCU Alpha community of digital IoT (Internet of Things) innovators is the perfect home for us, while the university partnership will help us scale our Innovation School globally," he said.
Talent Garden’s partnership with DCU places the university “at the epicentre of technological transformation taking place in Ireland and across Europe”, says Mr MacCraith.
"We have always sought to play a key role in catalyzing the innovation ecosystem and this partnership will considerably enhance our ability to do that.
“Through this unique DCU-Talent Garden partnership, Talent Garden Dublin goes way beyond co-working, as it is currently understood in Ireland, and into the fields of accredited digital skills training, corporate digital transformation, as well as creating excellent connectivity for Irish startups looking to scale up in other markets internationally,” he added.
TAG has just announced a new facility in San Francisco, to go along with existing facilities in cities such Milan, Barcelona and Vienna.
It is thought Talent Garden Dublin will appeal both early-stage start-ups and to larger corporate ‘innovation labs’. Electrolux and Italian oil company ENI are two such companies who have the space at the Milan campus, allowing them to work in a new innovative culture.
Work will begin immediately on the fit-out of the Talent Garden Dublin building - it’s expected to be completed by September 2018.
It will be housed in DCU Alpha, which has more than 42 companies employing 500 people across start-ups.
Ahead of the announcement, Mr MacCraith was taken on a tour of the campus in Milan.
There are some 450 people in the Milan campus, which is open 24/7.
Mr Dattoli told independent.ie that the traditional nine to five working day is not in keeping with Tag - some of their membership will arrive in the early hours, or leave in the early hours depending on their productivity and companies they are engaging with.
The words 'culture' and 'innovation' are peppered in conversations at the Milan campus - their membership is scattered into a 'flex' working space, open working spaces and office space.
The large open space they use for events can hold 1,000 people and can be used by any of their start-ups for events.
Crucially, if you are a member of any of the 23 Tag campuses across Europe, you can access any of them wherever you are.
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