Thursday 23 May 2019

US tech firm brings major jobs boost

American tech company GrandPad chooses Gorey for its European headquarters

Jeff Huber, CEO, Home Instead Senior Car; Tom Enright, CE, Wexford County Council, Minister of State Michael D’Arcy and Brendan McDonald, IDA regional business development executive
Jeff Huber, CEO, Home Instead Senior Car; Tom Enright, CE, Wexford County Council, Minister of State Michael D’Arcy and Brendan McDonald, IDA regional business development executive
Cllr Fionntain O Suilleabhain, John O’Connor, Hatch Lab manager; Cllr John Hegarty, Dr Edwina Dunne, DBA business director, Grandpad Europe and Cllr Keith Doyle
Dr. Edwina Dunne, business director, GrandPad Europe, speaking at their launch in the Hatch Lab, Gorey, last Thursday

Cathy Lee

The tech company GrandPad, which specialises in electronic tablet devices that are specifically designed for easier use for older people, on Thursday launched its new European base from The HatchLab, Gorey. With plans to create unique jobs for between 75-100 people in the area within the next five years, Michael D'Arcy TD welcomed the announcement, describing it as a 'significant win for County Wexford and the South East Region'.

The type of jobs to be created revolve around working remotely, and the IDA, that played a vital role in this coming about, said that this model of work will 'spread the benefits' and enable people in rural communities to work from their home and avoid long commutes, something that over 2,000 people in Gorey do on a weekly basis for work. Local politicians were thanked at the launch for creating a climate that was welcoming to new investment, and the Gorey Chamber of Commerce welcomed the jobs announcement describing it as 'The latest milestone for the town, following the launch of the M11 Business Campus, the delivery of high speed broadband from Virgin, and Gorey's designation as Ireland's first ever Digital Town. This shows there is real momentum behind our campaign to bring more tech jobs to Gorey'.

GrandPad began over five years ago, and was founded by father and son, Scott and Isaac Lien, with an idea in mind to tackle the social issues associated with older people feeling lonely or isolated. They set out on a mission to use technology to reconnect older people with their families, friends and caregivers. The tablet is designed in such a way that those with dementia or Parkinson's disease find it easier to use than an Apple or Android device, from loudness to other touch sensory settings. At the launch, Scott Lien said that he wanted to put the older person back at the centre of the family using this technology, and that the company are looking to hire people to work in areas of customer care and technology operations.

He described the people in Gorey as 'extremely inviting' and added that he thinks they have picked the perfect place to do business. The IDA were instrumental in this being set up, and the company GrandPad was attracted to Gorey because of the great facilities of The Hatch lab, the convenient drive to Dublin airport, as well as amenities like hotels for guests of the company. At the moment GrandPad have four members of their staff working from The Hatch Lab and two older people from the locality using the GrandPad here.

The company have teamed up with the Home Instead, the large international company which provides senior care both at home and in a nursing home setting, and together they intend to launch the GrandPad device to clients at Home ‑ annual convention later in the month.

How the GrandPad caters to the needs of the older person is that device can only receive phone or video calls from a limited number of saved contacts, and it does not require users to remember a password. Settings can be customised by family members or care givers to control what the older person sees or does on the GrandPad. The individual GrandPad tablet device is not yet available to purchase on the market.

Gorey Guardian