Kerry global financial services company Fexco has opened a €21m research centre near its headquarters in Killorglin.
The 57,000 sq ft building replaces the old Liebeg manufacturing plant which closed in 2012.
The state-of-the-art facility will house Fexco’s own research, development, and innovation centre and a digital hub.
More than 125 Fexco staff will work in the building that is to house the company’s global R&D, innovation, and IT activities and is aimed at driving Fexco’s continuing development as a leading global fintech company.
The west wing of the building has been donated by Fexco to become the home of RDI Hub, and house 136 people on its programmes.
RDI Hub was established last year as a not-for-profit public-private partnership facilitating innovation and start-ups in the fintech and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors.
The hub aims to create 305 direct jobs by 2024, and in this initial period plans to support the establishment of over 35 high-tech funded start-ups, according to a statement.
Its co-location with Fexco’s research, development, and innovation centre will add value for both parties through increased availability of specialised labour, and knowledge spillovers.
The hub will provide training to more than 1,300 participants and support 140 apprentices on its programmes in its first five years, according to a statement.
The building is dedicated to John McCarthy as a tribute to the Stanford University computer scientist. Mr McCarthy was one of the founders of the discipline of artificial intelligence, and his father was born in Cromane, near Killorglin.
In the late 1950s, he invented LISP, which became the programming language of choice for AI applications.
Fexco chief executive Denis McCarthy, son of founder Brian McCarthy, said: “Since our foundation in Killorglin in 1981, we have been able to grow our business to employ over 2,500 people in 29 countries, whilst keeping our headquarters and the driving force of the business at home here in Kerry.”
RDI Hub launched its first round of applications to recruit companies and individuals as members in October 2019.
It has now opened a second call for applications from domestic and international high potential start-ups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, academics, local authorities, and public sector bodies.
The hub is supported under the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation‘s Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland.