As National Digital Week gets under way in West Cork, organisers have urged tech start-ups to apply for almost €500,000 available in seed funding.

The three-day event begins on Thursday at the recently opened Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, and will include contributions from Ronan Harris, VP of sales Google EMEA and head of Google Ireland; Fred and Geraldine Karlsson, co-founders of DoneDeal; Mark MacGann, senior board advisor at Uber; and Gráinne McCarthy, senior news editor at the Wall Street Journal, among others.

The Ludgate Digital Hub officially opened last July and has already attracted a number of tech companies as well as growing interest from overseas, but the €450,000 Ludgate Seed Capital fund is also open to companies wishing to set up a base there.

Gráinne Dwyer, the chief executive of the Ludgate Digital Hub and a member of the Ludgate investment team, said: “We’ve already received applications for the Ludgate Seed Capital Fund from some really interesting Irish and international companies. The whole Ludgate team are really looking forward to meeting potential fund recipients during National Digital Week.

“We hope it’ll give us a better understanding of what entrepreneurs are hoping they can achieve if they win a share in the fund. Attending will also give fund applicants a chance to meet some really interesting people that may inspire and sharpen their business ideas.”

The seed fund is joint-funded by three private investors, including Gain Line Capital Investments Ltd, the Sean and Rose O’Driscoll Family Investment Fund, and an international private investor. Any interested parties can get more information by visiting ludgate.ie/seed-funding/ or by emailing investments@ludgate.ie by close of business on December 1.

With the Web Summit having decamped from Dublin to Lisbon, National Digital Week is keen to help fill the gap, with more than 80 speakers contributing across the three days and over 1,600 people expected to attend. Dedicated speaker sessions will focus on topics including agri-tech, female founders and leadership, and the sharing economy.

According to Grainne Dwyer, the Ludgate Hub is now averaging over 150 users every month, as well as playing host to regional meetings, off-site programmes for larger companies, and as a base for local and visiting businesses.

She also told website Silicon Republic that the venue has secured its first company from Silicon Valley to have relocated to Skibbereen.


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