The National Franchise Centre (NFC) which was officially opened yesterday is helping launch 20 businesses, 11 of which will be run by the ex-Dell employees.
The centre, opened by Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan, expects to create up to 150 start-ups and 500 jobs over the next five years.
The first group of franchisees have completed a six-month franchise acceleration start-up training programme at the centre.
In all, 20 student franchisees undertook the first programme in January and nine of these will now enter into direct employment with their own businesses. The remaining 11 will have their franchise operations established within three months.
The former Dell employees who were made redundant in 2009 secured funding for undertaking the NFC programme through the European Globalisation Fund (EGF).
LIT president Dr Maria Hinfelaar said the NFC is an example of the contribution third-level institutions and the business community can make to regenerate the economy.
She said: “The National Franchise Centre is testimony to what can be achieved with third level education and business coming together. The NFC was born out of LIT and Limerick Chamber putting their minds together to come up with a response to the disproportionate level of unemployment experienced in this city and region.”