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As previously reported, a number of initiatives are attempting to create an environment to promote and facilitate job creation. The Portershed, Galway’s first startup hub and the Ludgate@Skibbereen startup hub initiative, are two examples where actual premises are custom fit to attract new startup companies. Digital Dún Laoghaire is a twist on this approach where the concept is promoted around what is called a cluster – that is a group of companies that are actively engaged in a specific industry. In this instance it’s the digital space.

The chief goal of Digital Dún Laoghaire ‘is to build a strong cluster of digital companies in Dún Laoghaire for the innovation and urban regeneration that this will provide.’ The approach to focusing on the 60 or so existing companies is an interesting one. Freed from the requirement to furnish and maintain a dedicated incubation hub, the initiative can focus its efforts on helping the existing companies to reach their job creation targets, some 450 over the next two years.

The benefits to the local economy are obvious – 450 new workers that on a daily basis will make numerous trips to the town centre to avail of a range of local services.

The local council is a keen supporter of Digital Dún Laoghaire and points out that the location boasts office space at a fraction of Dublin city centre prices yet is only a 10 minute Dart ride from Grand Canal Dock.

The initiative is being managed by the Dún Laoghaire Business Improvement District and in a survey of the constituent companies, most were in agreement that being part of the cluster is good for recruitment in that it was sending the right messages to the market in terms of reassuring candidates that Dun Laogiahre is a good alternative to other city locations.

The chair of the entire operation and the plan to help facilitate the hiring of 450 jobs over two years is Anthony Quigley. In his other life, Anthony is the co-founder of the Digital Marketing Institute and with over 15,000 graduates under his belt, we can assume that Anthony knows a thing or two about building a brand.

We’ve been supplying accounting and invoicing software to businesses in the Dún Laoghaire area for over 20 years and we’re delighted with Digital Dún Laoghaire, and look forward to contributing to the cluster. With planned meetups and events we’ll contribute to the community as it’s only through active participation by of all the business community that the initiative will thrive.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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