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Code Space Newry

July 13, 2014

The incubator and co-working space that was once Emerald-Valley, continues to evolve.

Growing a digital infrastructure on the border was the mission, a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem the dream.

Attracting startups to a co-working space was the intention, but as it turns out, only half of what was required. Our earliest tech residents were reliant on developers overseas and elsewhere. There was little engineering and software development happening “in house”.

An obstacle which mimics the age-old “chicken & egg” dilema. Which comes first?

Growing a local talent pool is critical. So as we struggled to fill the space, we created Neo Ireland Ltd, a social enterprise with an educational outreach.

We preached, we evangelized, we partnered with anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and help out.

Then we got lucky!

Seneca luck green

A resident put us in touch with his son’s IT teacher at the Abbey Grammar. James Downing is not just any IT teacher, he has a passion for entrepreneurship as well. He recruited 10 students interested in coding and they joined us once a week. Absent engineers, the hope was that with the aid of programs like Codecademy, MIT App Inventor, GameMaker the students would be able to teach themselves with online support.

Two months into the program a volunteer mentor arrived.

For two academic years, Brian Cleland worked with James and his students to introduce them to programming. In 2013 two more students joined 10 from The Abbey. One was an adult learner re-skilling for a career change and a student from St. Coleman’s College.

What happened next?

CodeSpace Collage rev6

We ran a one day “Drone Academy” event garnering much enthusiasm.

Student coders organized two LAN parties. They’ve volunteered to demonstrate the Drones in local schools. All of which attracted attention to the space, new start-ups and a few small grants.

Colin Masters found us and his passion for tech, Newry and teaching young people was infectious. He’s relaunched CoderDoJo Newry; it will be in full swing during the Fall, so watch this space.

Rob Ellis, one of our student coders has found full time employment. A second, Carl Brown is working as a freelancer, and we’re looking forward to preparing others for the industry.

We have three jobs available in house at two different start-ups. We’re ARE growing the ecosystem.

Nothing so grand as initially imagined, but ever so much more satisfying.

So where are we now?

Code Space Newry replaces the Business Hub on Canal Street.

Our resident Code Space companies are limited to tech. Programmer/developers in-house are available to mentor students and take on interns.

We’re planning events, hot desks for a “hacker space” and a conference room for CoderDoJo, LAN parties, Hackathons and other other gatherings.

Leave us your details and we’ll keep you informed!

Want to put your 2¢ in? Join us for a planning meeting on Thursday, 24. July at 7pm. Contact Eve to RSVP.

Oh and one more thing!

HubNewry Collage

Are you a non-tech entrepreneur in need of workspace?

We’re referring enquiries to The Hub Newry.

It’s a traditional co-working space on Hill Street. Suzanne & Patrick Murdock offer a dynamic community of entrepreneurs, great space plus networking, support and educational events.

We’re pleased to be associated with them.

 

 

 

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