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The Emerald Valley, Three Years On!

March 17, 2014

Then… from “the launch of”


dublin.bfast road signWhere is it?

The Emerald-Valley. It is a state of mind as much as it is a geographical region. The M1 corridor from the Lagan to the Liffey, connects Dublin and Belfast. This highway offers three airports and two capital city centres – vibrant for their academic, cultural, business & political communities. Between them small city, village & rural life thrives. Living and working on the sea or in the mountains that inspired Narnia is anything but life in an anonymous suburban megalopolis.

Preserved in the small cities of Newry & Dundalk is the cultural advantage that gives this small island its edge on the world stage. Everyone knows everyone, small specialty businesses with a focus on quality are the norm, and the legacy of border life is an independent, innovative and creative community responsible for the highest number of startups on the island of Ireland.

What do we do?

We inspire people, promote the region and incubate small businesses. We are a social enterprise designed to create an ecosystem that supports the infrastructure needed to fill the jobs of the 21st century. We want to begin a legacy of exporting our intellectual property and not our children. Job creation here is dependent on fluency in the language of the day. It is binary. A workforce competent to design and execute the software that now powers the world’s economy has limitless potential. 

…and Now

We’re still Empowering Change in the Emerald Valley! Much has conspired to prove that we were not alone in believing “the border means business”.

Our facility has provided a home to over 20 businesses since November 2011, and the wider region has embraced our enthusiasm for “shouting out” about this strategic location between the mountains and sea, Dublin and Belfast.

With us there’s –

The Border Development ZoneBDZ

Cross-Border Economic Renewal, Rethinking Regional Policy in Ireland was published in March 2012. The Centre for Cross Border Studies invited economists John Bradley & Michael Best to examine the challenges and opportunities presented in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement & complicated by the economic crisis.

This was further explored at a January conference in Cavan. Padraic White, former MD of the IDA summarised the findings in his introduction: Securing the Economic Future of the Border Development Zone – North and South.  A summary, transcripts and presentations from the conference can be found here.

The Border Development Zone (BDZ) project investigates ways of tackling the region’s unique double challenge of peripherality and the presence of an international border, and how the whole region can be re-integrated into the Northern Irish, Irish and island-wide economies.

Most of the successful companies in the border region pursued a strategy of developing a distinctive product or service and constructing the production capability to deliver it. Company re-invention “to take advantage of new technologies and market opportunities” was evident among successful firms. Our challenge is to replicate the model more widely.

xmaglenCrossmaglen & South Armagh Chamber of Commerce:

A small group of determined entrepreneurs in the most economically deprived region of Northern Ireland ignored that reality and embraced a new one. A strategic vision was developed and they set about embracing the past and reimagining a future.

Obstacles to overcome even included being “invisible”. Tourism maps of Northern Ireland ended at Slieve Gullion. Maps in the Republic of Ireland ended at the border. Once lost to travellers this beautiful region is now designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Specifics can be found in the Economic Regeneration Study: A Pragmatic Vision for Crossmaglen & South Armagh

Northern Irish ConnectionsNIConnections

NI Connections is an outreach to enable the Diaspora to strength it’s links to NI. We’re officially promoting the opportunities available to connect via Education, Innovation, Investment and Tourism.  We’re showcasing Ulster in a way you’ve never seen us before. Here’s how you can help: enable opportunities, lend your expertise, offer you experience and share your enthusiasm.

Ask an American if they’ve been to Ireland – if they say yes – ask them if they’ve been to Ulster. We shout about the 22 US Presidents from Ireland – did you know the majority hailed from the North?

What we are doing: 

We’ve pivoted yet again!

Once ours was the only co-working facility in city centre. Now there are more. Our space is on the way to becoming Newry’s first “Hacker Space”. All tech, all the time! Need a virtual office, dedicated desk or  conference room?  We’re still supporting clients – across the Emerald Valley. Suzanne at The Hub Newry on Hill Street can help. Tell her we sent you! Contact Eve for resources in Dundalk, Dublin & Belfast.

Eve continues to inspire people, promote the region and incubate small businesses in her work Empowering Change. A coach and mentor to startups, a connector and catalyst she teaches entrepreneurship and markets “brand Ireland” in the states. Ask her about collaborative partnerships to offer your business a footprint in Europe. Our collaborators include project managers, sales & marketing strategists and agencies as well as investment experts & advisors. 

Catalysing change includes her work as the Director of Neo Ireland Ltd, a social enterprise and Yum Pod Group a startup with a focus on education. She continues to offer her input to a range of enterprises as a Non-Executive Director.

Neo Ireland provides the umbrella to collectively continue building an ecosystem that supports the infrastructure needed to fill the jobs of the 21st century. Coordinating BizCamps, hosting and attending tech events and via Newry Hackers, we offer after school coding classes, and host gaming parties, a quadcopter “drone academy” and CoderdojoNewry.

We’re most proud of the jobs and businesses created by people who have upskilled and gained confidence working with us.

How we’ve done it and what’s next? 

One day and one job at a time! Nothing has changed here. We help individuals find their passion and develop a career plan for the new century. Jobs may be scarce, but work is not. We teach entrepreneurship. Start-ups, micro-businesses and SMEs get connected. We offer networks, training and guidance to take best advantage of island-wide resources targeting innovation, export training, R&D assistance, market research and inward investment.

Let us help you explore the possibilities, find your passion and make a plan. You’re never alone.







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