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24 May 2022

Council signs Memorandum of Understanding to help accelerate innovation in the North West

Donegal County Council Chief Executive John G. McLaughlin

Donegal County Council Chief Executive John G. McLaughlin and Catalyst’s CEO Steve Orr following the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding

Donegal County Council has announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Catalyst that formalises the organisations’ commitment to work together to develop the innovation economy in the North West region of Ireland.

Catalyst is an independent, not-for-profit organisation focused on fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, supporting transformative businesses and developing Northern Ireland’s tech industry.

The new MoU sets out how Donegal County Council and Catalyst will work together to capitalise on the benefits of developing the knowledge-based economy, in line with Catalyst’s collective ambition with colleagues and neighbours in Derry City & Strabane District Council to create opportunities for people in the North West.

The MoU covers both parties plans to develop innovation workspace in both Letterkenny and at the Catalyst Fort George and aims to contribute to the creation of an economically vibrant region that has a positive and sustainable impact for communities in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Under the terms of the MoU, Catalyst and the Council have committed to:

  • Collaborate to support a North West regional ecosystem to accelerate the creation of new early-stage knowledge-based businesses.
  • Further strengthen the economic infrastructure in the North West City Region as a means to create employment opportunities for local people.
  • Create a more diverse and dynamic economy in the region, providing the infrastructure and expertise to unlock potential for Innovation Driven Enterprises
  • Support the economic development agencies in their pursuit of small, R&D based, FDI opportunities, where proximity and links to higher education institutions are critical, and proximity to the border is advantageous. 
  • Identify synergies between Donegal County Council and Catalyst-managed research, facilities, and training activities where they relate to Donegal County Council’s economic development strategies.
  • Act mutually as advocates for innovation, research opportunities, and each other, when interacting with decision-makers and other stakeholders on both sides of the border.

John G. McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, said: “Donegal County Council is delighted to be working with Catalyst on developing the innovation economy in the North West and facilitating greater levels of cross border collaboration. 

"This aligns strongly with our ambitions for Donegal and the North West City Region in terms of developing our economy and supporting business development in a range of knowledge-based industries.”

Steve Orr, CEO of Catalyst, said: “We’re really pleased to have agreed this MoU with Donegal County Council as it will help accelerate the existing work we are doing together to increase support for innovation-driven businesses in the region and further enhance cross border collaboration.

"We believe there is huge entrepreneurial potential in the North-West and want to work with other organisations who share that view on both sides of the border.”

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