This evening saw the official opening of The CUBE by Minister Simon Coveney, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
The 10,000 square foot Low Carbon Centre of Excellence, a dedicated centre for the development of new business and economic activity, will in turn support and assist a transition to a low carbon economy.
This exemplar low carbon facility is the first of its kind in the region and is located in the heart of Portlaoise’s Cultural Quarter.
It will support and stimulate the development of enterprise and jobs in Laois and the Midlands region.
Portlaoise Town has been designated as Ireland’s first ‘Low Carbon Town’ which will serve as a roadmap for the development and rollout of similar low carbon initiatives in other towns around the Country.
The services and experience required to implement these Low Carbon initiatives will be further leveraged through The CUBE for enterprise and industry to future proof the regions for a changing economy.
Scaling this know-how will impact on every town and village in Ireland and will become a benchmark for similar initiatives internationally.
John Mulholland, Chairperson of the Board of Portlaoise Innovation Centre and Chief Executive of Laois County Council said: “This is a landmark day in the ongoing development of our County Town of Portlaoise.
“The opening of The CUBE can be regarded as the first in a series of local rejuvenation projects whose primary purpose is to support enterprise, economic and cultural activity in the core town centre.
“While the principal aims of developing this centre, the CUBE, is to assist the development of innovation and jobs in the low carbon economy, it is in reality about much more than that.
“It is about bringing once derelict and vacant buildings back to life.
“It is about bringing better confidence to a place and it is also about taking small steps on the road to a low carbon Town and feeling our way towards compact town centre development.”
Caroline Hofman, newly appointed Director of The CUBE added: “I am delighted to be at the helm of this exciting new Low Carbon Centre of Excellence for Portlaoise, which will not only benefit our thriving town and County Laois, but will also significantly benefit businesses and attract investment and job creation at a regional, national, and international level.
“In addition, The CUBE will also provide supports to existing and expanding businesses, assisting them on their low carbon and sustainability journey.
“This will be achieved through various initiatives, including the creation of links between existing and emerging industries, education and training, and research, through partnerships with regional enterprise and educational and training experts.
“The CUBE will also have a dedicated space for the incubation of Low Carbon focused start-ups, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation in this area.”
Numerous partners have been involved in the project since its inception, with The CUBE funded by Enterprise Ireland under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.
The project pivots around Government plans and strategic directions, including Project Ireland 2040, the Climate Action Plan to tackle Climate breakdown, and the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024.
Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Thomasina Connell was speaking at the opening and said: “This is a hugely important day in the ongoing development of Portlaoise and I am delighted to see such activity and life in the building and indeed the transformation of this once vacant and derelict building into a Low Carbon Centre of Excellence is most welcome.
“In this regard I would like express thanks to the previous owner of the building, Mr. Tom O’Connor.
“Also, thanks to the neighbours on Church Street for their co-operation and patience during the construction phase of the project. The cube brings significant improvements to the streetscape of the area.
“Not only will the centre provide support and assist businesses in the transition to a low carbon economy, but it will greatly assist the local community in their efforts to address energy consumption and retrofitting.”
Speaking at the opening Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney TD said: “I am delighted be here today to officially open the CUBE in Portlaoise, Ireland’s first ‘low-carbon’ town.
“This remarkable state-of-the art facility, which is an integral part of the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan, will play a central role in enabling the growth of scaling enterprises across the Midlands and further afield, supporting this critical agenda to reduce energy consumption.
“It will also provide numerous start-ups and high potential businesses with the space and support they needed in order to flourish and prosper.
“The Cube will be a Centre of Excellence for the management and mitigation of decarbonisation across all sectors – a key focus of this governments agenda as set out in Project Ireland 2040 and the Climate Action plan.
“The transition to a low-carbon economy, along with digital transformation, are the focus of my Department’s ‘Building Better Business’ Conferences which will be held throughout this year.
“The next Conference will be held here in the Midlands region on the 27th April 2023.
“The opening of the CUBE, supported by over €2m in funding from my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, will see the positive contribution by low carbon businesses to economic prosperity in the long-term and I believe will serve as a roadmap for the development and rollout of similar low carbon initiatives in other towns around the country.”
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