An expansion of NovaUCD valued at €6.7 million was officially opened by Taoiseach Micháel Martin on 28th October. NovaUCD is the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at the University, self-described as ‘the hub of innovation-related activities at University College Dublin.’

The expansion increased the capacity of the centre by more than 50%, giving NovaUCD the capacity to offer support to over 450 founders and their teams. The renovation project expanded the centre’s East Courtyard with the new facility housing more than 20 business units and laboratories and a co-working space. 

Opened in 2003, NovaUCD supports high-tech and knowledge-intensive start-ups with global ambitions. Alongside the facilities at the centre, NovaUCD offers comprehensive support programmes to start-ups including accelerator programmes and a peer-support system of mentors. 

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation celebrated the opening by saying they ‘look forward to welcoming and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs in the years ahead’, acknowledging the existing ‘growing and vibrant community of very successful entrepreneurs at NovaUCD’.

Taoiseach Micháel Martin was given a tour of the new facilities and had the opportunity to meet with those working at start-ups located in the centre before the official opening was marked by cutting the ribbon. The Taoiseach endorsed the work completed at the centre, calling it ‘one of the leading hubs in Ireland’s start-up ecosystem supporting ambitious entrepreneurs and innovative high-tech companies’. He went on to say he is sure the centre ‘will continue to flourish’ following the expansion.

In its 18 years, NovaUCD has assisted over 400 companies and ventures including Zipp Mobility, Equal1 Laboratories, Manna and Output Sports. Zipp Mobility, an e-scooter firm and shared micro-mobility operator, recently announced that they had secured funding of €1.3 million from investors, Enterprise Ireland and crowdfunding. Nova-supported start-ups have in total raised over €775 million in equity funding to date.

UCD’s Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact Orla Feeley has said ‘UCD is committed to Ireland’s development as an innovation leader through its role as an engine of economic, cultural, and social growth, the new project being a clear symbol of this commitment. 

Alice Wright – Reporter