Derry’s Science Park at Fort George will form a central part of new plans to expand the multi-site operation.
A 10-year plan to develop 5,000 more jobs across sites in Belfast, Derry and a new site at Ballymena have been unveiled as the Science Park changed its name to Catalyst Inc. today.
There are currently 2,600 people working for the 160 knowledge-based firms located at the two sites in Derry and Belfast.
Catalyst Inc. expanded to Derry in 2015 after securing funding from the EU’s INTERREG IVA programme for a cross-border partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), where work is already underway to extend its successful Co-Lab business incubator.
The 50,000 square foot of workspace in Derry is located on the site of a former army barracks.
It has its own Data Centre, and includes businesses specialising in software, telecoms, digital media, health and bioscience, clean tech and television production.
Money raised from rent and service charges are used to sustain the site and some of the surplus funds combined with private sector investment is used for the community-led development of our entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem.
A spokesman said: “Having proven our business model we now need to do more to scale our activities.
“Our aim continues to be to make Northern Ireland one of the most entrepreneurial and inclusive knowledge economies in Europe by 2030 and in our ambitious 10 year plan we are targeting: one million square feet of space for Knowledge Economy businesses; supporting an additional 5,000 jobs across all of our sites; most importantly building on our unrivalled support system for indigenous entrepreneurs to drive our knowledge economy.
“The trading name for the Northern Ireland Science Park group of companies will change to our new brand, but the legal entities will remain the same. Therefore all leases, licenses, contracts, other agreements, invoicing, payments, etc remain as present.”