Emerald Valley – A new way to give business a start

January 31, 2012

An ambitious and innovative new business incubation initiative will be launched in Newry this week, aiming to help new start- up businesses and to bring world class IT companies to the city. The most interesting part of the initiative however is the fact that it was started without any government funding whatsoever, by two women who simply decided to make it happen themselves.

Eve Earley, who hails from Philadelphia, came to Ireland three years ago and was amazed at the opportunities which the Newry and Mourne area had to offer to companies from the United States. Nichola Bates, a young mother of two from Belfast, was struck by the lack of opportunities for IT graduates in the Newry area. They met two years ago, and set up Emerald Valley shortly thereafter. In November last year they rented a huge empty building in Newry city centre and have just announced that it has achieved full occupancy. Last Friday (27th January) the building was officially opened by the US Consul, Kevin Rowland.

Eve Earley says the spirit of Emerald Valley is the idea that you don’t have to wait for a government grant to make things happen, and that, with courage and good ideas, it’s possible to simply get on with it yourself!

Eve says, “There are very few jobs, but there’s a lot of work to do. I believe that the Newry area and its environs is exactly what many big companies from the US are looking for. Meanwhile, we’ve been amazed by the array of outstanding ideas which have simply walked into the Emerald Valley building since we opened our doors in November, and we’re helping to make those ideas a reality. There are still opportunities out there and we are living proof that a vision and some guts can make things happen”

Business partner, Nichola Bates added,

“Emerald-Valley is about nurturing, encouraging and growing the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, while helping indigenous companies expand and export beyond our shores. It’s about putting ideas into action, creating a space where like-minded people can achieve their full potential through hard work, networking, passion and creativity. In Emerald-Valley you can find the infrastructure necessary for your business – large or small: Desk rental on a daily or monthly basis, broadband, a business address and the one thing many start-up and small businesses lack -supportive colleagues!”

The initiative provides support for new business start-ups in managing the early stages, growing the business funding and scaling the new business. It offers advice on accountancy, health and safety, legal services, marketing, sales and PR, as well as helping with grant aid, training and best practises and procedures.

The initiative also aims to start nurturing the IT entrepreneurs of tomorrow by setting up regular ‘coder camps’ for children, supported by local software developers.  Generic events on business issues are also in the pipeline.

Eve and Nichola have been working on developing the reputation of the initiative across the United States and Ireland, and are already planning to open their second building before the end of 2012.