Companies located in The Digital Hub will grow at a rate 30 times greater than the national average during 2008. That’s according to the Digital Hub Enterprise Survey, which also revealed that 43 percent of Digital Hub companies have a product that is completely new to the market, while 25 percent have developed unique business practices, and 24 percent use a business model that is unique to their particular market. “Approximately one in six of the digital media companies currently operating in Ireland are located in The Digital Hub,” said Philip Flynn, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency. “So this survey not only gives us an insight into how Hub companies are getting on, it also gives key indicators about the health of Ireland’s digital media industry overall.”
While it’s possible to look at this success from an all-Ireland point of view, we have to remember that in the Black North we have our own economy and our own companies to support. We don’t (yet) have an equivalent of the Digital Hub Development Agency, though I’m presuming this is what Digital Circle is meant to grow into. The DHDA works to promote companies within the borders of Ireland and not the UK – we have our own development agency for this.
In the sense that all ‘digital hub’ companies are competing, we must be ready to compete with each other as well as with our peers in the Republic of Ireland. But friendly competition as opposed to the sort which is all too common in Northern Ireland (where a competitor tells customers that you’ve gone out of business because, you know, that’s a fair tactic).
I’d need to read a lot more about the criteria for unique business models, unique business practices and completely new products on the market, but it’s encouraging statistics. It goes to show that having a government agency-supported focus group for an industry is a very good way to grow the industry. Having a facility like The Digital Hub is a great step for companies which are pre-Bubble in their work ethic (while hopefully being post-Bubble in their business plan).
The closest we really have for this is the Northern Ireland Science Park which, to be honest, looks antediluvian compared to The Digital Hub – it has a lot of potential and just needs a little more energy and a little less process.
We’ve got more happening than just the InvestNI/Momentum events. Look at BarCamp, look at Belfast OpenCoffee Club (meeting Thursday 3rd July). Look at the as-yet-unnamed event happening in six months! Northern Ireland is buzzing.
Where we need the government to assist is in reducing the centralisation of all digital content companies in Belfast. There’s no reason for it considering the resources available in Omagh, Derry, Newry and Armagh. I’ve personal experience with some of the local colleges in these regions and they’re doing a lot more than people give credit for. They’re pushing ‘digital/technology’ education forward and this matters because in a broadband world it doesn’t matter where in the province you are from.
 something that is completely new to the market is not usually a good thing.