Northern Ireland’s first Enterprise Zone, Atlantic Link Campus which is a core element of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s vision for a digital causeway to international investment, has been officially launched at an event hosted at Ulster University Coleraine Campus.
This ground-breaking announcement represents an investment of £2.7 million by the Council and presents a significant economic development opportunity for the North Coast. The initial 20-acre site, part of the overall 40-acre designation, adjacent to the University is now formally welcoming interest from tenants who will benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances and the fastest high speed connectivity point between North America and UK via the Project Kelvin, a high speed transatlantic fibre. The Department for the Economy has worked closely with Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council to facilitate the designation of the Enterprise Zone by HM Treasury to enable Enhanced Capital Allowances to be offered to prospective investors at the site.
Also unveiled was the Enterprise Zone’s first anchor tenant 5NINES, a global data centre company which will be investing an additional £20m in their operations there and creating up to 15 jobs in the process.
Global tech entrepreneur and investor Eileen Burbidge MBE, who has worked in senior positions in Yahoo, Skype and Apple in Silicon Valley before becoming a partner in London based venture capital firm Passion Capital said on her visit to the site;
“It is a privilege to support the launch of the Atlantic Link Campus as my first visit to the North Coast. Based on the successes from other existing Enterprise Zones, e.g., 45 across England which have created 400 new businesses, employ more than 12,500 people and attracted more than £2 billion in private investment, I’m incredibly optimistic about the value creation which can come from the Atlantic Link Campus. Public-private sector partnership is an ideal reflection of what fuels the digital economy and innovation.”
Eileen joined other experts at a symposium held as part of the event to discuss the commercial potential of the Atlantic Link Enterprise Campus as well as share knowledge and insight from key delivery partners and business influencers about the growth of a local digital economy.
Commenting on the launch, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE, said: “The official launch of the Atlantic Link Enterprise Campus is a momentous day in the history of the Borough. We are proud to be the home of Northern Ireland’s first enterprise zone, and we look forward to promoting the potential of this project as a prime location for foreign direct investment. As a Council we are committed to improving local economic prosperity, and the Atlantic Link Campus will now be pivotal to this. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our anchor tenant 5NINES. Their multi-million pound investment has been crucial to this process, and we look forward to working with them as a key enabler for the local digital hub which we now hope to grow and develop at this site.”
Paul Besley, General Manager, 5NINES added: “Northern Ireland has a great need for a first class data centre to provide hosting and co-location services to local and international clients. 5NINES are delighted to be building our facility here and supporting the growth of the local digital economy through the creation of high growth potential media and technology businesses. Access to the All-Ireland Network and direct connection to the Project Kelvin high speed transatlantic fibre, combined with the benefits of Northern Ireland’s first Enterprise Zone made Coleraine the perfect location.”
Dr Karise Hutchinson, Ulster University Provost for Coleraine, highlighted that Ulster University has “a track record of research and innovation, recognised in key areas as world leading. The Atlantic Link Enterprise Campus will require the Council and University to work together to create a unique and valuable proposition that will attract FDI to this area, providing a much needed boost our local economy.”