independent

Sunday 18 August 2019

Innovate is all geared up for 'significant growth'

ABOVE: Innovate, the Gorey-based IT and Telecommunications infra-structure provider to small to medium enterprises, is recruiting talent.
ABOVE: Innovate, the Gorey-based IT and Telecommunications infra-structure provider to small to medium enterprises, is recruiting talent.

By Fintan Lambe

Innovate is looking for talent. The Gorey based company has been busy of late, recruiting and building its team, and CEO Jim Hughes says he wants to stop talented workers fleeing the county up to Dublin.

It's been a busy time for the nine-year-old company which recently lent its name to the county GAA grounds. In 2013, Innovate made national headlines when it won National Business of the Year at the County Enterprise Awards.

'That was a massive step for attracting people into the business,' said Jim, a Monamolin native, who founded Innovate in January 2006, with Enda Cahill from Rathnure, who is the organisation's Chief Technical Officer.

Put simply, Innovate provides IT and Telecommunications infrastructure to small to medium enterprises, primarily in Ireland and the UK.

One of the reasons that Jim, at 25, decided to start the business with Enda was he wanted to work close to home. 'It was a case of do it yourself, or continue to work in Dublin,' he said.

In the intervening decade, the company has grown substantially, and now has offices at Knockmullen in Gorey, and in Sandyford in Dublin. Over the years there has been support from the County Enterprise Board, the Local Enterprise Office, and Enterprise Ireland.

In the past year, they've recruited aggressively, building a strong senior management team. They took on Chief Financial Officer Gavin O'Donovan, formerly of Greencore in France; Barry Murphy as Chief Operations Officer; Head of Commercial, Simon Sharkey; Head of Marketing, Deirdre Sheriff; and they also brought on board a high profile non-executive chairman, David Laird.

'We put a board together in the past year,' said Jim. 'We invested heavily in the business to structure it for considerable growth. We're building a business based in Wexford with a national and international focus.'

Last year, Innovate ran a billboard campaign to encourage suitably qualified commuters to apply for work with the local company. 'The talent is driving to Dublin every day, and they don't need to,' said Jim. 'We brought in three UCD graduates, two in computer science and one with a Smurfit MBA. They're all from Wexford, and two of them are Wexford footballers.'

'The aim is to get in front of the talent going up the N11, and keep them here,' he smiled. 'In the immediate term, we are looking for computer science graduates, and graduates in disciplines such as marketing, business, and sales.'

Jim is of the belief that if you come across smart people, and don't necessarily have a role for them today, you should just hire them anyway. He also wants experienced people to complement the young workers who might be new to the jobs market.

'What we're building is one of the largest indigenous IT and Telecoms companies in Ireland,' he stated. 'We have a window of opportunity to deliver something of significance in North Wexford, and we have a highly motivated team that will deliver that vision.'

There are challenges regarding office space and the availability of local talent, but these can be overcome.

Jim hopes the sponsorship of Innovate Wexford Park will help brand Wexford as an innovative county. 'If you have that constant message, and Gorey as an innovation hub, all of a sudden, you're creating a self fulfilling prophecy,' he stated.

'There's no reason why we cannot grow exponentially, over the next five to ten years and continue to build a national and international technology company,' he said. 'We're geared for growth. We've invested in senior executives and a board level to prepare for significant growth.'

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