Creative Spark in Dundalk was formally launched in November 2012 as a dedicated creative enterprise centre and training hub for the creative industries in the North East and today celebrates its fifth anniversary.
The first of its kind in the North East region, the centre supports creativity, innovation, enterprise and job creation. Creative Spark is a regionally recognised centre for the provision of creative facilities and the delivery of creative and innovative enterprise opportunities, cultivating local community creativity, innovation and enterprise capacity.
The last five years have seen Creative Spark develop into a sustainable organisation, delivering impact. With occupancy now at 100%, to date Creative Spark has supported the creation of 87 new jobs. Onsite employment numbers at Creative Spark as of November 2017 are 58 people employed in 32 businesses plus 50 creative entrepreneur user-members of the Print Studio. 26 companies have graduated out of Creative Spark. Since 2012, 2,918 people have participated in Creative Spark training programmes in entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity working closely with Local Enterprise Office Louth, Louth Meath Education and Training Board and Dundalk Institute of Technology.
Innovative offerings have been key to the Creative Spark success formula to date. It has dedicated creative facilities including a fully equipped Print Studio and a Ceramics Studio which provide specialist facilities for collaboration, R&D, production and training. It is currently providing a unique programme in the region focussing on Design Thinking, Service Design, Product Design and Digital Fabrication and is actively pursuing the objective of establishing a FabLab digital fabrication facility for the region.
The concept of a FabLab is to house all the equipment in a single co-working space to allow people using the machines to do so together, opening up potential collaboration and learning possibilities. The Creative Spark FabLab when completed will provide 8 independent workspace units for micro businesses that can grow and scale. Entrepreneurs can combine their work in the FabLab with two hot desking areas, a dedicated design and learning studio, a café, reception and exhibition areas.
Creative Spark predicts the project can create 92 jobs and deliver training and supports to 700 people each year over the next three years. The FabLab business model complements Creative Spark’s current offering and will encourage new design and creative businesses to consider locating in the region, increasing demand for additional workspace and growing an innovative entrepreneurial culture through the use of digital tools.