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Official opening of The Base Enterprise Centre for Finn Valley and cross-border area

on .

The Base Donegal Website web

On Thursday (8th October), local community and business representatives came together to celebrate the official opening of The BASE Enterprise Centre, a €1.4m community and enterprise hub developed to support social and economic regeneration in the wider Finn Valley and cross-border area in Donegal and Tyrone. Coinciding with the launch, the centre also played host to ‘A Creative Touch of Donegal’ – an exhibition celebrating Donegal’s rich creative offering from a diverse range of local designers.

Located on the Railway Road in Stranorlar, the purpose-built centre is run by BASICC (Ballybofey and Stranorlar Integrated Community Company) and represents a major investment in the local economy. The project was part-funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) under its CBESR programme, and Donegal County Council, Enterprise Ireland and the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme.

The BASE Enterprise Centre encompasses over 19,000 square feet of prime space across three floors, offering a high-tech setting for businesses in the heart of the Finn Valley. The space has been thoughtfully designed to enable business development and growth with a dedicated business start-up area, flexible arrangements, offices and units of various sizes, training facilities, free Wi-Fi in designated areas, free parking, bright communal spaces and a range of meeting rooms.

As well as attracting new business to the area, the centre aims to support existing enterprises in the area by working directly with local business owners and managers. The centre is situated within 20 minutes’ drive from Letterkenny and Donegal Town, close to a number of key urban centres in Northern Ireland (Derry, 50km, Strabane, 22km and Omagh 45km) and within walking distance of the Finn Valley Leisure Centre and dedicated childcare facilities.

Reconciliation Programme
As part of an initial two-year reconciliation programme administered by BASICC, the facility incorporates a dedicated shared space to support the development of good community relations between both traditions in the area. This initiative involves cross-community training and cultural activities, bringing all sections of farming – both local and cross border – together into a common space through a range of supports and services.

Activities are designed to centre on the needs of rural communities, such as health and wellbeing promotion; social activities centred on an agricultural theme, such as farm financing, land use and cross border markets; and social and business-related themes along with traditional skills and crafts.

Speaking at the official opening, Paddy Harte, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland, said that the Fund is proud to be associated with the valuable work carried out by BASICC in bringing about positive change and addressing the social and economic needs of the local area.

“The Fund is committed to the long-term task of breaking down traditional barriers and helping to build positive relations and contact between the two main communities on the island of Ireland. We’re therefore delighted to be associated with the Base Enterprise Centre and the reconciliation programme run by BASICC. By building and nurturing greater cross-border and cross-community links, we believe the project will have a positive and lasting impact on reconciliation along the Donegal-Tyrone border. ”

Kieran Doherty, Chairperson of BASICC said: “I would like to thank all our funders for their support in making this centre a reality. We could not have achieved this without the help and financial support from the International Fund for Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Donegal County Council and INTERREG. The centre is a tremendous opportunity for the Twin Towns and the wider East Donegal and West Tyrone border area and an example of what can be achieved by working together. We’re already seeing great results in terms of helping to diversify the local economy, lessening the reliance on traditional industries and encouraging more local entrepreneurship.”

Mr Doherty noted that, in addition to providing a welcome economic boost for the area, “the centre will provide local communities with a shared space for use in promoting greater networking and engagement on a cross-community and cross-border basis. This will have a lasting impact in terms of reconciliation.

Paschal McGuire, Regional Director North East/North West of Enterprise Ireland said that
Enterprise Ireland is very happy to be associated along with other funding partners in supporting The Base. It is a state of the art piece of infrastructure that will provide the space for local entrepreneurs to start and develop new businesses. As they grow their businesses and ultimately develop in export markets they will provide new employment opportunities for talented local people. I wish you every success and Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with you in the years to come.

Barry Naughton, Regional Director, AIB Bank said “We’re delighted at AIB to be an ongoing partner to The BASE Enterprise Centre supporting Start Ups in the region across all sectors. With every modern facility to hand the workspace units at the Centre are an ideal base for anyone to kick start and grow their business in a supportive environment”

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council welcomes the completion of this state of art community enterprise initiative which has no doubt answered a need for small business enterprise units in the Finn Valley area. A collaborative approach with various stakeholders and a strong community group has led to the delivery of an Information Technology themed work space and learning facility that will help to support enterprise and job creation at a local level. Seamus went on to wish BASICC every success with the management of the facility and the projects future sustainability.
Eamonn Quinn of RTE’s Dragons Den, who was master of ceremonies at the event, introduced some of Donegal’s newest entrepreneurs. Participants included Finn Technology, Innovation Renovation, Viking fit, Utility Choice, Donegal First Aid Services, Ruth Graham Design, Bog Bean Designs, All About Water, Peoplesafe, Advance Survey Solutions, William Kelly (business advisor), Finn Valley Amateur Boxing Club and Ballybofey and Stranorlar Chamber of Commerce.

To find out more about The Base Enterprise Centre, visit www.thebaseenterprise.ie or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / telephone: 07491 90909.