Irish Ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall, WIT president Prof Willie Donnelly and council senior executive officer for economic development Billy Duggan
Presidents of both organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise the partnership last Thursday. The virtual signing involved a video link between Erie and Waterford.
The Erie Innovation District addresses three critical community needs including the stopping of brain drain, replacing low-wage jobs with family-sustaining jobs, and the revitalisation of downtown Erie through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The partnership will include:
- Reciprocal sharing of facility space and associated support between startups participating in EID and WIT’s ArcLabs incubators and accelerators.
- Potential for partnerships between EID and ArcLabs accelerator programmes, including trainings, lectures, webinars and other programmes that leverage the knowledge-base and value propositions of both organisations.
- The potential for staff exchanges that allow employees of EID and WIT to discover and share best practices.
“We hope this agreement will open up opportunities for increased collaboration between Waterford and Erie, and in particular will allow us to further expand and enhance our enterprise development support programmes," WIT president Prof Willie Donnelly said.
Prof Donnelly added that this international collaboration provides an “exciting opportunity to link WIT's ArcLabs research and innovation centre with Erie's Innovation District, and will further strengthen the leading role of ArcLabs in the South East Ireland's enterprise-support ecosystem."
The event was witnessed in Erie by Erie Mayor Joseph Schember and in WIT by Waterford City and County Council’s Billy Duggan and Irish Ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall.
Erie Innovation District CEO Karl Sanchack said this partnership is a "significant win" for EID and Erie. "As a host city, Erie should be proud that WIT seeks to collaborate with its Secure Erie Accelerator in sharing business innovations and startup growth between our cities and countries. It gives our innovation community a chance to learn from one of the best universities in Ireland, and it gives that same university an opportunity to learn from and see what we have built here in Erie.”
Mayor of the City and County of Waterford Cllr John Pratt also welcomed the signing. “I am proud to be part of this strengthening of the ties between Waterford and Erie through the signing of this MOU and will work to ensure we continue to build on the twinning relationship of Erie and Dungarvan.”