BESTIE partner, Creative Spark, based in Ireland recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Creative Spark is A Place To Work - providing permanent and sector specific workspace, business development support and mentoring on-site, joint meeting and training rooms and providing the opportunity to network and collaborate.
And, A Place To Learn - the project would provide industry specific training and advisory support services, interdisciplinary courses in innovation, decision-making, and new technology training to stimulate new business opportunities facilitating transferable skills development, with design and innovation in all products and service offerings and programmes tailored to the specific needs of the local community.
Officially launched in November 2012, Creative Spark opened its doors with the goal of providing dedicated creative training and workspace facilities for new and established enterprises in County Louth. To date Creative Spark has supported the creation 198 jobs, 6,808 people have participated in training and the centre makes an estimated local economic contribution of €3.88M annually.
In May of 2014 the Creative Spark Print Studio was launched. The Print Studio was established to provide printmaking facilities, workshops and opportunities for visual artists. Since opening it has had 79 induvial visual artist-members who create and innovate within the studio, and welcomed 48 artists as part of the Artist-in-Residence Programme.
Local creative networks are an important part of Creative Spark’s impact in the community, in particular Louth Craftmark Designers’ Network, a network of 65 designer makers, and Art as Exchange (AAEX), a group of over 40 visual artists who meet and collaborate to provide access to creative participatory arts.
Creative Spark has achieved much in the past ten years from creating and supporting employment, to providing working space to 54 businesses employing 88 people currently, within Creative Spark. Creative Spark is growing and expanding, with the launch of the Creative Spark Downtown Hub in May of 2022 in the centre of Dundalk town and the planned opening of its Enterprise FabLab and Community Café in early 2023.