West Living Case Studies
Galway Case Study: Maria Moynihan Lee
Maria Moynihan Lee former Festival Director Galway Volvo Ocean Race is Director of Broad Reach – Communications, Events & Marketing and Sigma-X – Software Development.
Sigma-X, which develops structural engineering software and also provides consultancy services was established 2004; Broad Reach specialists in the planning and delivery of festival and maritime events and live marketing and communications was established 2009.
“Through Broad Reach we are currently experiencing much greater opportunities than existed in the previous year and we expect to employ a team of 5 by the end 2010”, says Maria. “This is in large part due to the success of the Galway Volvo Ocean Race and also due to the need to stimulate activity in the tourism sector in these difficult times. I believe that if we were not located in the West there would be fewer opportunities at present” she adds.
Maria, whose husband and co-founder of Sigma-X is from Galway, originally moved back to the West when Sigma-X participated in a Galway based programme aimed at supporting start ups in 2003. “This signposted the way to all available business supports in the west we got an Enterprise Ireland research grant and Enterprise Equity investment funding to start Sigma-X”, she says. “Since then, we have found that costs are definitely lower across the board by comparison with Dublin and the infrastructure in Galway makes it a great place to do business. The new Galway –Dublin motorway will make a big difference and over the 4 years since it has been in development, access to Dublin has been dramatically improved.
“The improved frequency of trains and greater reliability of the service has also made a big difference to us over the past 5 years and with flights from Galway Airport we can get to anywhere in London within four hours door-to-door”, she adds.
Maria has experienced a little difficulty in taking advantage of the availability of graduates from outside the region on work placement but for Sigma-X access to NUI Galway engineering graduates is very important and very easy and she has found there is also an excellent supply of arts administration and media graduates. “New initiatives like HPSU Skillnets are very valuable to us, “she adds.
Maria believes that the West of Ireland is good for the creative sector generally. “The Galway Volvo Ocean Race offered real opportunities for arts groups and the entertainment sector. It was possible to plan and programme the entire event using local talent. The strength of the tourism industry and its need for entertainment products also supports the creative sector”, she explains.
A keen water-sport enthusiast, Maria says that the West offers “Everything one would wish for! I can enjoy a number of outdoor pursuits including sailing with Galway Bay Sailing Club and boating on the Corrib.
“Doing business from a base in the West has never been a handicap in any way” she says. “In fact it offers a quality of life that is really hard to beat. I attended UCG in the 1980s and although I have lived in a number of European cities and a number of larger and smaller towns in Ireland, I really feel I have come home to Galway.
“I would recommend a move to Galway to anybody”, says Maria adding, “build networks to the fullest extent possible and try and get a realistic view point on the physical realities of a move – they are not as onerous as many perceive”.
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