The i4C proposal involves the construction of a new, significant scale innovation and clean technology centre for SMEs. The centre includes a range of accommodation types to facilitate SME innovation activity i.e. incubation labs and workshops, Grade A office and co-working office space, as well as meeting and event spaces to encourage open innovation and collaboration. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has a series of Memoranda of Understanding in place to support project development and delivery, including one with Queen’s University Belfast on the AMIC project and one with Northern Regional College to provide a seamless range of innovation supports to SMEs and industry in the region.
The Innovation Lab (iLAB) at i4C also forms a key part of the i4C proposal allowing for an engineering staff led and well-equipped workshop that focuses on developing products, services, training and solutions for the cleantech sector across NI i.e. in the emerging hydrogen economy. The 15-hectare mixed regeneration site is situated in the heart of the town and will act as a catalyst and enabler of inclusive growth in Ballymena and the wider borough.
The BRCD regeneration pillar investment aims to help create a step change for these regeneration plans by enabling i4C to serve as the anchor tenant building and key economic driver for future growth and will also allow local communities to avail of skills and employability opportunities. This regeneration will add greater social value through place-making, enterprise stimulation, community development and good relations in the wider catchment area.