An Omagh Enterprise Company Initiative


The world’s population will reach nine billion by 2045. Such growth coupled with advances in technology will enable countless people to move out of poverty. But it will also cause an increase in demand for the world’s resources. As a result, traditional approaches to economic development and job creation are no longer sustainable as technology and demand for natural resources disrupt the economy. The aim of a Smart Region, therefore, is to employ technology to collect, analyse and use data to create more and better jobs. The concept is proven as a way to manage cities and public and private sector organisations. Benefits are evident in retail, health care and manufacturing as data is used to drive innovation, productivity and profit. In this context, the company’s Smart Region initiative has developed a number of projects.



Smart Region Pilot

An initial Smart Region pilot ran in the Fermanagh and Omagh area for an 18-month period from 2013. The project explored the effectiveness of employing technology to collect and analyse data as a way to review the economic, social and environmental profile of the region.

Data Analyst: Data Scientist

The Smart Region pilot employed a Data Analyst to gather information to inform local economic development plans and policy. Upon completion of the pilot, a Data Scientist was employed in a mainstream post for the region.

Digital Omagh

Digital Omagh was formed as a network of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs and acts as a connection point for those interested in the digital economy. The network meets on a regular basis and held a successful Masterclass on ‘Running A Business From Your Smartphone’.

EU Erasmus + Smart Data, Smart Regions

The Smart Region strategy underpinned a successful application to the European Union Erasmus+ programme for a ‘Smart Region: Smart Data’ project. The aim is to develop training materials for educational institutions and researchers as a way to teach students about the importance of data.

Superconnected Cities

Building on other Smart Region proposals an application was made to the ‘Superconnected Cities – Rural’ initiative led by Belfast City Council. The project led to the connection of 55 small businesses to super-fast fibre broadband with speeds of 500Mb, while also increasing the company’s infrastructure capacity to speeds of 10Gb plus.

Education to Enterprise Pilot

An ‘Education to Enterprise’ project was agreed with the six schools scheduled to move to the Strule Shared Education Campus and the Education Authority. The pilot phase was oversubscribed and attracted 120 students to a full day workshop. The aim of the project is to explore enterprise and entrepreneurship as a key life skill and viable career option. As a result of the success of the pilot, a three-year project has been agreed with the schools and Education Authority.

Smart Region Champion

The Enterprise Company acts as a Champion for the development of the Smart Region, as part of its mission to promote enterprise and support start-up, growth and social economy businesses. In this role, it promotes the concept and develops specific projects as a way to attract investment, support business and create jobs.

Smart Partnerships

In recent months, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Catalyst Inc., Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Omagh Enterprise Company. The aim is to deliver innovation support for local entrepreneurs and start-up and growth businesses. Other partnerships will be formed with funders, sponsors and private, public and third sector organisations.



Education to Enterprise

Further to the delivery of the Education to Enterprise pilot a follow up initiative has been developed with the Education Authority and the six schools forming the Strule Shared Education Campus. The project will enable students from each of the six schools to gain an understanding of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship and explore how to start and grow a business that creates jobs. It is an innovative project that complements mainstream education and provides young people with learning opportunities and the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.

Enterprise & Innovation Hub – former Omagh Health Centre Site

The Smart Region pilot led to a proposal to the Western Health and Social Care Trust for the development of the Omagh Health Centre site as a town centre Enterprise and Innovation Hub for entrepreneurs and students in the Strule Shared Education Campus and South West College. The project is being considered under the Community Asset Transfer programme and will provide accommodation for 40 businesses while also creating 160 town centre based jobs. It will build close links through the Education to Enterprise project with the 4,500 students and 450 teachers in the new Strule Shared Education Campus and the students and lecturers in South West College.

St Lucia Regeneration and Enterprise

The Smart Region pilot prompted a proposal for the development of an Enterprise Centre to attract entrepreneurs and technology businesses to the former St Lucia military site. The proposal would form part of an overall master plan for the site in conjunction with Fermanagh and Omagh Council and other stakeholders and help attract business, investment and jobs to the area.

Gigatown Omagh

The Smart Region pilot led to the drafting of a Terms of Reference for the development of Omagh as a Gigatown through the development of the town’s broadband infrastructure. The project is based on extending the current availability of superfast fibre broadband throughout the town centre as a follow up to Project Kelvin. The availability of superfast fibre broadband in this way will attract new business, create long-term and sustainable jobs and ensure the competitiveness of the town in the digital age.

As highlighted, the projects listed above provide an ideal platform from which to further develop the area as a Smart Region and help transform the local economic landscape for the next generation. In this context, some ideas for future consideration are listed below.


Smart Partnerships

Develop a network of partnerships with businesses and organisations in the public, private and community and voluntary sectors. The partnerships will form around specific groupings with specific areas of interest and focus on results and outputs.

Smart Social Media

Develop links with social media companies to use a multi-channel platform to identify customers and generate leads for small and medium sized businesses.

Smart Website

Test the development of full-integrated websites for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to ensure their message get full reach and effectiveness across all social media platforms.

Smart Support

Providing a competitive edge to entrepreneurs through access to business support, property, finance, local networks, skills, mentoring and a superfast broadband infrastructure.

Smart Funding

Develop links between businesses in the region and funding opportunities through Small Business Loan Funds, Innovation Vouchers, Invest NI’s Collaborative Growth programme, Innovate UK, SBRI and other initiatives.

Digital Diversity

Ensure the smart region’s activities reach all groups and sectors to include the young and old, men and women, those with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and the social economy.

Smart Blogs

Develop links with individuals and businesses to produce a range of blogs on enterprise, business, technology and the smart region to promote the area and attract ideas and investment.

Open Data

Entrepreneurs and businesses need access to data to find opportunities, new ideas, products and services. The project will, therefore, support the Northern Ireland Executive’s Open Data strategy to promote an ‘open by default’ policy to public data.

Smart Parking

Develop a parking initiative to guide drivers to available parking spaces in real time to reduce traffic congestion, improve methods of payment and improve the user experience.

Smart Power

Develop and implement an audit of energy use within the region to increase the percentage of renewable energy, drive efficiencies, make savings and improve the environment.

Smart Lighting

Develop a street lights’ initiative to reduce energy use, support the environment and monitor levels of air and noise pollution. It would also map the use of energy to find solutions for greater efficiency.

Smart Skills Hub

Develop an open hub of knowledge about the availability of, and demand for, skills in the region as a way to retain and attract employers.

Smart Schools: Fast Fibre

Ensure the supply of super-fast fibre broadband to each of the six schools that make up the new Strule Shared Education Campus.

Smart Strule: Connected Community

Develop links between the 4,500 students and 450 teachers and private and community and voluntary sector organisations interested in the digital economy.

Smart Tourism: Smart Data

Develop a collaborative network of tourism related businesses to capture, analyse and act of the patterns of visitors to the area.

Smartphone: Smartbusiness

Work with the Digital Omagh network and private sector companies to host an annual event to showcase the role the Smartphone can play in starting and running a business.

Smart Hub: Smart Site

Develop the Enterprise Company as a smart hub and smart site, as a way to pilot building management initiatives and learn from industry best practice.

Smart Workspace

Develop offices and co-working shared space for lease on ‘easy-in, easy-out’ terms to promote entrepreneurs in the creative and digital industries.

Internet of Things

Develop a network of sensors within the town centre to collect data to monitor activity and traffic flows to improve the experience of visitors.

Smart Industry

Engineering is a major sector in the region as many of the world leaders in the manufacture of mobile screening equipment for the quarrying industry export to countries all around the world. As a result, there is a need to identify the skill requirements of companies and attract greater numbers of people to the area.

Smart Agriculture

Develop the use of technology in agriculture to collect and analyse data to find efficiencies and increase productivity and output in the context of climate change and higher demand from an increasing world population

Smart Strule: Smart Site

Develop the new Strule Shared Education Campus as an example of best practice in facilities management, community service and return on investment.

Code for Life

Develop a programme to teach young people to code and learn the language of digital disruption in the 21st century.

Data Manager

Recruit a Data Manager with specialist expertise in collecting and analysing data and engaging with entrepreneurs to identify opportunities and new business ideas.

Connected Community

Develop a network of connected social enterprise hubs for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in the social economy sector.

Innovation Hub Fund

Develop an Innovation Fund to encourage ideas, support entrepreneurs and encourage new business start-ups in the area.

Smart Town

Develop the town centre as a smart town to improve the user experience and identify savings and efficiencies for public and private sector organisations.

Smart Health

Develop a database to collect and analyse people’s leisure activities to promote greater levels of exercise and active living as a way to improve physical and mental health.

Diaspora Connect

Linking with people from the region who are living and working all around the world as a way to attract them back, introduce new skills and create jobs.

Tech Nation

Promoting the region’s support for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses by providing easy access to flexible workspace, finance and support for innovation and ideas.



We are happy to hear from people and organisations interested in any of the projects or those with new ideas, so get in touch.

Dr Nicholas O’Shiel


Omagh Enterprise Centre

Great Northern Road

Omagh, Northern Ireland

BT78 5LU


m: 07711126268