Enterprise Hubs Survey

An ongoing project, funded through the Dormant Accounts Fund, aimed at building a profile of enterprise hubs operating in the Atlantic Economic Corridor which has now identified 101 enterprise hubs.

The Department of Rural and Community Development working together with the AEC Co-ordination Team initially identified 72 enterprise hubs in the AEC. Further work by the AEC Officers and Údaras na Gaeltachta added a further 29 hubs.

This collaborative data-gathering was followed up by a survey of the managers in the hubs identified. The AEC Co-ordination team is now using this survey data to produce a profile of the hubs in the AEC as a regional economic asset for the AEC as a whole.

The next steps will see the development of an overarching strategy to support and co-ordinate the development of these hubs into a collaborative network. This will involve classifying different types of hubs (social enterprise hubs, digital workspaces etc.), working with hub managers to identify solutions to challenges hubs face and developing agreed quality standards for hubs in the network. Hubs will also be supported to implement ‘hub improvement plans’ to meet these standards. The hub network will also offer real opportunities to identify and develop shared branding and marketing, events and networking and supports for both hub clients and staff.

277 Enterprise Spaces Mapped along the Atlantic Economic Corridor

AEC Officers in each of the 10 Local Authorities throughout the AEC, part funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development, have surveyed available enterprise spaces in a pilot town in each county. The initiative, under the Enterprise Space Subgroup, utilises a Collector App which was developed by Mayo County Council.

The enterprise spaces include; offices, industrial warehouses and buildings, greenfield and brownfield development and strategic sites. The information collected includes details on the property type, age, size, condition, construction type, ownership/tenancy, services, fit-out standard, car parking, current, past and permitted use, and the surrounding area. This provides users of the App with information vital to decision-making, re-purposing and development of enterprise stock and to informing strategic town planning. It will be an invaluable source of information for potential investors and businesses in developing and growing their business or relocating to the Atlantic region.

 

* As well as identifying vacant industrial and enterprise units and Brownfield sites, the Ennis Audit also includes town centre offices and a significant number of undeveloped sites zoned for Enterprise and Light Industry in the Clare County Development Plan 2017-2023.

We were just working to live in Dublin

This is the view of Darren O’Dwyer, who recently made the move to Limerick. Building a house in Adare with his fiancé Clare, Darren has seen his commute drop to just 20 minutes. A graduate of the University of Limerick a decade before, Darren joined WP Engine as Senior Talent Advisor EMEA last year.

WP Engine opened its first Irish office in Limerick in 2016. Headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices in San Antonio TX, London and Brisbane. WP Engine is a WordPress digital experience platform, helping brands to build and deploy creative online sites every day.  Attracting key talent to Limerick was vitally important to the success of the Irish expansion of the company. The Limerick operation has grown from 8 to 30 staff already, with plans to grow to 100 over 3 years.

Limerick City has enjoyed consistently positive employment growth in recent years.  Over 15,750 jobs have been created in the city and county since 2013. The Council’s Limerick 2030 Vision: An Economic and Spatial Plan is spearheading significant regeneration of key sites in the city centre and surrounding areas.
Darren admits he wasn’t aware of how many career opportunities there were in Limerick, not just in WP Engine but also in many of the new pharma, medical devices, tech and financial services companies opening up in the region.

“People looking to move should do their research and see what value they can add to these companies, many of whom offer great benefits such as WP Engine who provide employees with training, healthcare, dental care and a pension.”

As someone who has made the move, Darren is familiar with both the challenges and benefits of moving to the region. “Knowing that we could build a home in the countryside outside Limerick and pay less on the mortgage than we were paying in rent on a two-bed apartment in Dublin was a huge factor for us,” he said.  Another significant draw for Darren was the improved quality of life he knew he could have in Limerick. “We’re able to save money and still go out more – we were never able to save in Dublin, we were just working to live.”

Finally, Darren summed up his experience of leaving Dublin to forge a new life and career in Limerick by saying “It’s been a really positive experience over the last year since moving down and I’m looking forward to many positive years ahead in Limerick.

If you come here and you’re willing to work hard then Limerick’s your oyster.”