Two entrepreneurs have launched a business innovation hub in Cork City which they hope will help support the creation of up to 100 jobs over the next 18 months.
Tech expert DC Cahalane, and global marine business boss Dave Ronayne plan to open their Republic of Work facility at 12 South Mall early next month.
Mr Cahalane, its chief executive, said they were proud to unveil the Bank of Ireland-supported initiative, the largest of its kind in the region, in their home city.
“Growing up, the South Mall was always the heart of Cork’s business community and we’re delighted that we can now be a part of the vibrant city centre business community and, in our own small way, help return the South Mall back to its rightful status as the centre of the Cork business community,” he said.
Mr Cahalane, a start-up expert with over 15 years’ experience working with tech and start-up businesses, is the former vice-president for growth and marketing at Cork firm www.Teamwork.com and was former chief marketing officer at the online fraud-fighting firm Trustev.
Mr Ronayne is the chief executive of Irish Mainport Holdings, a global marine business which oversees onshore and offshore services ranging from exploration support, salvage, towage, bunkering, stevedoring, warehouse, and base management. He is also Ibec’s regional president for Cork.
Pat Phelan, a serial tech entrepreneur who founded Trustev and oversaw its sale to TransUnion for €44m in 2015 and who last year helped launch a €25m fund to help Irish companies scale globally, is the chairman of the new hub’s advisory board, which also includes Dan and Linda Kiely, founders of Cork-based global outsourcing giant VoxPro.
The 15,500 sq ft hub will feature an ‘airport lounge-style’ business lounge for casual meetings and networking, a meetings and events space, and three WorkHub co-working areas with 160 desks available on a 30-day, no-contract basis.
It has three boardrooms, a meeting space for 100 people, two classrooms, and a dedicated innovation centre for corporate off-site meetings and brainstorming sessions.
The building is designed for use by businesses at all scales — from solopreneurs, start-ups, SMEs, and multinationals — across all sectors.
It will operate on a monthly membership model, with various membership plans on offer.
Members will enjoy free access to business software, special events, and exclusive access to industry experts, through workshops, office hours, and business coaching sessions.
“Our focus goes far beyond just putting a roof over our members’ heads,” said Mr Cahalane.
“We’re committed to their success through a unique blend of community networking, innovation training and providing access to the latest technology and work practices. We want to expose our members to global best practice around the future of work and help them take their businesses to the next level.”
He said he hopes the facility will provide larger and more established companies with the ideal off-site location for meetings, interviews, with temporary office overflow space, or for strategic planning sessions.
Bank of Ireland’s head of innovation, Dave Tighe, said they have seen renewed business confidence from Cork-based companies.
Republic of Work is due to open next month, and is taking membership queries via www.republicofwork.com
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