A new “enterprise hub” is to be set up in Cork under a public private partnership initiative to attract hi-tech companies into the city centre.
City manager Tim Lucey said the city council will work to eliminate some of the “variables” that discourage new businesses from occupying vacant space in the city, including:
* offering rates discounts;
* locking-down costs;
* and working with car park owners to strike parking deals for prospective hub tenants.
Details of the €200,000 Cork Enterprise Hub project were unveiled to councillors this week.
It will see the city council teaming up with the private sector to develop a 5,000sqft “hub” or enterprise centre to provide office space.
The cost of developing the hub will be split 50/50 up to a maximum €100,000 contribution from the city.
Fit-out costs beyond that will be borne by the owner and/or tenant.
Tenants will benefit from a sliding scale of commercial rates relief, front loaded for the first two of a five-year relief period.
The city will also split the costs of providing front-of- house admin or secretarial staff for the first two years.
The city will then work the incubation and innovation centres at University College Cork (UCC) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), and agencies like the City Enterprise Board to identify start-up firms seeking to expand beyond the incubation units. They will then be offered office space in the enterprise centre.
“This is not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about working with UCC and CIT and their existing facilities to foster an environment of enterprise,” Mr Lucey said.
The project is at an early stage and exact details of how the scheme will work have to be finalised.
Pat Ledwidge, director of services in the council’s Strategic Planning and Economic Development Directorate, said he hopes to advertise for expressions of interest from the owners of city centre buildings.
He will bring a detailed report back to council in due course.
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