Simon Coveney was speaking at the official opening yesterday of COwoRK City, a 4,500sq ft office space developed on Cork City Council’s City Hall campus.
#Coworkcity is a co-working space at city hall which allows start-up companies to develop before moving to other locations when they need to scale up. It was officially launched this morning by @corkcitycouncil @mickfinn01 @simoncoveney @Loc_Enterprise pic.twitter.com/mARIDFJG5w— Fiona Corcoran (@fiona96fmnews) June 29, 2018
Its first clients include CorkBIC’s International Security Accelerator Programme, the Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Altitude Analytics, which builds artificially intelligent (AI) software, and Altada, a specialised AI software firm which helps data rich clients “cleanse and organise” their data infrastructure to ensure GDPR compliance.
Altada co-founder and CEO Alan Beechinor said they have grown rapidly from a team of seven to 27 in just six months, have landed key contracts with large clients across Europe, and have opened offices in France and New York.
“We are data scientists, and this facility, particularly with its access to mentoring and supports, has helped position us in the market. This is now Altada HQ,” said Mr Beechinor.
Pádraig Vallely, business innovation manager with the €50m Social Innovation Fund, said the office space will help them work with and scale high-potential projects.
“There is a great vibe about here. There is a lot going on in the city and we’re delighted to be part of it,” he said.
Backed by the city council and the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Cork City initiative, fledgeling companies, funded by LEO Cork City, can develop their business idea in the co-working space before moving when they need to scale up.
Lord Mayor Mick Finn said that, apart from having modern office space, the start-ups will also have access to onsite mentoring and support from the LEO Cork City.
“This project is about nurturing micro businesses which we hope, in time, will create jobs and add to the entrepreneurial diversity of the city,” he said.
The co-working space will have desk space for more than 36 companies, giving them access to meeting rooms and conference facilities. The space can also host bootcamps and workshops.
City Council chief executive Ann Doherty said the development is a key part of the council’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy.
“Start-ups have made it known that they would rather be based in the city centre,” said Ms Doherty. “This project is about building upon and complementing a number of fantastic co-working spaces in the city centre, such as Republic of Work, Plus10, and BoI Workbench, and improving and strengthening the burgeoning innovation eco-system in Cork.”
The furniture and reception area were designed by Imago, a company which was supported by LEO Cork City more than 16 years ago.
The plants in the space are provided by Greenveldt, another company backed by the LEO 14 years ago.