Kerry based Hub Operators expand to Limerick and Cork
The Tralee and Listowel based Coworking Hub operators HQKerry, have announced today their intention to further expand their operations outside Kerry. Having recently opened their first hub outside the county in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick, the hub operators Tom O’Leary and Ken Tobin will be partnering on new hubs in Macroom, Co. Cork and Broadford, Co. Limerick initially.
Working with Limerick County Council’s Economic Development team in ‘Innovate Limerick’ the Hub Operators also recently secured the operation of the new Workbase hub in a former vacant Bank building on Abbeyfeale’s Main Street.
Coworking Hubs provide modern affordable workspaces for office-based companies and remote workers on flexible agreements, along with key supports and services, but at very affordable all-inclusive rents. Already the largest regional coworking hub operators in Ireland, having established their first hub in Tralee in 2016, the owners of HQTralee and HQListowel have expressed their intentions to support the development of further hubs in the Munster region under their Workbase brand.
In 2019, the Economist Jim Power highlighted that the HQTralee hub was generating an Economic Impact of over €10million for the town of Tralee. Along with the ever-growing number of Technology and Consultancy based businesses operating from the hubs, there are now a substantial number of satellite companies, technology businesses and remote workers employed from their bases in Tralee, Listowel and Abbeyfeale.
Speaking about the announcement Tom O’Leary said “We have seen a dramatic change over the past two years in how we work, in particular in our approach to operating remotely. Each day we see the positive impact that our network of town centre hubs are having, especially as we actively work to attract in new jobs and growing businesses to the town centres where they have the greatest impact. Our intention now is to expand that impact to other locations.”
The founders of HQKerry are also advising other organisations nationally on the development of new regional hubs.
Tom continued “Each day I work with local community groups, town organisations and local authorities around the country. Similar issues arise no matter where you are in Regional Ireland, which include a still unresolved need to develop work spaces that can attract jobs. Hubs over the past number of years around the country have been doing an element of that, but now we are entering a new era with new challenges, and the hubs themselves will be playing a greater role.”
Minister Heather Humphreys, who officially launched the hub in Abbeyfeale, pledged earlier this year that her Department (Department of Rural and Community Development) intend to support the development of 400 hubs nationally.
Highlighting the need to re-purpose vacant properties and to drive opportunities to attract jobs, Ken Tobin said “As we have already proven that our company has the ability to develop the right type of work spaces and at the same time go out there ourselves to attract in jobs, we have regular engagement with State Agencies and Employers. Time and again they highlight to us the lack of proper building infrastructure in regional towns. Coupled with the under-supply of housing in these areas, the need is blindingly obvious to move at a much quicker pace, and that is what we are looking to try and achieve. Modern town centre office development and a shortage of housing are time and again the major obstacles to attracting companies to places like for example Tralee”
The company is actively seeking out further partnership opportunities initially in the Munster region to further expand their hubs, with community organisations, private property owners and local authorities, with a particular focus on redeveloping urban locations and attracting new jobs into town centres.
Ken continued “Right now we see a real need for an economy of scale, our plan now is to further explore partnership opportunities as well as examining investment and funding streams that can accelerate our expansion to redevelop vacant buildings or build new spaces that can become hubs. As well as our self-funded hubs in Kerry, we have already partnered with both the Public and Private sector to open our new locations. For us, the towns we operate in, and the businesses based in our hubs there’s a real benefit as more hubs open.”
For more see:
For Interviews or Further information contact:
HQCoworking Space Ltd;
HQTralee; Dominick Street;
Tralee; Co. Kerry