An online country-wide network of self-employed professionals in disciplines from accountancy to web design using broadband technologies is to be made available to Irish businesses.
The new service, based out of Monaghan called Val.ie and led by IT entrepreneur Kevin Donohue, will promote a wide range of professionals including IT and marketing consultants, accountants, project managers, proof readers, web designers and administrators who have at least five years’ experience.
A spokesman for Val.ie said the purpose of the service is two-fold. “Firstly it provides work for people who are self-employed and then it provides expertise for businesses or other self-employed professionals that need assistance.”
Countrywide the network already has 20 professionals available for assignments spread across 30 different industry sectors.
The Monaghan operation will employ three people who will coordinate the various professionals and ensure expectations are met and satisfied. “The professionals would be senior people in their own right but we would have a system of checks and balances in place to ensure good standards.
“As broadband becomes more pervasive and people seek a better work-life balance we believe services like Val.ie will be attractive for professionals and businesses. It’s a quirky idea that will snowball pretty quickly,” the spokesman said.
The virtual assistant (VA) industry took off in the US in 1997 and is fast becoming a preferred work practice there. The trend is predicted to expand rapidly in Europe in the next 10 years, aided and abetted by the spread of broadband, increasing commute times and the rising cost of childcare.
These factors, says founder Kevin Donohue, are driving more people into choosing to set up their own companies and work from home.
“All of the indications are that people are looking to improve their work life balance and by setting up their own businesses and joining the Val.ie network, virtual assistants have the flexibility to organise their schedules to work on client projects of their choice,” Donohue said.
By John Kennedy