Cork is getting a new business innovation hub called the Republic of Work, the brainchild of the city’s start-up guru DC Cahalane, with an advisory board chaired by entrepreneur Pat Phelan.
The 15,500 sq ft Republic of Work building is located on Cork’s South Mall and according to Cahalane, it will be a home not just for start-ups but a plethora of different business types that are focused on the future of work.
The Republic of Work business innovation hub is being financed by Cahalane and Dave Ronayne as well as commercial partners including Bank of Ireland.
‘With start-up companies, over the years, you find yourself having the same discussions over and over again. Hopefully by putting them under one roof, we can create efficiencies in terms of how they learn and scale’
– DC CAHALANE
“Republic of Work is a bit of a different animal than Dogpatch Labs, the Portershed, Ludgate and the Digital Hub,” Cahalane told Siliconrepublic.com.
“Our focus is very much on the future of work and the many ways that new processes, new technologies and new ways of working are going to change it,” Cahalane said.
“We’re taking a very different approach to the space, in that it’s not specifically a space for start-ups, or even specifically for technology companies. Our focus really is on providing a great place to work, backed up by a commitment to help businesses at the space improve and take their businesses to the next level.
Cahalane said that the city of Cork has lacked a city centre-based hub for fast-growing enterprises.
“Cork was the obvious choice for our first location. As you pointed out, while we have great academic and research facilities in the city, it’s lacked a real commercial business hub – we hope that Republic of Work can fill that gap.”
A hub for fast-growth companies
Cahalane said that the advisory board chaired by Trustev’s Pat Phelan will have a specific purpose in keeping the Republic of Work up to date with best practice and new technologies.
“We don’t want to get so caught up in the running of the physical building that we get detached from what’s going on in the trenches of business,” he said.
Access to the Republic of Work hub is based on a monthly membership system with options for hotdesking, dedicated desks and corporate membership.
“We’ve had interest from some of the multinationals in Cork to use it as a city centre base; we’ve also had interest from a huge variety of company types from tech start-ups, beauty businesses, bloggers, photographers [and] PR companies as well as a large number of Dublin and Limerick companies looking for a Cork base for sales people or other regional employees.”
“Cork is a great place to do business – there’s a great community culture here of helping each other out,” said Cahalane.
“We believe that there’s a limiting factor of a lack of a physical space where collaboration can happen daily. Too much of the Cork business community is just spread thinly across the city.
“With Republic of Work, we’re going to accelerate that culture by giving it a physical home; somewhere where all kinds of businesses and people can interact on a daily basis, sharing their needs and problems and hopefully, collectively, coming out stronger.
“With start-up companies, over the years, you find yourself having the same discussions over and over again. Hopefully by putting them under one roof, we can create efficiencies in terms of how they learn and scale.”
Cahalane said that the space won’t serve as an accelerator or incubator, but could potentially host such enterprises as members.
“A lot of the initial interested companies aren’t start-ups at all; they’re established businesses looking to take their businesses to the next level. We’re heavily focused on creating an environment for growth and change.
“While we’re not actively planning to run our own incubator/accelerator programmes, we will run weekly and monthly workshops on a wide variety of business topics. We’ve also been approached by a number of accelerator programmes about giving them a home and facilities, and we’re in active discussions with them.”
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