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This initiative seeks to bring about more balanced regional development, economic growth to support the projected growth in population and public spaces and infrastructure that complements the quality of life on offer along the Atlantic Coast.

The €1m AEC Enterprise Hubs Project seeks to create a network of hubs from Donegal to Kerry. This project is a national pilot, which will classify the facilities offered by enterprise hubs, co-working spaces, and other facilities that cater for entrepreneurs, employers and employees. To date, more than 100 hubs have been identified.

AEC Hubs Project

The AEC Enterprise Hubs Network is a three-year project to create an interconnected community network from over 100 hubs identified as either operating or in development, in the AEC region.

The Enterprise Hubs Project will be coordinated by the Western Development Commission (WDC) to deliver on the following key areas:

  • Establish a community network between the hubs identified in the region
  • Provide a suite of back office ICT infrastructure including an online booking engine
  • Rollout of a Hub Improvement Plan
  • Promotion and Branding
  • Training and Business Development
  • Promotion of Remote Working*

* Remote Working is a form of organising and performing work which could be carried out at the employer’s premises but is carried out in a hub or home on a regular basis

Why is this project happening?

The AEC Enterprise Hubs Network as scoped has the potential to deliver significant achievements under all three of the key pillars of the wider AEC Initiative, developing connectivity, promoting innovation and supporting the growth of a robust and diverse economy in the region.

The WDC in its role as coordinator of the Enterprise Hubs Project has conducted extensive research which indicates that many hubs in the AEC region would benefit from becoming part of a larger hub ecosystem for the following reasons:

  • Low occupancy rates in a significant number of hubs
  • No centralised ICT systems
  • Limited use of collaboration technology
  • Limited capacity or strategy to market or promote hubs
  • Access to funding
  • Establishment of best practise in service provision

Participation in a hub network is a proven driver for hub development; it leads to increased hub occupancy and cross pollination of ideas which drives business development in communities across the region.

What will the enterprise hubs project do?

The Enterprise Hubs project will establish a network from the 101 hubs in the region. It will achieve this through a strategy which will focus on three pillars

  • Infrastructure
  • Community Network
  • Marketing and Promotion

Partnership and collaboration

The development of a hub network has the potential to bring significant economic value to the AEC. The WDC is ideally positioned to coordinate this project in conjunction with the Department of Community and Rural Development and the AEC Officer Network. The WDC already has a team in place and an initial €1 million of funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund, but success will depend on establishing strong partnerships and collaborative relationships.