Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre
“Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre is one of the good news stories in this area and the links available through LIT make it even more appealing for any of the tenants." - Cllr Seamus Hanafin.
The Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre, located on the LIT Tipperary Campus can be rightly regarded as one of the real success stories when it comes to providing facilities for innovative new start-up companies. And, according to Cllr Seamus Hanafin, who among others was one of the driving forces behind its creation, TCEC is perfectly placed to provide an option to others, post Covid-19.
As well as providing office accommodation space to companies, TCEC also provides a series of hotdesks in a co-working space which are available to rent for a very modest €130 per month – these self contained desks are ideal for one-person operations starting out in business; or for those who perhaps have the option of working remotely from the major urban centres but require space away from home to do so. Just think of the commuting costs which could be saved as well as the time spent on the road, or travelling by train. And, for that €130 you get top quality broadband, mentoring support from LIT, access to researchers and links into Tipperary LEO. Currently there are 8 hot desks in the co-working space available for rent.
“Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre is one of the good news stories in this area and the links available through LIT make it even more appealing for any of the tenants. There is a great atmosphere of innovation in the centre and what you have there are like minded people who are interacting with each other all the time and helping to keep the enthusiasm, the energy and the can-do attitude to the forefront. You also have the social side of things where people are maybe having a coffee with each other and that is very important too,”Cllr Hanafin said.
Cllr Seamus Hanafin
In many ways TCEC is now a victim of its success with all available office space currently under contract to 11 companies across a range of sectors from tech, health, training, comms, sustainable energy, agri, software development and community engagement. And, according to Derek Blackweir who manages the centre, the accommodation on offer is an ideal fit for companies who do not want to tie up their capital in long term rent and leasing arrangements, or in the purchase of premises.
“We have three companies who are doing second siting and that really suits their needs right now. And, we have 12 of the 20 hotdesks occupied. We have top class broadband and the centre is open to any tenant 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, if you wish to come in at 3:00pm on Christmas Day, you can do so. Access is no problem whatsoever,”Derek said.
LIT has a management role with the centre and works closely with Tipperary County Council through the Local Enterprise Office. There are a number of grants or innovation vouchers available also to the companies and these according to Derek are attractive to businesses as they represent significant cash injections at a time when they would be very welcome. And, Derek can foresee a situation in the coming months where, with unemployment likely to rise after the Covid-19 pandemic, people who were employees could become employers, as they start-up their own businesses creating jobs for themselves and hopefully others as their businesses grows. So, having space available for new companies to start up is important.
Councillor Hanafin knows a thing or two about business and the demands associated with running one – he has been running the well known family furniture business for many years. And, he has been involved in a number of local initiatives to help facilitate entrepreneurship through Thurles Chamber of Commerce and Tipperary County Council. He can see there being great demand at TCEC in the coming months too.
“You know TCEC is one of the great success stories in our area, but it is practically a well kept secret. Few enough people know what goes on up there but anyone who has been associated with the centre will tell you that is a very attractive place to work and a really positive place to start your business. I think there will be a lot of interest in the centre when Covid-19 is over and done with, because people have gotten used to all sorts of new ways of doing business from home and all of that. There are a lot of new norms now and I think that TCEC could be very attractive for people who wish to work in Thurles,” Cllr Hanafin said.
If you are thinking of starting a business, would like some advice about a business idea or are interested in one of the 8 available hot desks in the co-working space, contact Derek Blackweir by email at email@example.com and see what TCEC has to offer.