NACEC is recruiting a National Hub Network Manager


NACEC is recruiting a

National Hub Network Manager

The National Association of Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC) is the national representative organisation for community enterprise centres and coworking hubs in Ireland. Across over 120  communities, NACEC  supports, promotes and develops the regional enterprise environment as they:

  • lead and enable enterprise revitalisation through creative and innovative economic development solutions,
  • provide a powerhouse of entrepreneurial activity and job creation in their area,
  • deliver positive long-term sustainable impacts on regional economic and social prosperity.

The new National Hub Network Manager will work alongside all local and regional enterprise hub managers, community, social and enterprise development leaders, local & national government, state agencies and academia to deliver balanced, sustainable and transformational change, growth and future proofing of the enterprise centre and coworking hub business model in Ireland to enable the sector to continue to accelerate economic recovery in all regions of the country by delivering on the potential of local and regional enterprise strengths.

About the Role

The National Hub Network Manager will lead the delivery of NACEC’s Strategic Plan for the enterprise hub sector in Ireland, which was launched with the support of Minister Heather Humphreys in October 2019, and will work closely with the NACEC Board of Directors and local & national stakeholders / partners to support communities and regions with the impact and recovery challenges and opportunities presented by Covid-19.


As remote / flexible working and blended learning become ever more constant in our daily lives and routines it is important that the national hub infrastructure is ready to facilitate these new hybrid models by providing clean, safe and professionally managed services and facilities that can meet the requirements of a varied client base which might include Startups, SMEs, staff and executives from large Corporates or MNCs as well as public sector employees, social enterprises and education / training providers. Hubs need to be connected, flexible, highly adaptable and an important driver and facilitator of community and regional economic, enterprise and ecosystem development where structured learning, collaboration, innovation, diversity, inclusion and sustainability are core values that all stakeholders can embrace.

Key Responsibilities (but not limited to):

  • Managing, overseeing and directing all aspects of NACEC operations including strategy implementation, finance, memberships, training, marketing, events (and all related activities), and facilitate the operation of key NACEC Strategic Advisory Boards/Committees as required,
  • Developing strong, productive and collaborative working relationships with members, their clients, hub managers, community and ecosystem development leaders and all other relevant external stakeholders from public, private, educational/training, community and social enterprise sectors to ensure that the vision and objectives of the organisation are delivered,
  • Supporting, promoting and developing a culture of innovation, collaboration & entrepreneurship within the organisation and across Ireland’s community and regional enterprise sector,
  • Exploring and securing additional sources of government and/or EU funding and finding new income generation opportunities for NACEC, its members and its clients,
  • Designing and leading effective interventions to increase the number and quality of connections, innovations, collaborations and partnerships among network members and other relevant national and international stakeholders in order to maximise economic impact and social prosperity,
  • Developing membership models further, matching the existing models with new audiences through different value propositions that benefit, members, communities, regions and Ireland,
  • Ideating, strategizing and executing on the internal and external communications of NACEC,
  • Initiating and executing creative and innovative activities, events  and programmes to engage, support and develop Ireland’s community and regional enterprise sector,
  • Working to ensure best practice Governance in line with the Good Governance code is achieved in the operation and growth of NACEC – Ireland’s Enterprise Hub Network,

Key Skills & Experience:

  • A QQI level 8 Degree in Business, Management or a related discipline is essential,
  • Minimum 5 years professional and relevant industry/sector experience is essential,
  • Excellent IT, digital media, presentation, reporting, business & financial planning skills and experience is essential,
  • Ability, and a proven track record, in planning, promoting and delivering major local, regional and national projects, events and initiatives that support and promote economic and enterprise development, multi-sectoral and multi-regional clustering, sustainability and social prosperity,
  • Ability to strategically and tactically manage, lead and negotiate with large teams, groups, organisations and networks in order to deliver on the organisations vision and objectives,
  • Ability to connect, lead, motivate and inspire people both online and offline,
  • Strong PR, marketing and digital content creation skills and experience,
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Full clean ‘B’ driving licence is essential for this role.

Key Conditions:

Location: Home, Hub & HQ

Contract Type: Full-time & Flexible

Contract Duration: 3 Year fixed term contract subject to 11 month probationary period

Reporting Structure: Reporting directly to the Board of Directors of NACEC clg.

Deadline for Applications: 19th October 2020

How To Apply: Email a CV and Cover Letter to [email protected]

(Only CVs and Cover Letters submitted directly to [email protected] will be considered or accepted)

Click Here to View or Download a PDF of this Advert / Job Spec

This position is being part-funded under the governments

Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) which is administered by

 NACEC is an equal opportunities employer.

New action plan aims to drive recovery


Focus on practical solutions includes resourcing of regional clusters, investment in digitisation and embracing sustainable practices

NACEC has set out an ambitious framework for a post-coronavirus recovery as community enterprise centres around the country begin to reopen following months of prolonged uncertainty.

The association’s National Impact + Recovery Action Plan plots a future that will see enterprise and co-working hubs positioned to provide professional working environments for a new army of remote workers seeking a blended approach to employment in the months and years ahead.

The newly published blueprint follows on from the comprehensive NACEC Impact + Recovery Survey published in May which laid bare the enormous disruption and devastating consequences caused to regional enterprise centres and co-working hubs by the Covid-19 shutdown.

But striking a more positive note, the research also highlighted the many opportunities presented for centres to provide responsive solutions to Irish businesses, large and small, particularly in the area of remote and flexible working.

The country’s enterprise hubs believe they can facilitate not only SME tenants in the future but potentially also large corporate and multinational firms, providing long-term solutions beyond the pandemic for businesses keen to support a more agile and flexible workforce in the years ahead.

The new National Impact + Recovery Action Plan has initiated 14 stimulus actions, grouped under five broad themes, which the association believes can revitalise enterprise centres and hubs, equipping them as changemakers in the new post-Covid world.

Embracing The Blend: The plan calls for dedicated support funding for the creation of enterprise centre cluster networks in each region, reducing duplications of marketing effort and accelerating technology advancement through the co-ordination of regional digitised booking systems.

Skills and talent mapping is considered vital and regional clusters will be encouraged to engage with local authorities, Regional Skills Fora, Enterprise Ireland and regional educators to undertake and update skills and talent mapping.

A think-tank of key players in remote and blended co-working will be brought together to devise policies on future-of-work possibilities and introducing the concept into both public and corporate consciousness.

A major requirement underpinning the entire initiative will be progressing a quality standards framework for enterprise centres in conjunction with the NSAI, Enterprise Ireland and others, resulting in an enterprise hub classification system.

Digitisation: Future-proofing digital capacity for enterprise centres is key to survival. With this in mind, a survey into enterprise centre digitisation and broadband connectivity is to be undertaken which will benchmark centres under headings which include wi-fi access, connectivity and security.

Training facilities and technology will be updated and training offerings digitised through migrating classroom training programmes to blended training programme delivery formats. Furthermore, centres will help overcome the digital divide by providing learning facilities for college students, digital education and training.

Specific opportunities have been highlighted for centres to provide regional pre-acceleration programmes, potentially unlocking the learning from the NDRC running acceleration programmes in the Portershed and Arc Labs.

There is also a role for centres to build on the work of partnerships with the self-employed and social enterprise sector.

Climate Action: The development of a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) charter is envisaged to which each centre or hub will commit with a view to culture change and prioritising sustainability.

The delivery of an enterprise centre climate change programme is a further goal to mitigate future increases in operating and energy costs. A pilot programme for a cohort of centres will be developed as well as a practical guide for centres to help embed a healthier outlook.

Focus on Clusters: A Cluster Development Plan will be developed for each of the country’s six clusters with enterprise centre representation. The action plan seeks to kickstart building the capacity of clusters focused on regional recovery and trade, increased innovation, knowledge transfer and new value chains.

Financial Stimulus: While individual enterprise centres are struggling to maintain their viability in the face of the disruption caused by the pandemic, they continue to support thousands of entrepreneurs in navigating the crisis.

Enterprise hubs are positioned to provide both leadership and responsive solutions in safe working facilities, blended co-working and remote working facilities, social enterprise solutions and reskilling programmes; however, it is clear there is a need for direct financial supports to underpin survival and growth.

The new €12m fund launched by Enterprise Ireland and the Dept of Business, Enterprise & Innovation to ensure the future viability of the enterprise centre sector is a welcome development. For more information on the fund or to apply please CLICK HERE

Chairperson of NACEC, Gary O’Meara, said the overarching theme of the action plan is to future-proof the enterprise centre sector as it navigates change.

“Across Ireland, enterprise centres and hubs are working hard to devise tangible solutions that will safely and strategically get our centres back to work, and back to what we do best: enabling businesses, creating connected environments for working and co-working and acting as powerhouses of regional enterprise activity and job creation,” he said.

He added that centres and hubs are ideally positioned to provide a new blend of working, dubbed ‘Hub-Home-HQ’.

“For countless businesses, remote working practices will be part of their new normal – and regional hubs are positioned to provide structured, well-connected, professional working environments that are potentially less expensive than the equivalent area of office space.

“But this is not just about space – the creation of regional ecosystems and enterprise clusters that innovate quickly is as vital as premium workspaces,” Mr O’Meara said. “Covid-19 offers a chance to reset and reshape enterprise centres in a more sustainable way.”

Following the publication of May’s survey findings – which showed that almost 88% of centres reported a drop in income of between 21% and 80% and revealed that one-third of centres had seen tenants closing their businesses permanently – NACEC initiated a process of engagement with key stakeholders to focus on practical solutions to drive recovery.

The National Enterprise Centres / Hubs Impact + Recovery Action Plan is the result of those consultations.

Enterprise Centres / Hubs Covid-19 Impact & Recovery SURVEY – Click Here

Enterprise Centres / Hubs Covid-19 Impact & Recovery ACTION PLAN – Click Here


NACEC launches findings of its recent Enterprise Centre / Hubs Covid19 Impact and Recovery Survey



Thousands of empty places in remote working hubs available to assist multinationals, Irish SMEs and start-ups throughout smaller towns and rural Ireland post-pandemic.

Monday 18th May 2020

The most worrying business barometer snapshot to date into the State’s SME sector has emerged with the latest national business survey to emerge which shows the alarmingly troubled state of hundreds of small businesses in every county which have closed permanently or temporarily. The results show that while 84% of enterprise centres and remote working hubs have tenant business who have closed temporarily due to the pandemic, a worrying 33% have tenants who have shut down permanently according to the nationwide survey carried for the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC) which promotes, supports and develops the community and regional enterprise sector.

However on a more optimistic note NACEC, which directly supported 1,800 businesses employing 5,500 people before the pandemic, found that their member enterprise centres, along with other hubs operating in the sector, could potentially have in excess of 10,000 vacant places for use in the form of hot desks, remote working spaces, digital labs, maker spaces, fab labs, kitchens and wet labs which can help generate a new generation of lean start-up companies and existing rural SMEs as well as be a significant and attractive resource for multinationals and the civil service to allow increased remote working opportunities for their employees.

NACEC have calculated it would take a dedicated fund of just €5m investment in the sector to help enterprise centres and co-working hubs to adapt their facilities / services to get their tenants / external clients back to work, and find more creative ways to support the communities they serve e.g. remote working for the wider community and deliver relevant services to their viable tenants / clients.

The survey also found that two-thirds of all centres are under pressure to provide tenant financial relief and worryingly one in seven still have inadequate broadband in place to enable remote working. Other key findings of the survey include the following as a result of the pandemic;

  • 1 in 3 centres have tenants that have closed permanently (33%)
  • Over 4 in 5 centres have tenants that have temporarily closed (84%)
  • Nearly 5 in 7 centres have unused co-working facilities (68%)
  • 98% of centres have seen a decline in revenue with a quarter suffering a drop of between 50-80% in revenues
  • 92% have a decrease in occupancy

BUT optimistically;

  • 63% of centres see opportunities to increase parts of their operation, increase co-working capacity due to more people;
    • Experiencing working from home as being less productive and socially isolating
    • Frustrated with broadband at home
  • 83% of respondent centres still managed to go above and beyond their core role during COVID-19 by;
    • Providing free facilities access to community, voluntary and business groups to support the production of PPE and foodbank services
    • Providing free peer support, mentoring and online training for business and community organisations.

Gary O’Meara, Chairman of NACEC (and CEO of Meath Enterprise) said “We are ready to do our bit in assisting the country and its regions to support Irish business and create jobs post-pandemic. The current crisis has shown us that flexible working will rise in popularity and enterprise centres and hubs have already been to the fore in providing innovative and low threshold access to time-share facilities and office space as part of a post-COVID-19 restart and acceleration programme. Through combining access to space and equipment with specialist training and development programmes, they could support start-ups and SMEs with low-cost entrepreneurship business models and work more closely with remote-friendly corporates.”

“The crisis has brought remote working into the mainstream, and it increasingly accepted as a realistic proposition by many employers and employees who previously may not have been open to the workability of remote as a viable alternative. We see our case and offer strengthened in that regard. We envisage co-working will increase as businesses downsize to reduce costs.  With home working establishing itself, we foresee city-based companies providing budgets for remote workers to find a desk close to home. However a small number of hubs are struggling to succeed and need financial support to offset the current drop in incomes,” he said.


Our survey was conducted in the period 12th – 16th May 2020 and was completed by 87 representatives of enterprise centres/hubs all across Ireland.

Survey link:

Our national research study spans new and existing enterprise/technology centres, food/digital hubs, co-working / remote working hubs, college/university incubators in Ireland regardless of whether they are private, public (DACs and university hubs) or community-owned (CLGs), not-for-profits, social enterprises or NACEC members. The research received the active co-operation of key vested parties including:

Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation

Enterprise Ireland + Local Enterprise Offices

Department of Rural & Community Development

Local Development Companies

Department of Housing Planning and Local Government

Local Authority

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Western Development Commission

Teagasc – Agriculture & Food Development Authority

Atlantic Economic Corridor – AEC

Regional Enterprise Plan

Regional Skills Fora

National Standards Authority of Ireland – NSAI

Tech Ireland

Irish Research & Development Group – IRDG

Science Foundation Ireland – SFI

Telecommunications Software & Systems Group – TSSG


Irish Business & Employers Confederation – IBEC

Small Firms Association – SFI

Chambers Ireland

Grow Remote

Irish Rural Link

Scale Ireland


Enterprise centres not only generate a steady flow of new businesses (with above-average job and wealth creation potential in a region), they provide the facilities for future of work initiatives such as remote working and redeployment. Launched in late October 2019, the National Association for Community Enterprise Centres Strategic Plan set a primary benchmark for the impact of community enterprise centres. At that time, NACEC’s 120 members were supporting over 5,500 jobs in over 1,800 tenant businesses throughout the regions, with a wages contribution from these jobs put at €247.5 million per annum. Back then, our outlook was one of resilience in the face of Brexit, and 63% of centres had substantial capital investment or growth plans within the next two years, including the development of digital and co-working hubs.

Enterprise Centres are proven engines of entrepreneurship. Emerging in Ireland  from the late 1970s, typically in areas of low employment and economic opportunity, they were founded through two approaches: – • Reactive approach – in response to poor local economic performance or specific incidents, e.g. loss of major employers with a mission and solutions to stimulate job growth • Proactive approach – in response to strengths and opportunities for regeneration and sector specialisation that are specific to their area

Entrepreneurship hubs, co-works, incubators and more, enterprise centres are best known for their provision of physical workspace to new and emerging businesses. Yet, enterprise centres are also prolific providers of formal and informal vocational education and provide community-based space to convene, cocreate and network.  They offer tenants, early-stage entrepreneurs’ and their communities access to structured enterprise and social innovation training courses and enable networking and supportive environments which help individuals establish and develop their businesses. Moreover, they work hard to subsidise all of the above and deliver equitable regional development. They have long been identified as valuable sources of business support, especially in areas of low employment or low economic opportunity. They can best be judged for their ability to build entrepreneurial communities or ecosystems.

Click here to view the full survey report

For more information email [email protected]

NACEC works with UK and European Partners on Smart-Up Project

NACEC works with UK and European Partners on Smart-Up Project.

Smart-up is an EU Erasmus+ Project bringing together partners and experts from the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Ireland.

The project, which is being led by the National Enterprise Network in the UK, aims to facilitate early stage entrepreneurs and established SME owner-managers with the knowledge and skills needed to identify and interpret early warning signals of business crisis, and to take timely, corrective actions, thereby facilitating growth, or survival, in unpredictable or adverse situations.

Project Partners –

Small and medium enterprises have undisputed significance in driving Europe’s economic growth, accounting for 85% of new jobs and 66% of private sector employment. As such, the quality and relevance of the vocational entrepreneurship education provided for new and existing entrepreneurs plays a key role in achieving the 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Business failure is increasingly recognised as an important topic within enterprise education and for good reason: more than half of European businesses will not survive past the 5-year mark. Yet, failure is accepted by many as a normal feature of the macroeconomic and the focus has been put strongly on helping entrepreneurs learn from failure, with a view to starting over from scratch. While important, this approach overlooks the huge economic, societal and personal consequences of business failure: entrepreneurs pay a high cost in lost investment and income, and in self-esteem and career trajectory, not to mention the knock-on effects of unemployment for others.

Although current SME business failure rates are almost back to pre-recession levels, our knowledge of macroeconomic cycles instructs us to use this time to prepare for the next recession. In addition, Brexit presents one of the most significant challenges to small businesses not only in the UK but to main trading partners within the EU: Germany, Netherlands, Ireland and Spain. For these reasons, it is more important than ever to provide emerging and established businesses with the skills needed to weather the turbulence.

To help remedy this situation, Smart up will provide early stage entrepreneurs and established SME owner-managers with the knowledge and skills needed to identify and interpret early warning signals of business crisis, and to take timely, corrective actions, thereby facilitating growth, or survival, in unpredictable or adverse situations.

EARLY STAGE INTERVENTION FRAMEWORK. Developed in collaboration with our HE partner, this comprehensive but accessible digital document will share up-to-date knowledge on financial and nonfinancial Early Warning Signals of business crisis, will present detection and intervention opportunities.

SMART UP CURRICULUM AND OERs. Including a curriculum, learning objectives, lesson plans, assessment guides, and access to a variety of original teaching content in digital format.

SMART UP ONLINE COURSE. Based on the OERs, this training course will be optimized for computers, tablets and smartphones.

Our main Participants are early stage entrepreneurs and established SME owner-managers providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to identify and interpret early warning signals of business crisis, and to take timely, corrective actions, thereby facilitating growth, or survival, in unpredictable or adverse situations.

As tangible results, we expect;

  • Update the professional knowledge and skills of 250+ business advisors in 180 enterprise support organizations, and 30 VET and business policy makers by creating and disseminating the EarlyStage Intervention Framework (IO1) and providing innovative digital tools to teach it (IO2, IO3).
  • Empower 30+ trainers from 20 enterprise support organizations to begin teaching this topic to earlystage entrepreneurs using the Smart up Curriculum and OERS (IO2).
  • Enable 220+ entrepreneurs to develop Early Stage Intervention skills and apply them within their current business ventures by making the training available in an online course (IO3).

On completion the project will have facilitated the increase in the number of advisors incorporating early stage warning signals of business crisis and intervention strategies to mitigate risk into their training programmes and becoming more digitally competent in using digital technologies. By improving the skills and attitudes of business advisors we will impact not only the effectiveness of entrepreneurship training to individual trainees and groups, but be able to create waves of change regarding entrepreneurship teaching in VET as a whole.

At national level the project will impact on the entrepreneurship VET sector by showing how it can and must adjust its provision to reflect that fact that today’s entrepreneurs and SMEs must have improved skills to grow and survive even when the economic context is turbulent or uncertain.

At international level, the project will impact positively on the ongoing work of EU bodies to develop robust yet practical frameworks for competence development especially in the field of entrepreneurship. The EntreComp, DigComp, DigCompOrg and DigCompEdu frameworks will be reference points throughout the project helping us understand how to provide more structure and transparency in the training we provide.

For more information please visit