HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL AT CEAI
Dear Community & Colleagues,
Welcome to our first Newsletter of 2023.
As we look ahead to 2023 we are excited by our future – and if the growing impact of the Association is anything to go by, we are confident that 2023 will be the best one yet for our community.
As you know, CEAI acts on behalf of the enterprise centre and enterprise hub community across Ireland – aligned with and supported by Enterprise Ireland – and we are dedicated to maximising opportunity and growth for our community.
This latest newsletter includes a look back at 2022 with updates on various projects and initiatives underway as well as featuring some of the key highlights from the past year. With limited resources, the quantity and quality of the projects, initiatives, services and supports being delivered into the community is astounding and we are incredibly proud of where CEAI has come from and where we are going!
As an Association that has close to 30 years of knowledge, insights, skills and embedded legacy, we remain committed to investing in the future of the locations we represent. We can confidently say that now is a very exciting time for CEAI and we are certain 2023 will bring more good news for the CEAI Community … so stay tuned for more to come.
Gary O Meara
2022 was an incredible year for CEAI …
Continuing the developmental work on the QHubs Quality and Innovation Management Programme ● Securing funding for a range of projects (more on that later) which our members have directly benefitted from ● Launching the inaugural Champion Changemakers Programme ● Appointing an Advisory Group and commencing work on the development of a competency framework for personnel employed across the National Hub Network ● Developing a collaborative relationship with Skillnet Ireland and the SFA to deliver management training across the Network ● Developing a bespoke training programme for key personnel from the public sector within the Network ● Successfully completing of two Erasmus Plus funded projects ● Sharing the stage at the National Hub Summit ● And finally, representing the enterprise centre and hub sector to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD at the UK Ireland Business Leaders Dinner.
… and these are just some of the key moments when we look back on 2022 …
The development of the QHubs Quality and Innovation Management Programme continues to progress with the Diagnostic Tool fully developed and tested across approximately 10% of enterprise centres and hubs. Now, that testing of the Diagnostic is complete, we are facilitating a trial onboarding to the Programme across the Midlands Network of Coworking Facilities MNCF.
Once this onboarding process is complete and assessed, the national rollout of the Programme is planned for Q2, 2023. This work would not be possible without the ongoing oversight, support and input from the QHubs National Steering Group.
The QHubs Programme will become the worlds’ only Quality and Innovation Management Programme for centres and hubs and as a member of the Programme, centres and hubs will be part of a pioneering initiative – with no other country in the world offering a national Programme specifically designed to drive the sustainability, ambition and the long term growth potential of centres and hubs.
Pictured above are representatives of the QHubs National Steering Group discussing the importance of the QHubs Programme and how the Programme will contribute to balanced and sustainable regional economic development, job creation and social prosperity across Ireland by positioning centres and hubs as key contributors to ecosystem capabilities May 19th, 2022
L to R: ● Denis Curran, Head of Regions, Property and Enterprise Development at IDA Ireland ● Geraldine Larkin, Chief Executive at the National Standards Authority of Ireland NSAI ● Geraldine Crean, Assistant Principal, Regional Development and Innovation Unit, Department of Rural and Community Development ● Colm O Neill, Assistant Principal, Regional Enterprise Plans and Initiatives Unit, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment ● Carol Gibbons, Head of Regions and Local Enterprise at Enterprise Ireland.
The Inaugural Champion Changemakers Programme
With funding support from the Awareness Raising Initiatives for Social Enterprise ARISE Fund, CEAI developed and delivered a new community-driven social innovation Programme for Ireland.
A series of regional hackathons took place in member locations in September 2022 when aspiring social entrepreneurs took part in workshops and collaborated with mentors including Gary Fox, Cllr. Yemi Adenuga, Shane Brett and Leo Moran to turn their idea into a social enterprise. Each idea was categorised under one of three themes, Environmental and Climate Action, Economic Inequality or Human Wellbeing. Shortlisted ideas were then presented at a National PitchFest hosted by Innovate Communities in October.
The standard of the ideas and quality of the pitches from those shortlisted meant the judges had an extremely hard decision to make when choosing the overall 2022 Champion Changemakers. In the end, Shamrock Squad Adventures from RDI Hub and Dingle Hub were announced as the overall for 2022, receiving a Bursary Award – mentoring supports, training, coaching, professional services advisory support along with hardware and software kit – valued at €10,000.
Pictured on the Champion Changemakers National PitchFest Day left above are ● MC Chris Gordon, CEO, Irish Social Network ● Sarah Daly, Executive Director & Board Member CEAI ● Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager, CEAI ● Host Fiona Descoteaux, CEO Innovate Communities ● Gary O Meara, CEO, Meath Enterprise & Chairperson, CEAI.
Pictured right above are ● Alina Barone and ● Vika Gailite, Co-Founders of Shamrock Squad Adventures and Winners of the Inaugural Champion Changemakers Bursary.
The Training, Skills and Competency Framework for the National Hub Network
M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet, in cooperation with Trainers’ Learning Skillnet secured funding on behalf of CEAI for the research and development of a Training, Skills and Competency Framework for personnel employed across the National Network.
This project, supported by Skillnet Ireland, with industry insights and expertise from Drogheda and District Chamber and the Learning and Development Institute LDI (formally IITD) aims to identify current skills and knowledge gaps within the role of the Manager and Hub employees, with the long term objective of developing an educational programme to build capability, growth, and ambition across the Network.
Damien English, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment marking the funding announcement said: “It has never been more important to build supportive environments for our people and our enterprises to flourish, so the announcement of funding to identify the future skills and education needs of the national hubs network is very encouraging. Our hubs are amazing places for businesses to start up, scale and grow, and they also offer great places for people to co-work and to work remotely from. I’m delighted to see CEAI lead this very important work with Drogheda Chamber and Trainers’ Learning Skillnet to ensure the right skills will be in place to deliver an excellent and consistent hub and enterprise centre experience for all users.”
Pictured L to R above ● Robert Murray, Drogheda Chamber President on behalf of M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet ● Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager, CEAI ● Minister Damien English TD, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail ● Gary O Meara, CEO, Meath Enterprise & Chairperson, CEAI ● Carol Gibbons, Head of Regions & Local Enterprise, Enterprise Ireland.
Climate Change Adaptation Supports for CEAI Community Members
CEAI successfully secured funding under the Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme in 2021 to develop a Sustainability Toolkit for our Community. This Sustainability Toolkit will support enterprise centres and hubs understand and assess where they are on their sustainability journey and then determine the most effective short- and long-term goals which should be put in place to introduce positive change.
Have successfully developed, trialled, and tested the Toolkit we demonstrated it to an invited audience last December. As a next step, we have begun to set up A Community of Practice with access to the Toolkit as well as a range of support resources for 2023.
We were also successful in our application to The Wheel Training Links Network Programme which has funded us to develop a Training Programme for members who volunteered their involvement when making the funding application. 14 locations will be part of this SHubs Training Programme – a custom-designed Programme for centres and hubs to include custom mentoring – which will be rolled out in the first half of this year.
Pictured left above are ● Tanya Fitzgerald, Sustainable Futures Enterprise Liaison Officer, Environmental Research Institute, UCC ● Hugh O’Reilly, Director of Business Development, The Wheel ● Peter Walsh, Manager, Brookpark Enterprise Centre, Dunmanway, Co Cork ● Dr Paul Bolger, Manager, Environmental Research Institute, UCC ● Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager, CEAI pictured at the launch of the SHubs Training Programme last October in Dunmanway, Co Cork.
Pictured right above are attendees who participated in the CEAI Sustainability Toolkit Demonstration hosted at Kells Technology Hub, Co Meath on December 5th last.
A SNAPSHOT OF THE YEAR AHEAD
- A stepped-up Membership Engagement Programme for the CEAI Community
- An expanded suite of training and learning opportunities to include in-person events, a Lunch & Learn Series and ongoing management training for members of the CEAI Community – in both the Public Sector and CLG Sector
- Completion of a Feasibility Study to create a Centre of Excellence and Shared Services Centre for the Community Enterprise Sector
- Large-scale Application to the forthcoming Enterprise Ireland Fund
- Commencement of Erasmus Plus Fairpreneurs Project 2022 – 2024 focused on the development of Ethical, Fair and Green Youth Entrepreneurship Education Programmes for Ireland
- Launch of a Members Council for the CEAI Community
- NACEC CLG Board Recruitment and Expansion
- Expansion of the CEAI Team.
Finally, if there is anything CEAI can do for you, please get in touch with Siobhán Finn, National Hub Network Manager on [email protected]
WHO WE ARE
CEAI is the National Representative Association for Community Enterprise Centres and Enterprise Hubs across the National Hub Network.
The Association represents the interest of the 250+ Enterprise Ireland funded community
enterprise centres, enterprise hubs and enterprise projects – to government, to funding agencies, to the National Hub Network and to the wider stakeholders community.
In Addition, CEAI provides representation, supports, training and mentoring, learning, independent advice and guidance, thought leadership and best in class insights on an individual basis to centre and hub boards, management and key personnel.
CEAI is supported through a variety of funds including ● The 2019 Regional Enterprise Development Fund ● The 2021 Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme Fund ● The 2022 Regional Enterprise Innovation Scoping Scheme Fund ● The 2022 Wheel Training Links Fund ● The 2021 ARISE Programme Fund ● The Erasmus Plus Programme Fund 2021 – 2027.
WE WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS A PARTICULAR THANK YOU TO THE MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY WHOSE ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS ALLOW NACEC CLG TO MEET THE MATCH FUNDING REQUIREMENTS OF MANY GRANT AND FUND PROVIDERS WHICH THE ASSOCIATION BENEFITS FROM.
CEAI IS A NON-PROFIT ASSOCIATION and we are grateful to our Funders who continue to support our growth and ambition, including the organisations below.
The National Association of Community Enterprise Centres NACEC CLG
Registered Company No: 644493
The Community Enterprise Association Ireland CEAI
Unit 18, Meath Enterprise Centre
Co Meath C15TKX6