National Hub Network shows future of the Irish workplace

We were delighted to be mentioned in this forward thinking read about the future of work in Ireland which was featured in the Sunday Independent recently and written by Clare Power who works with our brilliant partner and funder Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland and the Community Enterprise Association Ireland have a longstanding partnership for over two decades and we are very grateful for their continued support and championing of the remote working and national hub network in Ireland.

The Covid-19 pandemic rumbles on, with many of us back to working from home as we negotiate our way through new variants, boosters and traditional Christmas events. But for many workers, the brief return to the office during the autumn made one thing very clear – the world of work as we know it has changed forever.

There has been much talk about long-term remote working, hybrid and flexible working, and how these can feed into the modern workplace. Company owners are increasingly recognising that offering a degree of flexibility has many advantages for their business in attracting and retaining talent, as well as for the Irish economy overall – but most are still in the early stages of working out how these can be optimised within their own companies.

The matter is becoming more urgent, thanks to the upcoming legislation on the Right to Request Remote Work, which, when enacted, will act as a lynchpin for HR strategy and implementation. Working out the best solution for your company is something every employer needs to consider now.

As Enterprise Ireland’s lead on Regional Remote Working, one of the most exciting developments is the growth of the National Hub Network and its role in driving vibrant regional economies across Ireland.

These hubs are far more than just buildings for workers. They are part of the regional ecosystem, a go-to place for local start-ups through to established SMEs looking to grow and scale their businesses, a valuable contributor to a vibrant local economy, a wonderful opportunity for employees from diverse backgrounds who want to progress their careers outside of the big cities, and an important enabler for collaboration and networking across sectors and disciplines. In short, these hubs will play a crucial role in Ireland’s future of work landscape.

Enterprise Ireland began championing co-working hubs before the Covid-19 pandemic, with its 2019 Powering the Regions Plan. But since Covid-19 hit in March 2020, the importance of these hubs has come into sharp focus. There have been examples of successful co-working hubs already – these include Dogpatch Labs and Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin, The Mill in Drogheda, Wexford Enterprise Centre, Merits in Naas, PorterShed in Galway and Ludgate in Skibbereen. Their success is down to their excellent facilities, including reliable Wi-Fi, excellent cybersecurity, access to the latest digital tools, collaboration and meeting spaces and 24-hour access.

Recognising the importance of the hub network to both regional development and the success of our client companies, Enterprise Ireland has led significant infrastructural investment initiatives on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

We have a relationship with the Community Enterprise Association Ireland (CEAI) spanning two decades, and have supported CEAI as the co-ordinator of a world first, the development of the Quality Standards Framework for the National Hub Network, known as QHubs.

This framework, unveiled last month, aims to provide a world-class facility and service for enterprise at all stages of growth, enable hub owners and managers deliver excellent service to their users, and help the National Hub Network to work collectively towards future self-sustainability. To help embed QHubs, CEAI launched a free preparatory development programme for enterprise hub owners and managers, delivered in partnership with Skillnet Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland is also involved in many other initiatives to support the National Hub Network. These include Grow Remote, a not-for-profit agency working in the fields of networking, job market connection, community development and free nationwide remote training. We also point employers to the Western Development Commission (WDC)-led ConnectedHubs portal in searching and sourcing for their ideal co-working spaces.

As society slowly reopens, regional hubs will play a pivotal role in transitioning to a new world of work. This is a positive change, offering a better work/life balance for workers and enabling employers to attract and keep the talent they need to push their business forward, while also giving back to their local communities.

Many thanks again to Clare Power from Enterprise Ireland for including CEAI in this interesting read. To read the full article online, visit 

For more information follow CEAI on Twitter @CEAIreland and LinkedIn Community Enterprise Association Ireland