Investment in connected hubs to support remote working and rural communities.
Innovate Limerick has secured €230,000 funding to develop its network of connected ENGINE Hubs across Limerick.
ENGINE Hubs is one of 117 nationwide projects to be awarded funding as part of the national hubs network development plan – a key action of Our Rural Future, spearheaded by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
This funding will enable the hubs to enhance and expand the remote working infrastructure available across Limerick city and county. Grants will also fund measures to assist hubs to deal with COVID related challenges.
Each hub has its own unique character and offers move-in and drop-in office space for business owners, startups, scale-ups and a growing number of remote workers.
ENGINE Hubs are located in ENGINE, Upper Cecil Street; LEDP Roxboro; The Yard, Newcastle West; Croom Enterprise Centre and The Development Centre Kilfinane.
Mike Cantwell, Head of Innovate Limerick said: “This funding will improve Limerick’s hybrid working facilities and that is good news for the growing number of remote workers living throughout the county The creation of the Engine Hubs network was prompted by the impact of COVID-19 and the demand for a more collaborative form of remote working. The emergence of hybrid work practices means people can now be truly agile and work remotely in towns, and in villages, as well as reducing the time we spend commuting.”
“Innovate Limerick plans to expand the network in the coming year with more locations throughout the county and the Midwest region. So, whether you are a business owner looking for bigger premises, a startup searching for your first office or a remote worker hankering to get out of the house, Engine Hubs will find you the right space that works for you.”
Limerick City and County Council also received funding of €81,900 to provide upgrades to 13 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs).
The BCPs are part of the National Broadband Plan are will provide 150Mb high speed, high quality broadband access to the local community. This will enable people living in the area to go to the selected location and access broadband for daily use including remote working, general access and even keeping in touch with family and friends abroad through video calling.
The 13 BCPs in County Limerick are in Askeaton, Caherline, Cappamore, Ardagh, Carrowbane Beg, Spittle, Abbeyfeale, Barrysfarm, Kildimo, Patrickswell, Rathkeale, Shanagolden and Glenmore East.
These BCPs are an example of how remote working which is already in place albeit on a small scale will be up scaled and developed in a rural area. Key elements include: Installation of Data Access Control to allow for extended opening hours; Installation of security system; Audio visual facilities; Energy efficiency upgrade; Disability access upgrade; Upgrade of meeting rooms; Upgrade of external signage.
Commenting on the investment which nationally comes to €8.8million, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphries said “The investment will provide an increased number of families and individuals with the option to live and work in our rural communities. Remote working from hubs and BCPs benefitting from this funding will also support local economies and assist in reducing our carbon emissions.”
ENGINE Hubs official launch is scheduled for September 2021 and will coincide with the opening of their latest hub in Abbeyfeale.