Adrienne Rodgers, LEO Cork City Head of Enterprise, talks to Council Journal about the new 4,500 square foot facility co-working initative.
What have the challenges been getting this off the ground?
This project required the buy in of senior management and co-operation of staff across all directorates i.e. Corporate Affairs in relation to Property and Law as well as the reallocation of desks for staff in situ who had to be moved to facilitate this coworking space.
Environment in relation to works, Finance to assist in sourcing and allocating resources and the LEO and Economic Development to project manage over a period of 2 years. While this took time, once the project began to materialise it became evident that introducing businesses into City Hall would be beneficial and generated interest from staff across the organisation.
How did you/the organisation adapt? (what processes/technologies/people did you use to overcome these challenges?)
The LEO Cork City had to work across directorates and with that for us came an understanding of the challenges that face each section within the council. It also helped us to develop relationships over the course of the project which is important in order for us to deliver on our remit for Enterprise Ireland to ensure we meet our own targets and outputs. For us it was all about good communication and relying on the key strengths and knowledge of the people in the council.
What lessons did you learn/ are you learning from this?
Change with purpose can be a very positive experience. For the LEO it has been important that we are recognised as a positive influence and this project allowed us to demonstrate this.
What advice can you give to someone in a similiar situation? (Hire better people and trust in your team is a common answer)
Identify your champions within the organisation. Plan carefully. Put in place a steering group to assist with developing plans and communications. If you believe a project is strong enough this will help you to overcome the obstacles and find solutions.
What does the future hold?
Access to and demand for coworking space is growing at a fast rate in Ireland. The USP with COwoRK City is having the resources of the LEO, Cork City on site to support and drive the micro enterprises based in the space.
Our aim is to grow businesses faster in order that they can progress to the Enterprise Ireland portfolio and also on to other commercial coworking spaces as they grow to make way for a new wave of start ups.
In addition having an international cyber security accelerator programme based on site creates a synergy between LEO start ups and international fast growth companies where peer learning cannot be underestimated. By exposing LEO Clients to new and developing technologies such as blockchain it will open their eyes to more opportunities.
Main Image: Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council, Lord Mayor, Cllr. Mick Finn, An Tánasite, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Simon Coveney T.D. Deirdre Clune, MEP, Adrienne Rodgers, Head of Enterprise, LEO Cork City