As 2023 pulls slowly into focus, the growth of the Portershed over the past year is amazing to think about. In 2022, we opened two brand-new hubs in the heart of Galway city, our team grew, and we welcomed more and more start-ups through our doors. We also re-adjusted to life after Covid and started planning for how we’d conquer life as it returned to normal.
At this time of the year, it’s important to pause, reflect, and think about what’s been achieved over the past 12 months.
In March, we opened our Bowling Green building – a space that has multiple meeting rooms, privacy booths, an innovation space, and lots of start-up buzz. We’ve welcomed scores of people through our doors – including delegations from overseas, visitors curious to learn more about what we do, and entrepreneurs seeking a home to grow their idea.
We’ve also started life in Market Street, our newest state-of-the-art hub with some 150 desks, a large dedicated innovation space, a production studio, podcast facilities, and – you guessed it – more start-up buzz.
It’s no wonder there’s so much buzz, either. A quick look at an interesting Switcher.ie study reveals that Galway is among the top five places to work from home in Ireland. Perhaps the only reason it’s not top of the list is because we have so many other amazing hubs here, outside of the PorterShed, like the Galway Technology Centre and the Gteics.
Taking stock makes everything seem more worthwhile and it allows us to frame our thoughts before diving into another 52 weeks of innovation, inspiration, and indigenous tech. There are already lots of great plans made, and there are sure to be many more that get added to the calendar in the meantime.
The PorterShed isn’t the only hub to grow or to make exciting plans for the future. So many have refreshed their setups, expanded, or introduced new and interesting developments for members. Our friends at the Galway Technology Centre plan to expand by 15,500 sq. ft., while the Republic of Work in Cork recently announced that they are opening a second location in Clonmel.
These are just a few of the hubs – and they are symptomatic of a wider trend that has grown legs thanks to community support, a consistent trend of hub working, and government backing.
It’s little wonder that so many hubs are expanding and strengthening their presence.
After all, hubs are catalysts for entrepreneurship; and the appetite is there for it. With over 300 hubs across the country on the Connected Hubs platform, there are more places to nurture ideas and develop the ecosystem than there have ever been before.
Speaking at the recent Connected Hubs National Hub Summit, PorterShed CEO Mary Rodgers hit the nail on the head when she said, “Every hub has a different community and opportunity”, which really hammers home the point that you could be tech-leaning, you could be a hot-desking centre, or you could be a place for community leaders to pilot their game-changing ideas. Whatever the focus of your hub, you have a role to play in contributing to the empowerment of ideas and the growth of enterprises.
Perhaps more importantly, hubs can play a really important role in creating jobs – something that we can always do with more of.
Undoubtedly, hubs are becoming increasingly popular as people continue to seek new and reliable ways to work in an ever-shifting landscape, and while things may change around us, we are here for the long run, and we’re excited for what’s to come over the next 12 months and beyond.
By Trevor Murray