ATTENTION – IIBN Members in London, NewYork, Central Eastern Europe & Dublin –
If you are expanding your business or just want to have some presence in Ireland consider Ludgate in Southwest Ireland.. Come take a tour at Ludgate – we are Offering ‘No Commitment Trials’ and will be flexible as to your needs. See our website for more details www.ludgate.ie
We asked Sharon Keohan Business Development Manager to tell us more about Ludgate.
We are a not for profit co-working community hub providing the infrastructure, 1G connectivity and community for people to live and work in Skibbereen and the wider West Cork area.
In a time where many are struggling with work / life balance we are showing that there is another way – people can minimise commuting time and still have a career path and challenging role by locating to Ludgate.
We are located in Southwest Ireland and you have access to the most beautiful landscape, beaches, towns on the Wild Atlantic way.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
My role is to attract companies and individuals to locate their businesses from our hub- we have a real mix of members from companies with second site locations to entrepreneurs and start- ups.
Is there a particular type of customer that you are trying to reach?
We are really keen to promote Ludgate amongst the diaspora abroad- Irish people who are working abroad for multinationals who may have a desire to return to Ireland to work. This can be facilitated at Ludgate and we are ready to speak to you and support you in your ask
We have an example of a family from Los Angeles who were holidaying in West Cork and saw press coverage of Ludgate when it was starting out. They loved their time so much that they upped lock stock and barrel and moved to West Cork and continued their business out of Ludgate- they still looked after their customers in US and gained others! That’s a real success story for us.
What are your biggest challenges?
Everyone agrees that our cities particularly Dublin and Cork are congested and commuting times are a real problem which is having major impact on peoples lives and well- being. Everyone agrees yet there is still a slow call to action to really provide flexible working solutions.
I and the team at Ludgate need to assist and educate businesses/ corporates that there are real benefits to having flexible work policies not least talent retention, access to a larger talent pool and of course significant cost savings vs cities by locating at Ludgate.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
Flexible/ remote/ agile working is very much in the narrative in the media at the moment so employers are having to look at this and include some form of flexible offerings in their HR policies to retain talent and attract talent – there is an expectation of a level of flexible arrangements from job applicants today and it can even make the difference in accepting or rejecting a role.
Are you finding any skills gaps in the market?
There is a large demand talent in the tech sector specifically in terms of software developers and cybersecurity analysts and language skills for corporates / FDI companies. Looking outside of the major cities and implementing hiring of remote roles to meet these needs can provide access to a wider talent pool.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
To me, success means working in a role that empowers customers, employees and community in equal measure and that is what we are striving for at Ludgate- a sustainable rural community and happy workers.
For me personally in Sales and Bus Development roles I love identifying leads, nurturing these leads to eventually agree on a deal that is mutually acceptable for everyone and I believe authenticity is a key factor that helps deliver results.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
A former boss of mine when I came to him with an issue one day said to me “ Sharon, bring me solutions, not problems” – really good advice and one I have tried to follow to this day.
Advice I’d give is to be always open to advice, support from others, listen, evaluate and then decide on where you will focus your priorities- be prepared to pivot and discontinue an approach if it’s not working.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
Ludgate was successfully awarded Enterprise Ireland funding from The Regional Development fund program and this will be used to open a second Ludgate site in Skibbereen with space for 150 members and we are particularly looking to attract second site locations, so companies to set up teams managing a particular business function . This funding has also allowed for the hiring of 3 new team members to help drive this development.
What’s next for your company?
Plans are progressing towards the opening of a second location in Skibbereen in September this year so it will be busy time for the team. The target is to have 500 jobs in Skibbereen by 2022 and we are at approx. 140 run rate which has come about by the hard work of the board, team and 1G connectivity provided by Vodafone and Siro.
Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
We’d like Ludgate and West Cork to be leaders in the area of rural sustainability and be a model that could be replicated nationally. We’d like to have welcomed many new members/ companies to our community and be a place that people have a desire locate to.