Cork Chamber Calls for National Cluster Policy to Replicate Ludgate Success
10 October 2018
Representatives of Cork Chamber recently revisited The Ludgate Hub, Ireland's hugely successful rural digital hub in Skibbereen, West Cork.
Director of Public Affairs, Thomas Mc Hugh, commented, “The Ludgate Hub continues to build momentum, and this must be replicated in towns across the region. We need a national cluster policy to support enterprise throughout the country. Here is a working representation of what can be achieved when strong partners come together to invest in communities. The Ludgate Hub has unlocked the potential for people to grow thriving businesses unhindered by geography and offers a unique lifestyle away from the busier urban hubs without forfeiting any professional opportunities.”
“Cork Chamber remains steadfast in advocating for strong regional growth and have led an EU Interreg project to increase the potential of rural based SME’s. One of the central findings from our research and work with European partners, is the value of clustering to businesses in rural environments. It only makes sense for Government to investigate the potential of national cluster policy to provide structure that complements the many valuable clusters already striving forwards.” stated Mr. McHugh.
CEO of the Ludgate Hub, Adrienne Harrington, stated “Ludgate is a beacon for rural innovation and has proven that with high-speed connectivity, location is irrelevant, allowing us to compete on a global scale. Ludgate’s success has been demonstrated by the fact that in the two years since our establishment, we have facilitated the creation of 100 direct and 140 indirect new jobs in West Cork with persons relocating from Los Angeles, London, Vancouver, New York, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Pakistan and South Africa, as well as from across Ireland. Ludgate itself is now home to 23 entrepreneurs, who run their businesses from our facility.”
“For companies exploring second site locations, Ludgate is a natural choice offering 1GB connectivity, a ready supply of talent, lower operating costs, available and affordable housing, excellent schools and quality of life that is second-to-none. Cork-based companies Teamwork and Granite have been attracted by these factors and have developed bases in Ludgate, as has Dublin-based e-commerce support company xSellco who opened its Ludgate office in May 2017, doubled its staff within 6 months and is recruiting again.”
Ms Harrington added ‘The Ludgate Hub currently contributes just under €13m pa to the local economy, contributing to a sustainable community here in West Cork. Ludgate’s impact is felt not just in Skibbereen but in the dozen or so small, thriving communities such as the villages of Leap, Ballydehob, Glandore, Union Hall, Baltimore and Schull where many of our members live and contribute to the local economies and communities.”
In concluding, Mr. McHugh added, “To truly empower our regions, we need to be more visionary as a nation. We need to be targeting strategic locations to drive this concentration of growth. This is the only way we can facilitate the talent and enthusiasm of our regions to excel. Here we have an exceptional example of what can be achieved. Why stop now? When we know what can be achieved. Cork Chamber remain committed to driving this agenda to drive smart growth for our regions.”
Photograph from left to right: Oliver Farrell, The Ludgate Hub; Anne Phillips, The Ludgate Hub; Michelle O’Sullivan, Cork Chamber; Adrienne Harrington, The Ludgate Hub; Thomas McHugh, Cork Chamber; Sharon Corcoran, Cork County Council & Adam Walsh, The Ludgate Hub