Ireland’s Qhubs are a global first

We look at the new national Quality Standard for Ireland’s enterprise hub, co-working and remote working sector.

Funded by Enterprise Ireland and managed by the Community Enterprise Association Ireland (CEAI), the new QHubs standard will raise the overall quality, environmental and innovation performance of remote working locations across Ireland

A global first, the new Quality Standard comes into play in 2022, and locations are being asked to sign up now to a preparatory programme which will help managers build a Quality Mindset to support the Standards rollout in 2022. The deadline is 30 November.

“The QHubs quality accreditation will introduce a strong competitive advantage to regions across Ireland”

Enterprise centres, co-working locations and flexible working spaces act as hubs of entrepreneurial activity in their communities. Through business development, innovation and collaboration, they create jobs, investment opportunities and sustained economic growth for the local and wider economy.

The QHubs quality accreditation will introduce a strong competitive advantage to regions across Ireland and will facilitate the hub network to consistently produce the best results possible for their clients – start-ups, SMEs, multinationals and remote workers across the public and private sectors. This will, in turn, work to help to deliver sustainable regional development and a jobs-led recovery for the entire Irish economy.

The key benefits for the co-working centres and entire remote working sector associated with securing QHubs accreditation include:

1. Securing Hub Classification Status

Each hub will be classified based on their strategic purpose, size, capacity and occupancy as well as services and facilities available. This ranges from Level 1, which is a local community hub that provides good quality and affordable workspaces, shared services and networking opportunities, to Level 4, which offers more regional, national and international collaborations, shared learning and peer to peer opportunities, and market access for client companies that want to scale globally.

A dedicated mentor will work with each hub to identify their desired ambitions and goals i.e., how to add value to their facility for client companies via improved services, products, experiences and upgrading business model and processes used.

This offers an opportunity for locations to move up through the ranking system from Level 1 to 4, if that is their desired ambition. Each hub will work towards their targets and ambitions, and will have access to the support required to achieve this.

2. Training and Development Opportunities

Each hub will have access to a range of services and supports including networking, mentoring, training and learning programmes, independent advice and guidance, thought leadership and insights, best in class research, funding information and a host of Continuous Professional Development opportunities.As members range from dedicated community enterprise centres in rural towns and villages throughout Ireland to larger hybrid working spaces in urban locations nationwide, this offers further opportunities to share and collaborate on the latest news, policy developments, emerging trends and global best practice.

3. International Collaborations

Locations registered for the Quality Standard will also benefit from a range of international alliances and connections with leading European and international organisations and programmes. This will offer access to a host of best-in-class global practices via strategically aligned organisations.

4. Annual Progress Update

All hubs will be measured and their progress benchmarked annually. To facilitate this, a range of KPI’s will be set in a variety of important areas such as:

  • Quality, Environmental and Innovation performance
  • Community & Network
  • Customer Experience
  • Digitalisation
  • Job Creation

This benchmark system will give client companies looking to work or partner with a local hub or enterprise centre an indication of how good a fit that particular hub is for their business and whether it meets their individual needs and requirements.

The Community Enterprise Association Ireland

Established more than 20 years ago, the Community Enterprise Association Ireland, previously known as the National Association for Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC), is the country’s leading membership network of enterprise hubs, co-working locations and flexible working spaces. Government funded and supported by Enterprise Ireland, the organisation works to drive real innovation and entrepreneurship across local communities and regions.

The Community Enterprise Association Ireland achieves this by continually working to raise the overall quality, environmental and innovative performance of the sector, ensuring the national hub network continues to support the realisation of a sustainable and balanced regional development model for Ireland. As an established and respected voice of the sector, the organisation also confidently represents local enterprise centres / hubs at government level so that all new strategies, policies and funding programmes take the needs and ambition of each community into account.

The CEAI’s 2022-2025 strategy will be unveiled early next year and this is rooted in an extensive, independently-led consultative process which engaged with member and non-member centres and hubs; local, regional and national government; state agencies and the private sector. The strategy is aligned with Enterprise2025 as well as the government’s strategic priorities, policies and plans.

For more information visit communityenterprise.ie or follow CEAI on Twitter @CEAIreland and LinkedIn Community Enterprise Association Ireland

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