Rural towns in Ireland have a lot to gain from coworking spaces, and Tuam is about to see if one man’s vision can lift its entrepreneurial spirit.
My name is Keith Costello, and I run a business called Irish Wholesale Flags. We are based in the N17 Business Park in Tuam. We have a 2,200 sq. ft. facility and I want to transform the first floor into a coworking space, and a have a local space for local enterprise.
I’m calling it ‘The Loft’. The idea is that local business people become active in designing it and setting it up. I want local business people to be involved from the start and grow it organically. There will be office spaces available for local businesses to rent and The Loft will be a centre point, a meeting place for enterprise events and cultural activities.
The idea came about because I felt Tuam needed a focal point, a central place where business people can meet. When I look at larger towns like Galway, I see how business people band together and support each other.
“This is where The Loft can come in. It can act as a haven for people who want to talk about the challenges of business with other business people.”
In major towns there are networking and business events nearly every night of the week. The business community and the cultural community in cities meet regularly to share ideas, best practice and contacts. I think all towns should do this and The Loft is designed as a venue for such meetings.
I’m not actively looking for funding. I want The Loft to grow organically. I want to see it as a space used for local events and networking. The idea is simple. Create a space where like-minded people can gather and share ideas and best practice.
I started selling flags when Galway reached the All Ireland final in 2001. I bootstrapped the business, and I’m very aware how lonely it can be for someone setting up a business. There are challenges all the time, and I think this is where The Loft can come in. It can act as a haven for people who want to talk about the challenges of business with other business people.
The sky is the limit regarding what we can do with The Loft. While we will offer hot desks and offices to rent, we also want to have a focus on events, talks, and seminars.
ThinkBusiness was in conversation with Keith Costello, the owner of one of the biggest suppliers of flags and bunting in the country, based in Tuam, North Galway. The company supplies bunting for all of the major events including GAA matches, the Galway Oyster Festival, the Fleadh Ceol in Sligo, the Clifden Arts Festival and the Volvo Ocean Race.