14 September 2021
By Tom Collins
Cork innovation hub uses COVID downtime to undergo €200,000 refurb
Republic of Work, a flexible innovation hub in the heart of Cork city, is experiencing a 200% increase in enquiries about its workspaces, as companies explore new options for their development and employees. Based on South Mall, the Republic of Work has positioned itself as “The Definitive Space” and is already home to a diverse range of more than 80 companies including SOSV, Digisoft and OpinionRoute.
An extensive renovation project has been completed ahead of the planned return to offices later this month. The business lounge, hot desk, event space and members’ kitchen have been transformed and redesigned to reflect the new work environment. Further renovation work is also planned for increased meeting rooms and private office space.
Republic of Work has benefited from significant investment from Cork-based entrepreneurs Dan and Linda Kiely, who have worked on developing the business with one of its original founders Dave Roynane. The development has also benefited from Covid support, facilitated by Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Rural & Community Development.
Commenting on the development, Cork business figure Dan Kiely (famous for VoxPro – and more recently for a jetsetting Instragram profile) said, “Republic of Work offers that ‘third workplace’, between the office and the home, which has become increasingly important in today’s business environment. Hybrid working is here to stay. People want the flexibility that working from home brings, but collaboration and being part of a community is still equally important. Both Linda and I are delighted to help foster and encourage the next wave of entrepreneurship in Cork and we’re looking forward to seeing many of Cork’s startups grow on a global scale.”
Republic of Work is committed to supporting entrepreneurs, and is acting as an accelerator for a number of emerging Cork companies.
Republic of Work is part of the NDRC Irish Tech Hub Network and home to the Teamwork Catalyst incubation and accelerator programmes, where several of the startup companies based there are set to double in size over the next year. Republic of Work is prioritising the delivery of mentorship-driven accelerator and pre-accelerator programmes and pre-seed funding to entrepreneurs in the Cork and surrounding region.
General Manager at Republic of Work, Frank Brennan said, “There is certainly a demand for a new culture of workspace, which is why we have redesigned the Republic of Work as “The Definitive Space”. It is fantastic to see new businesses emerging and thriving under our roof despite the pandemic. We’re not solely focused on startups, we facilitate businesses and organisations at all stages, providing guidance and mentorship in any way we can. Our brand new, renovated space on the South Mall could be the ideal launchpad for your entrepreneurial journey.”
Female-founded and eco-friendly period product subscription service, We Are Riley, was launched in April 2021 and sold out online within one week. The company was founded by three friends who wanted to create a plastic-free sustainable solution for women. Its products are made of 100% certified organic cotton and are compostable. The start-up is on track to help 5,500 period cycles by the end of the year across Ireland, the UK and Europe. We Are Riley also has plans to partner with universities and a range of companies to provide stock for their bathrooms. It is also working with an Irish registered charity in Kenya, providing sanitary products to help tackle period poverty.
Irish fitness software provider LegitFit works with hundreds of businesses in 12 countries including Ireland, the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Its scheduling and management platform was launched in 2019 and allows fitness entrepreneurs to automate their workflows, reduce cancellations and maximise their customers’ experience. The company is on track to meet and exceed its goal of one million dollars in Annual Recurring Revenue by the end of the year, having recently come out of the world renowned accelerator Techstars. The company also graduated from the first Teamwork Catalyst programme at Republic of Work. LegitFit recently acquired Belfast based fitness marketplace company GoFyt (Go Find Your Trainer) in a well-documented move.