Last Friday, September 17th, we announced the expansion of our Gigabit Hub Initiative to Stranorlar, Co Donegal with the connection of The DigiHub at The BASE Enterprise Centre, a new 1600 sq ft Digital Hub dedicated to supporting the growth of ICT and Digital businesses in Donegal. The Hub is situated in The BASE Enterprise Centre, a 19000 sq ft Enterprise space built in 2015 to help attract investment and enable more to live and do business in the area.
“By delivering Gigabit connectivity to the BASE Enterprise Centre, we have made remote working a reality for over 70 professionals, ensuring it’s as easy to do business in the Finn Valley as anywhere else in country. ”
John Keaney, CEO, SIRO
The DigiHub at The BASE was developed as part of the Digiwest programme with funding by the RRDF in partnership with Donegal County Council and the Western Development Commission.
The DigiHub, which is located at Railway Road, Stranorlar, has a range of options available for remote workers, start-ups and established businesses with hot desk and start-up space on flexible arrangements, office units of various sizes, training facilities, and a range of meeting rooms. With Covid-19 fundamentally changing where people will live and work across Ireland, the BASE is aimed at enticing entrepreneurs and existing businesses to relocate to Stranorlar or offer 100% fibre-optic connectivity for remote workers based in the surrounding area. The BASE is an independent enterprise space built and managed by BASICC, a local social enterprise dedicated to the regeneration of Ballybofey and Stranorlar.
The new DigiHub focuses on strengthening the growing ICT and Digital sector in the area by dedicating a space for businesses in these industries to work together, sharing knowledge, skills and networks. With 23 desks available for short-term or casual hire, the hub can accommodate more than 20 tenants in addition to the business units available for permanent hire with capacity to accommodate an additional 50+ tenants. The DigiHub also offers a range of supports to start-ups including one-to-one business mentoring as well as access to mentoring through a network of support businesses via the Ballybofey and Stranorlar Chamber of Commerce; networking and informal learning opportunities; supportive promotion through social media channels; training opportunities; and signposting to key statutory agencies for assistance.
One such company benefiting from the SIRO 1 GB connection at BASE Enterprise Centre is Secora Consulting. Speaking at the launch of the Stranorlar hub, Phillip Close, Director of Secora Consulting said “The DigiHub will bring new and exciting opportunities for many in the Ballybofey/Stranorlar and surrounding areas. We’re looking forward to being a part of the DigiHub Community and welcoming other Digital & ICT businesses to the growing network there as well. All of the business facilities required such as gigabit FTTH broadband, meeting rooms, recording studio, office space and co-working areas will now be available to support many with their business needs and ensure a healthy work-life balance.”
The DigiHub is the latest to receive free SIRO powered one Gigabit broadband connection, provided by Vodafone and offered to 16 co-working hubs across the country. Launched in 2017, the Gigabit Hub Initiative was ahead of its time in aiming to spark a digital transformation across regional Ireland and boost local economies. SIRO’s 100% fibre-optic Gigabit connectivity, which is recognised as the international gold standard of broadband, is helping to reverse the digital divide in Ireland by offering connectivity that is better than what is available in Dublin.
“These hubs, powered by 1 Gigabit broadband, are an example of how local people and businesses can work together to generate economic growth in rural areas, but they also offer employees and business owners access to the digital society and the opportunity to pursue their careers and business ventures in towns and villages across Ireland.”
Sinéad Bryan, Vodafone Business Managing Director
Present at the launch of the Digihub was Minister for Rural and Community Development and Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphries, who remarked: “As we phase out restrictions put in place during COVID-19, it’s more relevant than ever to invest in co-working spaces for those who wish to remain in their home counties and avoid long commutes to Dublin and larger cities. The launch of today’s hub in the heart of Stranorlar highlights the appetite for hybrid working in regional Ireland to remain. Thanks to the partnership of Donegal CoCo, the Western Development Commission, SIRO and Vodafone, this Gigabit hub can enable Stranorlar to have connectivity unparalleled to anyone in the country.”
Commenting on the milestone of becoming part of the Gigabit Hub initiative, Kieran Doherty, Chairperson of BASICC said: “The BASE is a core part of the regeneration strategy for Stranorlar, Ballybofey and the surrounding area. In order for the area to flourish, we have to be able to connect to any part of the world instantly and Gigabit connectivity means that we have the same world class broadband that is available in international hubs like Tokyo or Singapore. So we are delighted to be part of SIRO and Vodafone’s Gigabit Hub initiative as it will help us to keep people who had been working remotely in the area during the pandemic here and attract more people back to the Finn Valley.”