Dundalk’s Creative Spark generates over €3.8million for local economy
In a new study carried out by economist Jim Power on behalf of Vodafone Ireland, it has been revealed that Dundalk’s Creative Spark generates over €3.8million for the local economy and has created 72 jobs directly and 50 indirectly.
The study was undertaken to assess how smart working – flexible or remote working from home or a hub – can help rural communities thrive in a meaningful way.
A quantitative analysis of job creation, talent migration, economic activity and outputs of the businesses that operate in six of Vodafone and SIRO’s digital hubs was carried out, resulting in what Vodafone believes are valuable insights into the potential socio-economic benefits smart working practices could have, if replicated nationally in every county.
The hubs assessed include; Creative Spark, Dundalk; HQ Tralee; Enterprise House, Carlow; New Work Junction, Kilkenny; Ludgate, Skibbereen and The Mill, Drogheda.
Nationally, smart working, with digital hubs in every county, could generate €312 million for the regional economy and create over 8,400 new jobs across over 1,000 new businesses, the study found.
Additionally, the study included a qualitative assessment with hub managers/owners, business owners and remote workers who operate from the digital hubs to gain insights into the societal benefits of smart working such as: quality of life, cost of living and community engagement.
Architectural Spaces is one of the companies in Dundalk’s Creative Spark. Sharing its views on the benefits of Creative Spark, Rachel O’Halloran from Architectural Spaces, said:
“The energy and the vibe around the place, meeting other people, you get to learn so much more. You get to bounce ideas off everyone.
"The hub brings business into the town, it brings people into the town, who otherwise may not be here, and it brings the community together.”
Author of the report, Economist Jim Power, said:
“In a world where issues such as climate change, congestion, more balanced regional economic growth and development, and quality of life are becoming increasingly important and topical, the contribution that remote working will make to addressing these problems is very significant.
"With proper connectivity, there is no reason why remote working cannot grow in significance. This will benefit local economies, the environment and the wellbeing of employees and business owners. It is an unambiguous win-win situation.”
Director of Enterprise at Vodafone Ireland, Regina Moran, added:
“Our study clearly shows that the creation of viable smart working opportunities in a hub, homeworking or a hybrid model in Ireland’s regions could prove transformative for people, businesses and local communities.
"The findings, which attest to substantial income generation and improvements in people’s quality of life, offer a viable basis for wider adoption of smart working in Ireland.
"It also provides proof of concept that smart working and digital hubs can act as a stimulus to addressing the urban and rural socio-economic challenges that exist in Ireland. Gigabit connectivity is fundamental to achieving that."
“In the context of congestion in urban areas; environmental considerations; and the desire for improved quality of life, the potential for future increased economic contribution from hubs that provide high quality broadband connection is significant.
"At Vodafone Ireland, we want connectivity to enable new ways of working that advance our rural communities and towns and help solve economic and social challenges in a meaningful way.”