Community is at the heart of Donegal based hub
7 July 2021 By Emma Callaghan
“ConnectedHubs.ie is going to be really beneficial to that remote worker group. The fact that we might be welcoming them into our hubs, into our communities, it’s just going to be a great thing”, said an excited Jillian Ruggiere, Community Builder at The Base Enterprise Centre.
The Base, located in Stranorlar, County Donegal, was established seven years ago as the brainchild of a social enterprise 'BASICC'. The focus of BASICC reflects the same values of The Base coworking hub with Leah Fairman, hub manager, explaining, “The focus of the hub was to send a signal out to the community and regionally to encourage investors to start a business and create jobs here to support people living in Stranorlar and Ballybofey”.
Although The Base is first and foremost an enterprise hub, they pride themselves in being more than just a physical space. “The Base is a physical location but we’re about the network and the community,” said Leah. She continued, “This year we launched our new E-Circle which is a support offering for people who just want to work online with us or want to connect with other small businesses virtually”.
"All the time we’re watching trends and trying to stay ahead of what people need in order to make their businesses successful."Leah Fairman, Hub Manager at The Base
Many people who use the facilities at The Base are remote workers or people who have lived away, are now back in Donegal and need a professional space to work from. The responsiveness of the team running The Base to the needs of the community is a big contributor to its success. For example, the team created ‘The Studio at The Base’, this year, designed specifically for doing Zoom meetings, podcasts and digital recordings. Leah explained, “All the time we’re watching trends and trying to stay ahead of what people need in order to help them make their businesses successful”.
Having moved from Manhattan to Donegal, Jillian wanted to ensure that her new home had a strong sense of community and this, she says, is the unique selling point of The Base, “The first thing I always think of is the community. It’s my job to make sure that everybody at The Base knows each other”. She continued, “Somebody in the co-working space might start chatting to a graphic designer and then use her services to market her business. We are there to make those connections but having the community flourish on its own has been really lovely to see”.
"It’s my job to make sure that everybody at The Base knows each other. We are there to make those connections but having the community flourish on its own has been really lovely to see.”Jillian Ruggiere, Community Builder at The Base
Leah and Jillian are excited about what’s to come, especially with the launch of their new Digital Hub as part of DigiWest, a project being led by the Western Development Commission. “We know there’s a strong local interest in the ICT and Digital industries” said Leah. “Our plan is to create a base for that community, and foster an environment which will help those businesses succeed and go on to create jobs here. We really want to help people get back into the swing of things and get connected” she explained.
ConnectedHubs.ie will be of huge assistance to the small team at The Base when it comes to the administration side of the hub, but Jillian is most excited about how ConnectedHubs.ie will attract people back home to Ireland and to the West. She said, “Whether they move to our hub in Donegal or to Kerry we’re just delighted to get people back into the West of Ireland”. Jillian feels passionately about the opportunities saying, “The West has just as much potential as anywhere in Ireland and the fact that we’re all going to be more connected is going to be great in the long run”.
ConnectedHubs.ie is a part of the Our Rural Future initiative by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The project is being delivered by the Western Development Commission.
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