ONE of the most satisfying elements of the job, says Adrienne, is watching the number of ex-pats that Ludgate has lured home.
‘We have had three couples working here at different stages,’ she recalls, ‘and some of those came back from abroad because they heard about Ludgate.’
Local woman Caroline Leonard, who works with Spearline, and her husband David Keane, a patent lawyer, moved back from London and both worked out of Ludgate initially, before Spearline moved to bigger premises.
David is still based at the hub, as are another local couple – Lucy Murphy and her husband James Draper.
Lucy works for major Irish IT firm Granite Digital, and James works for software firm Teamwork.com, but both are based in the hub.
Ludgate’s hot desks for individuals are priced at €19 a day and a 10-day pass costs €180. But those signing up for a month’s access (€240) have full use of the facilities, including free tea/coffee, conference rooms, tele-conferencing facilities, and even showers – the latter coming in very handy during the water outage during Storm Ophelia last year! Of course, there is also access to the all-important mentoring process.
With such high calibre board members, Ludgate’s mentors are the envy of many. The directors schedule time for their mentees as they have, of course, a vested interest in seeing their protegés doing well.
And the Ludgate model has been much copied since its high-profile launch. ‘We have had over 60 towns coming to look around here,’ says Adrienne, adding that visitors have come from all over Europe and even a recent trade delegation from Maine were very interested in what they had to offer.
While many towns now have digital hubs planned, what makes Ludgate stand out is the anciliary facilities and the wonderful mentoring process.
The offices recently had a major refurb over the summer, expanding their video conferencing rooms and adding an editing suite and extra office space.
‘We recently saw our 1,000th hot desk session and many people were able to extend their holidays this year by using the facility,’ notes Adrienne.
They have recently helped a start-up from Holland with such tasks as accessing an accountant, setting up bank accounts and even locating accommodation.
They have also facilitated introductions to staff at CIT in Cork. ‘It’s all part of the service,’ says Adrienne.