The Thurles Chamber of Commerce sponsored Thurles Community Enterprise Centre, situated at the Tipperary Institute has already secured a first tenant, and quite a few enquiries for the 14 unit facility, The Tipperary Star understands.
The 1,100 square metres facility which will also include 24 hotdesks, two meeting rooms, canteen and is designed to the highest specification in terms of energy efficiency, is well underway with local contractors Clancy Construction making rapid progress. The construction phase has also created considerable local employment for the firm.
The 1 million Euro plus project was the brainchild of Thurles Chamber members Cllr Seamus Hanafin, John O’Shaughnessy and Anne Fitzpatrick and has been fully backed by the Chamber President, Mr Austin Broderick. And, the coming on board of the LIT Tipperary Institute was a huge boost to the project as not only did the third level institute provide the site, they have also provided substantial cash assistance and very real back-up.
Cllr Hanafin told The Tipperary Star, “This is the Thurles business community working in conjunction with the LIT Tipperary Institute to deliver a high tech, high quality building to help promote and encourage business initiative. The facility has the latest in communication technology including high speed broadband, and is a real example of what can be achieved when people come together. Despite the very difficult times that we are all experiencing, there is great potential for new business because a lot of highly skilled people have lost their jobs and are having to go other routes for employment. This facility could help them realise their dream of having their own business and unleash potential,” Cllr Hanafin said.
The Chamber of Commerce has been involved in many worthwhile initiatives in the town down through the years, but this one is something of a new departure. President Austin Broderick is thrilled with the response to it and says that it was the hard work and dedication of the small committee which managed to get the concept moving.
“When Seamus Hanafin first contacted me about this project, I did not believe that it would ever come to fruition given the kind of money involved and the need to find a suitable site. But, we decided to give it a go and the sub committee including John O’Shaughnessy, Anne Fitzpatrick and Seamus Hanafin put in an unbelievable amount of hours to bring it to this stage. They held meeting after meeting; were in contact with all the agencies; and managed to jump the very many hurdles which got in their way. Their tenacity paid off and this facility, when completed, will be a major boost to the Thurles economy in these dififcult times - Thurles Chamber is delighted to be at the core of it,” Mr Broderick said.
The Tipperary Institute also deserves enormous praise and credit for their foresight and vision. They ran with the idea when it was first presented and stood four square behind the Chamber of Commerce to help it along. CEO Mr Michael O’Connell has been very supportive and has been invaluable to the project in terms of his knowledge and experience, enthusuaism and encouragement. The TI, through LIT is also hoping to develop a LEAP type business development programme once the facility is established - LEAP has been a most successful programme for potential entrepreneurs in the Limerick area and has helped to bring business ideas, through to concept, and onto the development of actual business plans. A similar proposal in Thurles would be a major coup for the area.
It is envisaged that the facility will be completed by year end with the first tenant ready to move in immediately. The benefits of being located in the centre will be multiple - rent will be low cost; a progressive business atmosphere will prevail; there will be expert advice on site; and all the support networks available on request.
The Thurles Community Enterprise Centre is also ideally located on the outskirts of the town and with the new link road due for opening early in the new year, there will be direct access to the Midlands route without having to go through the town centre.