The Westport Chamber is the management organisation on-site within the Leeson Enterprise Centre (LEC ), which housed its first entrepreneurs in 2017 and was officially opened in May 2018. Westport Chamber sponsor a Community Employment Scheme and Geraldine Horkan is the Community Employment Supervisor. As part of the CE remit, Geraldine, with the administrative support of CE participants, manages the Centre on behalf of the joint venture. Geraldine is one extremely busy lady. Surrounded by up-and-coming, established and expanding entrepreneurial businesses, she is centre-stage in a fired-up environment where development, growth, support, networking, success, setbacks and picking yourself up from setbacks - are the order of the day. Geraldine sees it as a privilege to share close quarters with the inspiring people behind the individual enterprises, as she gives the Mayo Advertiser just a flavour of the workings at the LEC.
"There’s certainly a lot of activity here in this Centre!", explains Geraldine. "The Centre houses ten businesses - that means an average of 50 of their employees coming and going all the time, with lots of spontaneous networking in the hallways and the canteen. We have a spacious training room and conference room facilities that are in high demand by both our clients and the public. We also host a free clinic provided by the Local Enterprise Office on the first Wednesday of every month. It is a bustling and vibrant environment.
“The objective is to incubate the businesses and provide all the supports that they need to help them grow in their first years and get them to a point where they can move on into the marketplace and make space for the next batch of fledgling entrepreneurs.”
Such has been the success of the Centre after just four years in operation, that it too also needs room to expand - which of course, Geraldine asserts, is good news! "The Centre has gone from strength to strength and five businesses have already graduated and moved on. We are currently at full occupancy and interest continues to grow.”
For start-ups and entrepreneurs interested in applying to the LEC for Office Space, Geraldine outlines some necessary criteria. "Vetting must show the applicant to be tax compliant, and a registered company with a viable business plan that can be presented to the MAEG Committee, the Applicants will be placed on a waiting list and will be contacted if suitable space becomes available.”
It is obvious that Geraldine and her Team take great pride in the work that is carried out in the Centre. “We are constantly investing in the Centre, recently through the Connected Hubs Grant we added EV Charging points and a cycle shelter and thanks to Enterprise Ireland Funding, the training room and conference room are being kitted out with top of the range conferencing equipment. We have also commissioned an Occupational Therapist to carry out an accessibility study as we strive to make the Centre an inclusive space for all”
Geraldine adds that there is a vibrant community aspect also to the Leeson Centre. Westport Chamber Office is based on the premises which means that businesses that export goods drop in to get Certificates of Origin stamped and authenticated. Local Community Groups and businesses use the training facilities. Westport Chamber Community Employment Scheme, which has 24 participants that carry out over 25 thousand hours of community work in the town over the course of a year, is administered from the office, this includes the administration for Tidy Towns, so volunteers drop in to pick up rotas and equipment and the Submission for the National Tidy Towns Competition is prepared and sent from the Chamber Office.
Geraldine concluded “The Leeson Enterprise Centre is a very positive addition to Westport, and I feel very privileged to be part of this exciting venture.”
Leeson Enterprise Centre Facilities
Private Office Space
The centre’s private office space is modern, bright and flexible (allowing from two desk offices to fifteen desk spaces ) and offers first-rate services such as high-speed WiFi, management office, canteen facilities, meeting and training spaces, access to state and private sector supports and the opportunity to engage with advisors, investors and successful entrepreneurs. It also offers secure keypad access to the building and separate key access to your unit; Shower facilities; Access to meeting rooms and training space (T&C Apply ); Access to workshops and mentoring; Electricity fees included (T&C ); Networking opportunities; 24/7 access with free parking for clients and customers.
Co-Sharing Office Space
Co-working office space is the ideal working environment for many. With this option, clients have a designated desk and all the benefits of a dynamic and supportive ecosystem, including access to modern, bright and flexible office space and first-rate services such as high-speed wifi, reception, kitchen, meeting and conference facilities, shower facilities while also having access to state and private sector supports and the opportunity to engage with advisors, investors and successful entrepreneurs.
Meeting /Training Room Facilities
LEC offers a spacious meeting room that seats up to 10 people boardroom Style. Services include free WiFi for all users; Complimentary water; Digital Protector and whiteboards; Competitive conferencing rates; 24/7 access with free parking for clients and their customers; Wheelchair accessible; Optional Extras: Tea, coffee and fresh pastry/scone or Selection of sandwiches/lunch can be provided at an extra cost.
Training Room Facilities - a spacious training room that seats up to: 20 people u-shaped or 24 people squared conference; 26 people classroom style; 48 people theatre Style
For more information or to make a booking call the LEC on 098 27375 or email [email protected]