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27 April 2017

Creating a Space for Irish Talent to Flourish in the PorterShed

Posted By: AIB Business
Mary Rodgers is Innovation Community Manager in PorterShed

Ever wish you could hack the secret to the perfect work/life balance? Well, if you’re a startup looking for a place to call home in Galway, then PorterShed may be the ideal base for your business.

Located in the city’s Innovation District in the Docklands, the centre is an AIB-backed initiative to offer a co-working space and support to SMEs and startups locally.  

Opened last year, the space is a hit with companies already. And its community is only set to grow. Charged with the role of Innovation Community Manager at PorterShed, Mary Rodgers works at the heart of the bustling entrepreneurial group.

“There was a real need for a space like this and it has proven itself that way,” she explains. “We’ve gone from 0-64 tenants in ten months. Of the 24 companies that work here, at least 10 of those were working from home or commuting to Dublin. Others were out at incubation and hadn’t been able to move on yet.”

A Communal Space

Along with providing working space to businesses, the co-working environment offers people the opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other’s experiences. A crucial asset for any startup, Mary acknowledges the importance of this communal aspect.

She explains: “It’s so good for collaboration. In fact, there are two companies that come to mind that would not still be in business if it wasn't for the support network and community in PorterShed.”

With high-profile members including Altocloud and Adoreboard, the access to experienced entrepreneurs makes the culture in PorterShed an exciting one. And the space offers a host of other benefits too.

Mary reveals: “There’s a lot of support from the local community also. For instance, our local coffee shop gave us a coffee machine and we had barista training. Now everyone’s making flat whites and mochaccinos! We also have beer on tap from a local independent brewery, who supply it free of charge. And we’re backed by AIB, what can I tell you? It’s great!”

A Vibrant Location in Galway

Better yet, the location of the centre means that many startups don’t have to move east to reach the same support and expertise.

With a vibrant lifestyle across the city, Mary says Galway has a particular appeal. She explains: “The sharing of knowledge and problem solving is a huge factor in what makes this place great. I love living and working in Galway and being with a group of people on the same mission.”

“If I won the lotto today, I’d still want to come to work here tomorrow,” Mary notes.  

“Galway is really pushing to deliver the things that Dublin has done so well and there’s really no need for people to leave here if they don’t want to. We’re making a conscious effort to deliver on tech meetups and all of that stuff that used to be missing in Galway.”

The Perfect Place to Meetup

For businesses located outside of PorterShed around Galway, the centre also hosts regular events for the local business community. The perfect chance to meet and network with local entrepreneurs and business experts, Mary explains: “We’ve had over 130 events in our first 10 months. It’s a mix of tech meetups, hackathons and community events. It’s becoming a real tech-centred space in Galway!”

In fact, over the next few months, the event calendar is action-packed. Recently, Google Developers Group Galway are hosting an event around the launch of Google Cloud Next ’17. While in August, the 21st McGill International Entrepreneurship Conference will take place in the centre.

A diverse selection, Mary says the events have a broad appeal. “About 2,500 people have come through the doors to visit, so we get a lot of visitors,” she says.

Find Out More About How We Can Support Your Startup

If you’re a startup based in Galway or around the country, we have a whole range of services to support and back your business. Get in touch with us at your local AIB branch and make an appointment with a member of our team online at a time that suits you. Keep up to date with our latest news and updates over on our AIB LinkedIn page or tweet us @AIBBiz

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