I recently had a great meeting with Paul Healy of the Rubicon Incubation Centre in CIT in Cork. This has been a runaway success since it opened a year ago and I wanted to find out more. The Centre is probably best know for the Genesis Enterprise Programme but actually offers a lot more than this.

The Centre has not had a lot of marketing around it and I wondered why. The reason is simple; they have been full from almost the very start! Slots only appear when start-ups move on or when those taking part in GEP complete their stint. As a result, they are opening a new building on Model Farm Road right now and are just about to start an extension to the current building.

Here are some of the Rubicon stats:

  • Currently 80 seat - full
  • 20 of those are for Genesis
  • They run the Enterprise Start program for those considering the jump (€275)
  • Recently ran a special one for ex-Motorola people - strong interest
  • Rubicon is self-financing, and gets no money from CIT
  • They have to balance their books

The way the current building is setup for GEP gives it some of the attributes of a co-working space. Multiple start-ups share a room with no partitions etc. I’ve already seen how this is a big enabler for networking as Walter from Pixenate has put me in contact with people in there with similar interests.

The new building on Model Farm Road sounds like an ideal co-working space and Paul is very interested in facilitating that. The basic stats are:

  • Building is 20,000 sq feet
  • 80 seats
  • It also has lab space due to chronic shortage of this in the region
  • 10x Hot Desks initially with more coming
  • 5x already gone
  • €220 per month
  • Rolling one month agreement with same desk for each month
  • Phone , 10MB broadband, Wifi
  • Secure server room

It really does sound like a perfect setup and the location means you avoid the worst of City Centre traffic whilst being quite close to the centre. The price is fantastic! I think I can see us using this over the summer.

I also gave Kay Wright in Webworks a call as I had been told they do hot-desking too. The Webworks building is slap bang in the City Centre and provided an awesome venue for the first BarCamp Ireland. The whole layout was created to encourage “water cooler conversations” and has lots of breakout areas. It’s biggest flaw remains the price. I really don’t think it can be called an incubation centre given that it charges full-ticket city-centre rates for the standard offices. Hopefully this will change given that the building remains almost totally unused apart from Cubic and one or two others.

The Webworks hot-desking stats are as follows:

  • €125 per week plus VAT
  • Wifi. Broadband (2MB symmetrical I think)
  • Phone on desk. Pay for line rental and calls
  • 14 desks. 6 in one room, 8 in other
  • Coffee Dock with burka boiler
  • Underground car-park, not sure if spaces cost

If I can suggest one thing to both locations - instant coffee doesn’t cut it any more! One of those wee on-demand latte/espresso machines, whilst not perfect, is a huge leap forward from Maxwell House :-) Maybe even one of those single serve pod systems.

I should also mention the great sounding building out in The Macroom Environmental Industrial Park which served as the inspiration for the Rubicon hot-desking. I know Walter was highly impressed when he checked it out.