A new first of its kind economic report from Vodafone Ireland has found that HQ Tralee generates over €10 million for the local economy, and had the largest economic impact of all of the hubs assessed across Ireland, having supported the creation of 153 new jobs directly and a further 107 indirectly. Nationally, smart working, with digital hubs in every county, could generate €312
million for the regional economy and create over 8,400 new jobs across over 1,000 new businesses.
The study, which was carried out by economist Jim Power, and commissioned by Vodafone Ireland, was undertaken to assess how smart working – flexible or remote working from home or a hub – can help rural communities thrive in a meaningful way. HQTralee & HQListowel, established by Tom O’Leary and Ken Tobin, are digital hubs that are home to 41 businesses with combined net wages of €6.77 million – generating €1.69 million in taxes.

According to the report, at a national level, if a digital hub was established in every county around Ireland; the potential to make a very significant economic, social and financial contribution across the country is very real. Alongside alleviating urban migration and slower regional economic growth, the study suggests that the widespread adoption of smart working would result in a significant reduction in congestion and commute times, ease pressure on housing in cities, provide greater availability of school places and generate more employment of young graduates locally. The research also paints a picture of how smart working can help rural communities thrive in a meaningful way and provide people with a better quality of life.

Director of Enterprise at Vodafone Ireland, Regina Moran, said, “Our study clearly shows that the creation of viable smart working opportunities in a hub, homeworking or a hybrid model in Ireland’s regions could prove transformative for people, businesses and local communities. . At Vodafone Ireland, we want connectivity to enable new ways of working that advance our rural communities and towns and help solve economic and social challenges in a meaningful way.”

Ken Tobin, Co-owner, HQ Tralee, said; “The fact that we are based in the centre of town means that you have the community aspect, that quality of life. Everything is on your doorstep.” Richard Sharp, Horizon Controls, HQ Tralee, said; “I’m the chairman of Tralee Rugby Club and we’ve lost a lot of IT skilled individuals who have gone off to Cork or Dublin because they’ve gone to University or they’ve gone to work in larger jobs. The benefit of being able to work in the hub is that we can retain those individuals and they can play their sports with their local towns and communities.”