Although Ireland’s economic woes of 2008 are now in the past, there is a newer, more pressing issue for indigenous Irish startups and entrepreneurs. According to Lisney’s latest quarterly review of the Dublin office market, the availability of prime office space in the city centre has decreased by 5 per cent over the first three months of the year, and the vacancy rate of office space in the city centre fell to 10.9 per cent. One-third of this supply could be considered sub-standard space.
In addition, Lisney predicts rents for prime space to grow by 29 per cent over 2015 and 12 percent in 2016. According to The Irish Times, prime city centre rents tend to be between €45 and €50 per square foot and are forecasted to exceed €55 by the end of 2015.
What does this mean for indigenous Irish startups? Prohibitively high rents and a lack of office space ensure that the remaining properties will go to those with the highest purchasing power: foreign multinationals. This effectively is driving indigenous Irish companies and startups out of the city centre and to the peripheries. Alastair Blair, the Country Managing Director for Accenture in Ireland, was quoted saying, “We need space and we need even more space. The other thing we need is proximity. Start-ups need to be able to be close to each other and I don’t believe having the physical distribution of start-ups over 10 or 12 locations in the city to be very helpful.”
But why does Ireland need startups if we have multinationals already based here? An Irish Times article reports that two-thirds of all new jobs in Ireland are created by startups. In addition, startups are able to attract talent to Ireland and retain it for long-term benefits to the economy. Global corporations want to establish their headquarters in locations where the startup ecosystem is already flourishing. Indigenous Irish companies and startups also hold the heartbeat of this nation and are brand ambassadors for what this island can do locally and internationally.
But to be successful and form a vibrant, active community, startups need prime locations and reasonable rates.
Coworking spaces can help startups succeed and thrive by providing not only an affordable workspace but also a community of likeminded people. Entrepreneurs of varied backgrounds and interests can work side by side, paying a rate that fits their needs and budget while receiving even more benefits than a regular office space would provide. Every problem begs a solution and every solution starts with a first step in the right direction. Coworking is that first step.