Innovate Communities (formerly Innovate Dublin) is a supportive social enterprise that works closely with communities to help them solve the challenges they face.  The Hub and virtual spaces are where local people come together to design programmes, services and projects for the community. This helps people to make a big impact in their lives. It also results in the delivery of better outcomes for communities and leaves communities with greater resilience to meet future challenges.

You may already know that they operate The Social Innovation Hub in the Ballymun Civic Centre and that this hub provides co-working space and hot desking for the growing community. They are opening their second hub in The Liberties, Dublin 8 next year and are already engaging with the local community there to understand the challenges they face.

They also run an impressive business incubator for local start-ups and new entrepreneurs called Incubate for Growth as well as programmes for young people. The Youth Academy Programme teaches design thinking and project management skills and they recently partnered with LinkedIn to launch INSPIRE, a mentoring programme designed to work towards alleviating the exceptionally high youth unemployment rate Ireland is currently facing.

The Ballymun Hub: A Co-Working Space in the Community

The Social Innovation Hub in Ballymun provides a shared workspace for a community of people from different professions and backgrounds. In this space, people from different professions can work at a very affordable rate. The Hub is home to social entrepreneurs, freelance professionals, start-ups, non-profits and creatives among others.

Membership gives you a professional office address in the centre of Ballymun. The location is excellent: on Main Street; 3 minutes off the M50; 10 minutes from the Airport; 20 minutes from the City Centre and on several bus routes. The building also hosts Dublin City Council, HSE, Ballymun Job Centre and Citizens Information and has wonderful spaces for meetings. The Hub has it’s own kitchenette and eating area but you can also avail of the canteen or coffee shop on the ground floor. It is located across the road from SuperValu, next door to the bank, credit union and the AXIS centre.

Innovate Communities are passionate about supporting their members, or “Hubbers”.  They foster a collaborative environment, facilitating unique and valuable interactions that happen naturally within the space. “Hubbers” are thriving thanks to the unique mix of supports, tools and knowledge.

For more information or to book a space visit the Social Innovation Hub here:  Social Innovation Hub

B4b Connects with Business of the week Innovate Communities. Social Innovation Hub Interior shows the view of many desks as you enter the hub with a window on the left, meeting rooms at the end and a wide walkway in between the desk areas

Interior of Social Innovation Hub in Ballymun. The light and airy space hosts two meeting rooms, a kitchenette, an eating area, several offices, permanent desks and hot desks.


Incubate for Growth: Supporting Local Start-ups

Incubate For Growth is Innovate Communities’ own unique incubator programme. Innovate Communities believe that everyone should have the chance to make a real go of their business, especially when starting out. Every year, ten local entrepreneurs starting out can take part in this fabulous, free ten-month programme based in the Social Innovation Hub.

The programme helps small start ups take their business to the next level by providing them with free desk space in the Hub for 10 months where they can develop their business and their networksIt also builds on the supports already provided to them by the Department of Social Protection, Local Partnerships and Local Enterprise Offices. For those already trading that may mean an increase in customers, for others it may mean setting themselves up to trade.

As well as great networking, participants get a whole load of backup to get their ideas off the ground. This includes business mentoring, marketing development, workshops and advice about their business plan. Using these supports, they are able to fully develop and validate their business proposition, identify potential customers, sales channels and funding options and grow their business offering.  The programme is now in its 6th year and has produced some extraordinary success stories over the years.

Any small startup business, based in the Dublin North West Area can apply. Preference is given to people on the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme.

You can find out more about their 2021 program here: Incubate for Growth

Business for Social Impact: Supporting Local Enterprises

Innovate Communities also provides supports for social enterprises and recently partnered with Social Impact Ireland to deliver Business for Social Impact, a free 6 month incubator programme for social entrepreneurs. This is designed specifically to create and develop sustainable businesses that aim to make a positive social impact in their communities.

Youth Academy: Supporting Young People

Innovate Communities Youth Academy Programme is a highly innovative and creative onsite & offsite skills programme for  young people (18-24) with the emphasis on experiential learning – taking students out of their comfort zones and putting them in situations designed to help them learn from failure and build resilience. Skills development focuses on relationship building, design thinking, problem solving, project management, entrepreneurship – facilitating the advancement of transferable skills that are highly prized by employers.  They have run the programme on several occasions in Youthreach, Ballymun and this year were delighted to partner with the Prince’s Trust  to deliver their first programme in Northern Ireland.

B4b Connects Ballymun Business. Photo of a girl looking very happy while working at a desk and wearing a suit. Text reads take control of your future. Age 18-25? Inspire Mentoring from Innovate Communities

A poster for INSPIRE Mentoring, urging young people to take control of their future.

INSPIRE: Mentoring Young People

Innovate Communities (along with parters LinkedIn and Workday) has launched a unique online mentoring programme called INSPIRE. Innovate Communities successfully launched the pilot in Autumn 2020.

INSPIRE Mentoring aims to assist young people aged 18-25 years to develop their own potential, and to own their future. The inspirational concept is to match successful professionals with young people from a similar background and to help them see opportunities in life that may not have been apparent to them previously.

Mentoring is online, flexible and can take place during the week, evenings or weekends.

Further information and application form for the INSPIRE Mentoring program can be found here: INSPIRE Mentoring

Connect further with Innovate Communities

If you want to contact Innovate Communities or find more information about how they can support you, then check out their website here: Innovate Communities in Ballymun


Business of the week

Every week we spotlight a different Ballymun 4 business member. If you are a member then your business or organisation will be included in our weekly rotation. For more about membership and joining Ballymun 4 business  see our membership section here:   Membership Page