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Exchange project offers hope as businesses 'come together'

A RENT-a-desk scheme with the motto "come together" has seen 40 businesses spring up in a shared office space without any state funding.

The Fumbally Exchange was set up by architect George Boyle, who was associative director of one of the country's biggest architectural practices, Murray O'Laoire, until she was made redundant in April 2010.

One month after losing her job, Ms Boyle set up the Fumbally Exchange -- a concept that allows entrepreneurs and designers to rent a desk in an open-plan office for as little as €55 a week.

Now more than 40 start-up businesses operate out of the office space located off Dublin's Clanbrassil Street.

The office is home to individual businesses, but the entrepreneurs also work together to enable them to take on bigger projects.

The group has already secured an architectural commission for a GAA clubhouse in New York.

The Exchange was officially opened by Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore yesterday.

"Fumbally Exchange is regeneration in action. It has provided local busin-esses with more income and attracted other companies into nearby office space that was previously vacant," said Mr Gilmore.

Ms Boyle said: "It is difficult to strike out on your own. So we say, come together."

Irish Independent