A new study of remote workers in the south east found that 30 per cent of people who are currently remote working are interested in starting their own business.
The study looked at 904 remote workers in the south east, with 211 respondents hailing from Wexford. It was conducted by the South East Local Authorities and their Local Enterprise Offices, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the Ireland South East Development Office.
For Wexford, the study found that 35 per cent of remote workers saved more than two hours of commuting time by remote working in the county.
The report's authors suggest that Wexford has a 'unique' demographic of workers who 'wish to and are suited to working remotely'.
Commenting on the level of interest the survey respondents had in starting their own business, Enterprise Ireland regional director in the South and South East Martin Corkery said that a strong start-up economy is 'absolutely vital' to the future of Ireland's regions.
'The south east has become a prime nurturing environment for start-up activity, with many examples of indigenous entrepreneurs inspiring others from across the country that they too can start and scale successfully in the south east,' he said.
Kathleen Holohan, chief executive of Carlow County Council on behalf of the South East Local Authorities, said, 'The south east region offers lower housing and childcare costs, rural/coastal lifestyles with great transport infrastructure.'
According to Ms Holohan, the study has given 'clear insights' into the opportunity for remote workers in the south east through the development of a 'hub network' supported by Enterprise Ireland, the South East Local Enterprise Office network and the South East Development Office.
'It also demonstrates the opportunity to provide start-up supports and training to these individuals that will foster a thriving start-up culture in the region,' she said.
And with many companies now opting for 'hybrid' working models for employees as a result of the pandemic, the report suggests that such models will 'accelerate' the green agenda for the south east, with less people commuting than in the pre-Covid era.
Alan Quirke, director, Ireland South East Development Office, said the south east region has advantages to offer when it comes to remote working.
'This includes, for example, the benefit remote working provides for the green economy through the reduction of commuting time, which can also attract more remote workers by providing an improved work/life balance.'
He said this trend presents an opportunity for the south east's towns and villages to market themselves as an 'attractive place to live'.