Ireland’s national pastime has been coming to an end in the past few weeks. The GAA season has been winding down, reaching its climax with next Sunday’s Dublin/Kerry football final.
However, in recent years, creating a startup seems to be the new pastime in Ireland.
In October, Ireland will host the Startup Gathering, encouraging startups from all over the world to come and see why Ireland is at the forefront of a startup boom. The idea is to showcase Ireland as the right place to do business, and to be part of a startup hub.
It marks a noticeable change in attitude from several years ago when Ireland, and in particular start-ups, were pawing in the dark looking for solutions.
But the past five years have been the long night’s walk into day. We’re no longer asking where are our startups, we’re boasting about them.
So how did we do it?
The short answer is that we started caring about startups, the realisation that what Ireland really needed was a grassroots movement in business.
We needed to look at how we make business and how to bring it to the world. What is also apparent is that there is no one person to thank for this. It has been a grassroots movement.
Movements by their very definition are a change in how something is done or looked at.
It is the encouragement of new approaches and new ideas. What’s more, it seems that there is a sense of community and that rising tides float all boats.
In recent years, we have positioned ourselves at the forefront of a global show where we are standing with some of the best players in the startup scene.
However, we are only playing a bit; there’s a long way to go before we can be considered stars.
Silicon Valley, of course, is the model for a startup community.
However, cities like Tel Aviv, Singapore, Toronto and Berlin are leading the way for new business growth. At best, Dublin may be in the top 30 or 40. A far cry from the ‘best country in the world in which to do business’.
There is, of course, a reality check needed in all of this, too. Starting your own business is a great step to make.
However, it is not for everybody. The truth about business is that, yes you need leaders, but you also need followers.
Some people are suited to one or the other. Many people in the start-up scene have voiced concerns that this huge surge in companies on the scene is, in effect, dissolving the talent that other startups need for growth.
David Tisch, managing director of TechStars in New York, offers early seed funding for equity to emerging startups.
He has voiced concerns. “There are just too many companies,” he said in an interview with Inc.com. “When there are so many companies it’s hard to build a depth of talent needed for companies to sustain real long-term growth.
"It is too popular, right now. Of course, the pendulum will correct itself at some point. I would say that if you want to be a great founder, you should work at a startup first before owning one.”
Recently in this newspaper, Dublin’s Startup Commissioner Niamh Bushnell cited that “Britain’s more favourable capital gains tax and progressive research and development tax credit system pose concerns for the Irish startup scene, while PAYE workers are treated more favourably than entrepreneurs.”
While we still have many obstacles, the Start-up Gathering happening in October is a massive indication of what both government and businesses want for the future, Ireland as an opportunity- laden hub for emerging business.
The grassroots need to keep on moving.
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