Startup 2015: Giving purpose to new business ambitions

Barry Guiney; Siobhán Finn; Donncha O'Callaghan; Blaine Doyle; Veronica Kenneally; and Diarmuid Lynch, promoting Startup Gathering 2015.

Siobhán Finn outlines how entrepreneurs can benefit from next week’s series of events targeting those starting, scaling and aiming to succeed from the Cork region

The Startup Gathering 2015 is Ireland’s first ever extended series of events over the entirety of a week, celebrating Ireland’s growing start-up community.

As a key initiative of the 2015 Action Plan for Jobs, the Startup Gathering will spotlight Ireland’s startup sector across cities and towns throughout the country. Scheduled from October 2, the Startup Gathering features an extensive line-up of crowd-sourced events right across the country.

More than 400 events have been recorded nationally with well over 20% of those happening across the Cork region. Events range from hackathons to idea generation, competitions and much more.

A forum on Wednesday, October 7, will address what Cork must do to build on the strengths of its existing startup community to secure its rankings as an international destination for emerging entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups.

The week will also focus on raising the profile of Ireland to entrepreneurs, investors and R&D teams around the world. It is seen as a key building block towards making Ireland a global startup hub by 2020 and aims to promote entrepreneurship and help develop world class regional startup hubs to accelerate the growth of startups and scaleups in Ireland.

The Startup Gathering 2015 is being led by Startup Ireland and as a key action of the Action Plan for Jobs 2015, it is fully endorsed by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The establishment of Startup Ireland was a public-private sector collaborative response to a stated need within the 2014 report, ‘Entrepreneurship in Ireland — Strengthening the Startup Community’, to drive cultural awareness of entrepreneurship in Ireland.

Startup Ireland quickly aligned with Cork innovates to support its vision of delivering genuine collaborative activities in communities and regions throughout Ireland with the goal of Ireland being a global startup hub by 2020.

Ireland is the fastest growing economy in the Eurozone for the second consecutive year (GoodBody Stockbrokers 2015) and having just broken into the top 10 in world innovation rankings (Global Innovation Index 2015), Ireland is better positioned than ever before to achieve the ambitious vision of Startup Ireland.

It is widely recognised that two-thirds of all new jobs are created by startups during the first five years of their existence. Since 2012 100,000 new jobs have been created in Ireland and with the ambition of the country to achieve full employment by 2018 (unemployment currently stands at 9.4%, as of September 2015), it is clear that the startup community has a vital role to play in reaching this target.

As a regional network Cork innovates has existed in the south west for close to 3.5 years and, having proven its ability to engage across both public and private sectors, has garnered a strong and positive reputation for effective relationship building. Until the recent establishment of Startup Ireland, this type of collective existed nowhere else in Ireland and so has positioned Cork ahead of the curve in the delivery of a regionally effective network which focuses on engagement across the public and private sector to promote the growth of a supportive and collaborative environment for startups.

With a population close to 500,000 in the wider Cork region, Cork has a long-standing tradition of being home to entrepreneurs and innovators. From merchant princes to George Boole, best known as the father of computer science, to 21st century success stories, Cork’s people and its institutions have contributed notably to Ireland’s stellar reputation as a nation of innovators and problem solvers.

The entrepreneurial spirit of the Irish people is highlighted time and time again as a trait that impresses our global counterparts. And Cork boasts a multitude of assets and opportunities for the entrepreneur, including the state-of-the-art innovation and incubation centre GatewayUCC; the Ignite graduate business innovation programme, also found at UCC; StartPlanet and SOSv, two accelerators that are highly successful in attracting startups from all over the world to Ireland and to Cork; Ireland’s leading business innovation hub, the Rubicon Centre, which is located at CIT, as well as the Hincks Centre, also at CIT and which is Ireland’s first Centre of Entrepreneurship Excellence; and IMERC’s Entrepreneur Ship, a new facility by which partner companies within the IMERC cluster are provided with the space they need to conduct business, build networks, innovate and create. And the menu of choice continues to grow and strengthen.

As a region, it is a powerhouse for economic, industrial, research and business development. The entire region is economically, socially and environmentally diverse offering business, entrepreneurship and community choices for residents and visitors alike.

Cork is ranked as No 1 for business friendliness in small European cities by FDI Intelligence in its 2014-2015 European Cities and Regions Futures Report.

I encourage you to come and celebrate Ireland’s inaugural Startup Gathering here in Cork.

Siobhán Finn

Cork City Region Coordinator | The Startup Gathering 2015

Project Director | Cork innovates

The Startup Gathering 2015 APP is free from the APP Store.


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