Friday 30 September 2016

Dogpatch Labs celebrates diversity in tech

Published 21/03/2016 | 17:08

In the modern workplace, ensuring a diverse and representative environment is of the utmost importance for forward thinking organisations.

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Both Dublin as a capital city, and Ireland as a nation are becoming more diverse, socially, culturally and economically. In acknowledgement of this trend, startup incubator Dogpatch Labs hosted a ‘Diversity Week’ initiative over the last week. The initiative served as a platform for bringing together a plethora of Ireland’s most prominent tech startups and grassroots tech communities, and was held in conjunction with Ulster Bank and Google.

The occasion of International Women’s Day (8th March) played a central role in the themes and perspectives that inspired the events throughout the week. Dogpatch Labs welcomed a variety of Ireland’s leading women and men from the tech industry to share their ideas and inspire the audience in the spirit of inclusion in the workplace.

In Dogpatch Labs, the growing diversity in the world of tech is reflected in the range of female-led fast developing technology companies based there, including Konnect Again led and founded by Jayne Ronayne and Helen Flynn, Viddyad whose CEO is Grainne Barron, and CoderDojo the global social enterprise led by Mary Maloney. KonnectAgain helps users to build a valuable community of their past, present and future employees. The system was conceived after its founders were left frustrated with the inability to connect with their University and employment alumni past and present.

Helen Flynn, Konnect Again
Helen Flynn, Konnect Again

Business Women Can

Ulster Bank hosted the ‘Business Women Can’ breakfast briefing, a particularly inspiring morning with a dynamic set of speakers including Niamh Bushnell, Dublin’s first Commissioner for Startups; Majella Crennan of Philip Lee and Helen Flynn from Konnect Again. These innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs shared the secrets behind their personal and business success.

Niamh Bushnell is Dublin’s first Commissioner for Startups, a role created as a result of the Activating Dublin report spearheaded by Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Dublin City Council. The position is privately funded through the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. The mission of the Dublin Commissioner for Startups is to develop a voice, an image and a platform for Dublin as a great startup city, nationally and internationally.

Vicky Twomey-Lee of Coding Grace, most recently mentioned in Siliconrepublic.com as one of the top 15 ‘Wonderful women working to change the face of tech’ hosted an event that brought together key female players in the gaming industry. Twomey-Lee, who works on the Dogpatch Labs team, presided over a series of addresses and discussions from professionals, entrepreneurs, crafters and makers – showcasing their work and sharing their experiences from the constantly growing and evolving gaming industry.

Helen Tynan, Human Resources Manager at Google
Helen Tynan, Human Resources Manager at Google

Over the last year, Dogpatch Labs have co-hosted mentoring sessions and workshops with the Startup Engagement team at Google Ireland. These mentoring sessions with Google Dublin staff are open to the wider startup community. This is part of a broader partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs a global program connecting and supporting leading co-working spaces across the world. As part of Diversity Week, Google hosted a special mentoring meetup that focused on diversity and all issues related to it. A group of experts, including guest speaker Helen Tynan, Human Resources Manager at Google, offered their knowledge and experience on how Google incorporates knowledge, unconscious bias and diversity in their hiring process.

Diversity needs to be at the heart of decision making at all levels in order for the development of a successful and sustainable tech and startup ecosystem in Ireland. Initiatives such as Diversity Week play an important role in creating the foundation to ensure that the startup community is inclusive, representative and equipped for the 21st century business environment.

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