Monday 16 January 2017

READY BUSINESS PODCAST: 'We’re just not on a level playing field here in Ireland because of the politicians'

Published 12/10/2016 | 14:40

On this week's episode of the Ready Business podcast, Brian Purcell speaks to Dublin's Start-Up Commissioner, Niamh Bushnell, about the effects of Budget 2017 for entrepreneurs, how Dublin can do more to compete with the likes of London and Berlin and why talent and capital are so hard to come by.

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With her own entrepreneurial background in New York City, Niamh Bushnell was perfectly placed to be the first Commissioner to drive innovation and the start-up culture in Dublin and with her time in the role nearly at an end, it is still very much a case of a lot done, more to do.

And getting politicians to understand and appreciate the importance of start-up culture is still an ongoing battle.

“There are great start ups here and the talent is massive but the government needs to create an environment to think big and grow big,” she says.

11/10/16. Start Up Commissioner Niamh Bushnell.
Pic: Justin Farrelly
11/10/16. Start Up Commissioner Niamh Bushnell. Pic: Justin Farrelly

Whilst accepting that reducing the rate of Capital Gains Tax to 10% in chargeable gains is a move in the right direction, it is still not enough Bushnell says.

“I’d rather the CGT limit was increased from it’s limit of €1m because it’s saying that you’re better off selling on before you hit the €1m.  It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t create jobs and it doesn’t welcome companies who are feeling the squeeze of the Brexit effects in the UK.  All this does is gives small relief to the small thinkers.”

For Bushnell, attracting international VCs is key to growing Ireland’s start-up ambitions and to think in global terms more and more.

“Tech is the most competitive industry in the world and we’re just not on a level playing field here because of the environment that has been created by the government policies,” she argues.

“I’m a believer and an optimist about what can be done and there are sign-posts in this budget but we won’t let them rest on their laurels and we have to educate the politicians as to why more investment opportunities need to be developed.”

The Ready Business show, in association with Vodafone, is available every Thursday via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Or subscribe to the RSS feed of the Ready Business Podcast using your favourite podcatcher.

You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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