Monday 23 October 2017

Encouraging start-ups is crucial to FDI, government told

Marcus Koehler, co-founder of Comfylight and Eoin Costello, CEO of Startup Ireland at the Google Foundry yesterday
Marcus Koehler, co-founder of Comfylight and Eoin Costello, CEO of Startup Ireland at the Google Foundry yesterday
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

DUBLIN has failed to make it into a list of the world's top 20 cities for company start-ups, despite the presence of some of the world's biggest technology companies, some of the country's most powerful executives and government officials heard yesterday.

More needs to be done to encourage entrepreneurship, was the message at the launch of the 2015 Startup Gathering. Hosted at Google's headquarters in the Dublin Docklands, the launch kicked-off a total of 400 events aimed at start-ups running around the country this week.

Dublin did not make it into this year's Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015 - a list of the best cities for start-ups released this summer, said the event's founder Eoin Costello. The list was led by Los Angeles. Amsterdam and Austin in Texas, comparable in size to Dublin, both earned a place.

"Many other countries are significantly ahead of Ireland" said Costello. "We need a step change rather than gradual, incremental change. The great thing is government really gets the start-up sector."

Better entrepreneurship education, expanded supports such as funding and office space and benchmarking against other leading cities would help to improve Ireland's ranking, he said.

Improving Ireland's reputation as an entrepreneurship hub is important for attracting foreign direct investment, he added.

"Increasingly, multinationals want to be in cities and locations where there is a vibrant start-up community. They want access to the talent, expertise or product ranges that start-ups offer. Increasingly when the big players are deciding whether to come to London, Dublin or Berlin, they are looking at how vibrant the start-up ecosystem is."

Responding, Dublin city council head Owen Keegan said the council was changing the way it spends money in order to better include young companies. "The four Dublin local authorities have annual spend of €1.6bn" he said.

"Instead of procuring final solutions off the shelf, we will have a range of 'city challenges' and give opportunities to entrepreneurs and small businesses to bid. We will provide funding and access to our assets."

Enterprise Ireland, meanwhile, has established a dedicated €500,000 fund to attract international start-ups to locate in Ireland, while Dublin Commissioner for Start-Ups, Niamh Bushnell, is working on a database of all of Ireland's start-ups to allow better marketing of Ireland overseas.

Irish Independent

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