Ireland is the “go-to” country for finding global solutions
Events over the past few years have made the business environment extremely challenging – and with the current political and economic unrest, that uncertainty looks set to continue. For startups, a challenging business environment is even more difficult as not all have the resources, experience and backing to weather economic storms, much less the type of difficulties we have encountered over the last few years.
However, at the same time, a rapidly changing world needs innovation more than ever. Given the hotbed of talent and innovation in Ireland right now, it’s more crucial than ever that our entrepreneurs are given the time, funding and advice to excel globally. At Enterprise Ireland, we aim to support and enable Irish businesses to lead in a changing world – and an integral part of this is those ambitious startups with innovative solutions to tackle global problems.
Held last Thursday in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Enterprise Ireland’s 2022 Startup Showcase was an opportunity for Ireland to demonstrate its strength in innovation and our healthy startup ecosystem. The event was attended by the “Class of 2021”, which included 82 new High Potential Startups (HPSUs), 43 approved Competitive Start Fund companies (CSFs) and representatives from each of the 32 New Frontiers programmes we supported during the year.
In 2021, the event was purely virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, it was both live and virtual, allowing everyone to network with a high-profile and influential invitation list, including investors, accelerators, incubators, public and private support agencies, Government departments, academics, business mentors and Local Enterprise Offices.
Investment and funding are only part of a startup’s recipe for success. Learning from peers and those who have been on the starting and scaling journey plays an essential role in future success, and this year’s conference element aimed to tackle two of the most critical subjects for startups. The first panel focused on “Disruption (tech, brand, market) and Customer-Led Innovation” and featured Silvercloud Co-Founder and CEO Ken Cahill, Novus Diagnostics Founder and CEO Elaine Spain, and ACT General Partner John O’Sullivan. Next, Centaur Fund Services Founding Partner and CEO Karen Malone, Kyte Powertech CEO Stephanie Leonard and Cubic Telecom CEO Barry Napier shared their experiences on “Building a Strong Team and Funding for Scale”. The presentations ended with a keynote speech from LearnUpon Co-Founder and CEO Brendan Noud as Learnupon, an HPSU from the Class of 2013, goes from strength to strength. The event was also live-streamed.
As the startups would have begun their journey during lengthy lockdowns and travel restrictions, this event, in many cases, was one of the first opportunities to meet such an influential group of people – as well as their peers – in person. And there were plenty of people to meet. There were 500 attendees, including representatives from the Irish startup ecosystem, VCs and other funders, State support agencies, strategic company partners and professional and financial services.
As companies formed during the second year of the pandemic, the Class of 2021 has shown innovation and resilience like never before. Proving that Ireland is the “go-to” country for finding global solutions, these companies produced several solutions in many sectors, including digital health, software, fintech, Medtech, sustainability and more.
Among their number was Equimetrics in Kilkenny. The company produces a smart health monitor for horses that sits in a wearable harness, allowing the animal’s health to be measured in real-time. Also included was Amnexis Digital Solutions, based in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, a digital health company that records patient data efficiently, reducing the administrative workload on hospital, home care, and nursing home staff.
Although we are only a few months into 2022, the easing of restrictions has already resulted in renewed energy in Ireland’s startup community. At Enterprise Ireland, we have a strong pipeline of promising entrepreneurs with intriguing prospects across Ireland, including first time and repeat entrepreneurs. The future has never been more exciting for Irish entrepreneurs to Lead in a Changing World.
For highlights from the conference element of the 2022 Startup Showcase, see enterprise-ireland.com/en/Events/OurEvents/StartUpShowcase/
Jenny Melia, Technology & Services Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland.