Why Ireland is the best place in the world for a start-up

Posted on by Kevin

There is no doubting that Ireland is going through a period of turmoil. We were one of the worst victims of the 2008 financial meltdown and what was once a prosperous tiger economy has been reduced to ruin. Emigration is at a high and most college graduates are booking one way tickets to greener pastures before they even finish their final exams.

However, let’s look on the bright side. There is a side of Ireland that is being largely ignored by the media and is very much fighting back. Entrepreneurship is on the rise, new businesses are shooting up and there is a community of small businesses both online and offline.  As one of the co-founders of a start-up I have to say I couldn’t ask for better support than what we are being offered here. I am going to make a bold statement; I believe Ireland is as good a place as any to set up an export orientated business right now. Here are some of the reasons why Ireland is as good a place as any for an internet start-up.

Start-up incubators

Many successful entrepreneurs have rose to the challenge of making Ireland a competitive force on the international market. They have set up start up incubators that help create jobs and successful companies. Jerry Kennelly has set up The Endeavour programme and Eoghan Jennings has set up Startup Bootcamp. These incubators are producing companies that bring inward investment into Ireland. An example of this is Datahug, a company based in Dublin that recently raised €1.5 million.

Talented labour available for work

Ireland has a lot of talented individuals out of work. For over 20 years now University education has been virtually free. This has meant that we have a highly educated, but in some cases unemployed workforce. This is especially apparent with people who maybe about 10-20 years out of college. While the recent graduates are emigrating en masse this older generation are saddled with mortgages and families.  Due to the unfortunate circumstances at the moment many of these individuals are out of work. Therefore, entrepreneurs can get top quality experienced talent to help them build their company. There are even government initiatives such as the JobBridge scheme that allow start-up companies hire people free of charge.

Access to successful entrepreneurs

Ireland is a relatively small place. It is quite easy to get in touch with people through a friend or family member and most of the time they are willing to help out. I was recently told that a meeting with Dennis O’Brien (Ireland’s richest man) wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility. I haven’t put this theory to the test as of yet, but the fact that it may be possible is comforting. The Irish Diaspora is also always willing to help. The IIBN (Irish International Business Network) is very active and helps Irish entrepreneurs looking to export. Beyond that Enterprise Ireland has offices in countries around the world.

State run organisations dedicated to helping your business

Ireland has a number of state run organizations that are set up to help your business succeed. Locally there are the enterprise boards and on a national scale there is Enterprise Ireland. Both work hard to see businesses succeed. They are one of the few state agencies who have had their budgets increased recently; thankfully our government sees entrepreneurship as one of the ways out of the recession. Enterprise Ireland has been very proactive in helping emerging companies like Dingadeal grow.

Community of likeminded individuals

There is no doubting that the adversity of recent years has brought the people of Ireland together. Since 2008 the Mercedes and BMWs have begun to disappear off the road and people have become more willing to help each other out. This is very much the case with the business community in Ireland. The #SMEcommunity on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook offers support to any start-ups and likewise start-up incubators like the Endeavour programme, the Ignite programme, the Genesis programme and iGap have been very successful in helping up-and-coming businesses.

I often read about Silicon Valley through Hacker News and the community of entrepreneurship. How open-minded people are and how prepared they are to sit down and discuss business ideas with young entrepreneurs.  I believe Ireland is now on its way to creating a similar community. Since we have launched Dingadeal we have been surrounded by well wishers and those keen on helping us to succeed.  We have had the opportunity to pitch our idea to some of the top entrepreneurs in the country.

Although we are in one of the biggest recessions in our history we are also going through a state of change and I believe we will come out the other end a better more versatile economy

So if you are living overseas and you are reading about Ireland being part of the IMF and having huge rates of unemployment please don’t feel sorry for us. Just because our banks are broke doesn’t mean our country has ground to a halt.  It’s not all doom and gloom in Ireland, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

About Dingadeal

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17 Responses to “Why Ireland is the best place in the world for a start-up”

  1. Rory says:

    Just a correction, “immigration” is when people move into a country, “emmigration” is when people leave. Ireland has a *emmigration* (not *immigration*) problem at the moment.

  2. Interesting post. I was on the Endeavour programme last year and found it excellent but unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be running again this year. I hope I’m wrong.

  3. Adrian Cooney says:

    Great article! I had no idea Ireland had these kind of resources. I myself was thinking of emigrating after completing my exams because as a developer I barely saw any opportunities for work here. This is probably due to the fact that I have never actually met a person from the industry or anybody actually able to develop at all in my region. Also, media coverage of startups in Ireland is next to nil. I need to get out of backwards Cavan.

    • Kevin says:

      Hi Adrian,
      Thanks for your comment. You should check out http://www.siliconrepublic.com/ . Great site for keeping up to date with what is going on in the Irish tech scene. They also post jobs!
      You definitely do not have to emigrate to find work as a developer.
      Best of luck

  4. Dónail says:

    Thank you to the poster for writing such an insightful article!

    It’s so refreshing to see a more positive perspective about Ireland than the doom and gloom picture we’re getting all the time in the news.

    It’s people at startups like Dingadeal that give me faith that Ireland will pull through the current slump and emerge as a stronger, prouder, tiger than before.

    Good luck with the business and keep spreading the positive energy!

    • Kevin says:

      Thanks Dónail for the comment and the positivity. I agree we will emerge a stronger nation as a result of this recession.

  5. Charles says:

    Hello Kevin,

    Charles here from Speeches4Less.com – Dave (Gordon) introduced us at last month’s Cork Enterprise meet.

    I really enjoyed the post above, and it’s encouraging to see such enthusiasm and energy about both the economy in general and the startup climate in particular.

    I hope, particularly, that what you say about Ireland moving towards the kind of startup climate that’s seen in Silicon Valley will come true. It would be great if it did.

    Talk to you again soon.

    ~ Charles

  6. Aonghus says:

    great article; its an easy cop out for people to become very negative these days.

    There are so many freely available resources for starting up an online business and Irish society must start looking at things more positively!

    Well done on this Dingadeal, very positive and encouraging!

  7. Greg says:

    Quite interesting post, and I do agree that Ireland is a good place for startups but one thing in this post is in my opinion absolutely not true:
    “Talented labour available for work”

    I recently looked for a job and found one in 2 weeks… I know it’s easy to judge whole situation using just one example and I work with jee environment which is probably the biggest market for IT specialists in Ireland now.

    That said one thing stroke me: every recruiter I’ve been talking to had problems with finding people for positions they had, junior/mid level/senior, any positions… There is absolutely shortage with qualified IT stuff in Ireland. That’s probably the only industry here which hasn’t been hit with recession as much as others. Mostly cause there is relatively small amount of students finishing IT degrees (or not enough) and there is loads of abroad companies opening offices or european HQs here.

    That’s why I was stroke to see this statement here…

  8. Kevin says:

    Hi Greg,
    Thanks very much for your comment. I agree that there is a shortage of IT staff in Ireland, but I think the IT sector is the exception rather than the rule.

    In the above post I wasn’t referrring to just IT staff.I was speaking about the work force in general.

    I think it takes more than IT skills to build an internet start-up. IT skills are one of the most important(if not the most important) part of the team but they need to be coupled with other skill sets.

    I know a number of internet start-up founders who have minimal IT experience but are doing well due to their experience in sales and marketing.

    There are a lot of sales,marketing, legal and accountancy people out there who don’t have jobs. These could easily be integrated into an internet start-up(depending on your business model of course) to deal with sales, customer service, financial management etc etc. This is what I was referring to in the above.

  9. Great article!
    Better link to http://www.rubiconcentre.ie/ than gep.ie, I think.
    Good to highlight the fact that the Enterprise Ireland / state-funded incubation centres don’t ask for a single stake in your business, and some (like Rubicon Centre CIT) pay a stipend to keep you focused on your business venture full-time.
    Private incubators tend to want a stake in your company, in comparison.
    Would also be nice to see a word added on New Frontiers – the national (umbrella) programhttp://www.rubiconcentre.ie/index.php/blog/223-new-frontiers-launched-at-the-rubicon-centre

  10. Andrew Lambe says:

    Hi Guys, have a look at our latest blog article on http://www.companyformations.ie – It details all the government initiatives available to start-up’s at the moment. Cheers.

  11. emi says:

    Hi, do you mind if I put your article on my facebook page?I’m an event organizer for National Business Expo, which will take place in the RDS, March 8th & 9th 2013. It’s a show providing information, advice, exhibitions from companies and government bodies for anyone thinking of starting or expanding a business. The website isn’t live yet, we’ve just launched the FB page, this article would make an interesting post. The Expo is the first time venture for myself and 2 friends. Thanks Emi

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