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.
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.
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