Irish business delegation to visit Silicon Valley


18 Apr 2007

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A group of Irish businesspeople has decided to form its own delegation to visit Silicon Valley and network with key companies such as Yahoo! and Blogger.com in order to drum up business for the Irish technology sector.

The tour, labeled “PaddysValley”, is hoping to kick off this November. Conor O’Neill of LouderVoice said that it is not just an opportunity for ‘Web 2.0’ companies, with telecoms provider Cubic Telecom and some individuals considering start-ups signed up to go as well.

Enterprise Ireland’s US faction is very interested in PaddysValley and has pledged to help fund this initiative but has not yet agreed specifics.

Ahead of this tour, some members are already in San Francisco at Tim O’Reillys Web 2.0 expo, scouting out the landscape.

Of the proposed businesses and individuals PaddysValley hope to meet with out in Silicon Valley are prolific Blogger and Twitter founder Evan Williams.

“It is crucial for us to build our networks and our profile in the places that matter. Silicon Valley remains one of the places that matters most. An important job for all Irish entrepreneurs is to get out there, meet all those who we have admired for so long and learn from them,” said O’Neill.

He said the idea of PaddysValley is an extension of the developing technology culture being fostered right now in Ireland, “where we’re trying to build an attitude of ‘can-do’. If you want to start a company, just go do it and there will be plenty of people to support you.”

Tour organiser James Corbett said: “The general idea is that it is hard to attract inward investment and start collaborations when our start-ups are over here in Ireland while the largest group of investors and tech companies are concentrated in Silicon Valley.”

“As a result, it is hard to convince Valley investors and potential partners why they should come to Ireland when they have such rich pickings over there. With this current situation it was decided we should visit them. If you can’t bring the Valley to Paddy, bring Paddy to the Valley,” he said.

Regarding the recent announcement by Motorola to leave Cork, O’Neill said tours like PaddysValley and events like ShareIT and Open Coffee can benefit the 350 people that will have to seek employment elsewhere.

“We can’t be flippant about it but there is some silver lining over what has happened in Motorola. There’s a good chunk of people leaving the company who are looking to do start-ups and the support agencies in Cork have been very good,” he said.

By Marie Boran

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