Cloud visionary and RTÉ ‘dragon’ to chair Govt Entrepreneurship Forum

17 May 2013

Sean O'Sullivan, newly appointed chairman of the Irish Government's Entrepreneurship Advisory Forum

Entrepreneur and investor Sean O’Sullivan, credited by MIT for co-coining the term ‘cloud computing’, has been appointed chairman of an Entrepreneurship Advisory Forum by the Government of Ireland.

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton, TD, and Minister for Small Business John Perry, TD, today also launched a public consultation inviting interested parties to make submissions as part of an assessment of the current environment for entrepreneurial activity.

Within the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has committed to publish a National Entrepreneurship Policy Statement in Q4 of 2013. The main deliverables of the project are to outline key recommendations and actions to support entrepreneurship for inclusion in the 2014 Action Plan for Jobs.

The announcement comes as recent research by the Central Bank shows that 67pc of all new job creation comes from businesses in the first five years of existence. New policies to better support and encourage more entrepreneurship and start-up activity are central to the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.

First-stop shops in every county to support entrepreneurs

In launching the new forum and public consultation, Bruton said: “Supporting entrepreneurship and start-up activity is a central part of our Action Plan for Jobs, and since taking office we have introduced a range of changes to support greater activity in this area, including a microfinance scheme and credit guarantee scheme to provide better access to finance, as well as establishing a network of first-stop shops in every county to make it easier for businesses to access supports.

“It is now time to develop the next phase of our plan, and that is why I have asked Sean O’Sullivan to chair a forum to advise on new policies, as well as launching a public consultation so everybody’s voice can be heard on this issue. Effective consultation with interested parties and stakeholders will ensure that the issues we prioritise are the right ones, and we will publish our plan by the end of the year.”

Dragons’ Den star O’Sullivan is credited with contributing to two of the biggest trends in computing: as co-creator of the term cloud computing, and the introduction of street mapping on computers.

He is co-founder and managing director of Avego, a 55-person cloud technology firm with offices in the US and Ireland.

O’Sullivan is also managing director of SOSventures International, which boasted returns averaging 27pc over the past 15 years. His first company, MapInfo, grew to a US$200m public company, and popularised street mapping on computers. Among his successful investments to date are Netflix, which announced 1m users in Ireland and the UK in just several months, and Harmonix, creator of Guitar Hero.

Commenting on the new forum, O’Sullivan said: “Entrepreneurship is about creating something from nothing, about growth and change and the kind of disruption that improves people’s lives. It is effectively a kind of magic that impacts the entire economy. We need to look at what the government can do to draw out this magic, to support it and develop it, and where necessary to simply stand aside and let people get on with it themselves. I am expecting we will deliver some substantial recommendations out of this forum and consultation process.”

Disclosure: SOSventures is an investor in

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years