Dublin event gets set to celebrate Ireland’s French ConneXions

7 Sep 2017

From left: Lionel Paradisi-Coulouma, deputy head of mission at the French Embassy in Ireland, with Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha at the ConneXions launch. Image: Luke Maxwell

ConneXions, a new event bringing together French and Irish disrupters, innovators, businesses and investors, is coming to Dublin in September 2017.

Described as an “innovative, future-focused and first-of-its-kind forum”, ConneXions is an ambitious event coming to Dublin later this month to celebrate and enhance French-Irish collaborations.

Following an invite-only opening night, there will be two days of networking and discussions running in parallel with a weekend hackathon.

The main two-day forum expects to attract French and Irish disrupters, innovators, businesses and investors to the newly refurbished Richmond Barracks in Dublin 8 for roundtable seminars and interactive discussions.

The old gymnasium at the barracks will be transformed into a Start-up Market exhibiting up-and-coming Franco-Irish companies. There will be other exhibitors, such as the Irish Film Institute, which will host screenings of Irish and French cinema, while LinkedIn’s booth will be doling out useful tips for companies to promote their business on the platform.

At the launch in Dublin’s Mansion House, Lionel Paradisi-Coulouma, deputy head of mission at the French Embassy in Ireland, said the idea came three years ago, following the launch of a tech initiative by French president Emmanuel Macron, who was a minister at the time.

“The idea is to foster the links between Ireland and France in culture, education and IT,” Paradisi-Coulouma explained.

In all, the events will centre on the core themes of education, culture and digital technology, with the hackathon offering a prize of €2,500 to the best idea to tackle one of three challenges. 30 places are available to urban creators, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and more invited to ‘hack the city’ with innovations for tourism and community engagement.

“The solutions they come up with, we could apply to Dublin, we could apply to the French cities,” said Mary MacSweeney, deputy head of enterprise and economic development, Dublin City Local Enterprise Office.

In terms of the extent of the French-Irish tech community, David Jullo from Microsoft, who leads the French Tech Dublin community, told us the group supports more than 500 members, representing 65 Franco-Irish start-ups and 90 investors, not to mention the number of employees of tech multinationals.

Lionel Paradisi-Coulouma, deputy head of mission at the French Embassy in Ireland, launches ConneXions at the Mansion House, Dublin

Lionel Paradisi-Coulouma, deputy head of mission at the French Embassy in Ireland, launches ConneXions at the Mansion House, Dublin. Image: Luke Maxwell

Shared passion for culture and tech

Stéphane Crouzat, the French ambassador to Ireland, described the event in a statement as “the first France-Ireland forum at the crossroads between culture, education and technology”.

“France and Ireland have long shared a passion for culture and new technologies. The strong presence of French nationals working in digital companies all across the country illustrates this shared interest, and the support of both the French Tech Community and Business France is another proof of French interest in Irish digital know-how. With ConneXions, we link these interests and aim to create a community which, in the years to come, will continue working together to imagine the solutions for the cities of tomorrow,” he said.

Really, ConneXions intends to live up to its name by gathering the right people together to showcase their innovations, meet future investors or potential collaborators, and start discussions on how to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. These discussions will look at the future of urban living, smart citizens, e-education, and culture in the digital era.

ConneXions runs in Richmond Barracks from Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October 2017. The event has been organised by the Embassy of France in Ireland, in partnership with Business France and French Tech Dublin, and is supported by Dublin City Council. Those interested in attending can register on Eventbrite.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic