Dublin’s first commissioner for start-ups is serial entrepreneur Niamh Bushnell

9 Sep 2014

Niamh Bushnell, Dublin's new commissioner for start-ups

Niamh Bushnell, the Irish entrepreneur who stormed New York’s vibrant tech scene, has been named Dublin’s first commissioner for start-ups.

Bushnell believes Dublin has the potential to be one of the great start-up capitals of the world.

“It’s been so exciting to see the Dublin tech scene rise up over the last few years. We have the opportunity to build on the success to date and become one of the great start-up capitals of the world and I’m looking forward to helping us get there and stay there.”

Bushnell co-founded her first company, Pan Research, in Dublin in 1996.

An expert on doing business in the US and in particular in New York’s thriving start-up scene, Bushnell has been instrumental in the creation of an Enterprise Ireland-backed online resource to help Irish companies planning to enter markets in the US.

Bushnell has also been a strong exponent of the idea that the US tech scene, while dominated by Silicon Valley in California, is much more varied and diverse and that cities like New York, in particular, cannot be overlooked by European start-ups hoping to expand in North America.

She has recently been appointed entrepreneur in residence at Talent Tech Labs in Manhattan.

Bushnell will assume strategic responsibility for making Dublin the best place in Europe to start and grow a tech and innovative business.

The role of Dublin commissioner for start-ups has been created on the recommendation of the Activating Dublin Initiative spearheaded by Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Dublin City Council.

The new commissioner will work in conjunction with Dublin City Council and Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices to maximise the potential of Dublin’s existing business ecosystem, which already supports a wide range of tech and innovative start-ups and acts as a base for many global tech companies. 

Start-up and scale faster

A key responsibility in the position, which has been funded privately through DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs, will be to develop international recognition of Dublin as an innovation hub where companies will start-up, scale faster and create long-term sustainable jobs and added value to the economy.

“We see the Dublin commissioner for start-ups as making an important contribution to the city council’s expanded economic development role,” said Owen Keegan, chief executive of Dublin City Council.

“We look forward to working closely with Niamh to improve the services and assistance we offer to start-up businesses.”

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon has welcomed the appointment of Bushnell as Dublin’s commissioner for start-ups.

“Further developing the start-up ecosystem and supporting the creation and quality of high-potential start-up companies is core to Enterprise Ireland’s strategy and the (Irish Government’s) Action Plan for Jobs.

“I would like to congratulate Niamh on her appointment and Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with her in her new role,” Sinnamon said.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

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