Enterprise Ireland reveals US online resource for tech firms

31 May 2012

Enterprise Ireland has created a useful online directory to help Irish companies planning to enter markets in the US. Put together by former Enterprise Ireland staffer and entrepreneur Niamh Bushnell, the aim of TechResources.US is to make it a living, breathing resource owned by its community of exporters and local market experts.

The site aims to connect Irish technology companies with trusted and up-to-date information and connections to essential in-market resources, services and supports, including accelerators, investors, networking groups, co-working spaces, conferences, online resources and academic research centres.

There are now more than 1,600 qualified resources in the TechResources directory and users can search by location, vertical market, resource type, and more, and can refine their search by keywords.

Directory entries are enhanced with one-click connections to key people or communities via LinkedIn, Twitter, phone or email.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Bushnell, who has lived in New York for more than a decade and who has worked with Enterprise Ireland’s North American office for eight years, says she developed the directory through her company MarketSprint.

Bushnell is also an angel investor in a number of New York-based start-ups.

“If you are a mobile technology company, for example, and you are targeting a city like Washington, DC, or Boston, the aim is to equip you with all the local contacts, networking opportunities, investors and conferences you should be clued in on.”

She explained that the aim is to fill the directory with ‘qualified’ resources, people with proven expertise who are also on the ground in specific US locations who could prove beneficial to exporters targeting a market niche or location.

“There are many US pitch events and niche events that can be useful or not-so-useful, for example.

“Our aim is ensure that the events and people in the directory have a track record that is validated so exporters won’t see their time or resources wasted.”

Bushnell explained that the TechResources directory evolved out of a previous paper-based project she had done for New Zealand’s counterpart for Enterprise Ireland.

“Enterprise Ireland said that this needs to be available and searchable online and I built a prototype for them. They immediately saw the value of how this could help companies in Ireland and the States and we decided to build a community of knowledge among entrepreneurs.”

Confidence and trust

Bushnell said work is beginning shortly on a mobile version of the online resource.

“Exporters need a knowledge community before they come to a new market. There are valuable resources there for Irish firms, such as who are the professional services firms, the recruiters, the university centres of excellence and the key local experts who will help them get connected. It can also give a strong feeling of confidence when entering a new geography or target market.

Nick Marmion, head of software with Enterprise Ireland’s Americas team, said: “It can be challenging for Irish companies to find relevant and trusted resources using an online search so we’re offering clients this tailored directory as a starting point. The aim of the directory is to help Irish companies to understand and connect with the market before they even leave Ireland.

“From there, Enterprise Ireland’s team in America can help clients to hone their market entry strategies and introduce them to the decision makers and relationships they’ll need to accelerate their growth over time,” Marmion said.

Manhattan skyline image via Shutterstock

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