Dublin chosen to launch major EU start-up initiative

25 Jan 2016

Dublin has been chosen to launch Start-up Europe Week at the beginning of February, with a DCU event to be live streamed to the European Commission (EC) to kick off five days of talks that will be simultaneously held across 28 countries.

Aimed at helping start-ups negotiate the regulatory bureaucracy of the EU, the EC set up Start-up Europe to help 350 regions host events all over the union.

Dublin’s tech hub means most eyes will be on the Irish capital, with the launch event on 1 February in demand on the continent. The whole thing runs until 5 February, with a wrap-up event that Friday night.

Start-up Europe Week: All about info

“Live streaming it is big for us, as major figures in there will get to see what it’s all about,” said Ray Walshe, one of the organisers of the Dublin leg of the project*.

Walshe has helped set up events throughout Dublin – hosted at DCU, Trinity, IT Tallaght and the Guinness Enterprise Centre – to help entrepreneurs at all levels get an understanding of the environment.

Getting from early ideas to start-up material, on to funding, SME and beyond is a route fraught with tricky obstacles and terribly time-consuming difficulties. Spreading as much information out into the masses, said Walshe, is the best way to help out on this.

“The start-up community is very collaborative,” says Walshe. When someone comes to me with an idea I often end up discussing it with them over a coffee in the Helix. They’ve nothing more than an idea, the very genesis of a start-up, they just need advice.”

Start-up Europe Week: Help all around

It is this advice that will be on offer across the dozen or so talks next week, with the likes of Commissioner for Start-ups Niamh Bushnell and Lucey Technology founder Ian Lucey there to lend their views on how to get from a thought to a company.

“Some people don’t know about what local enterprise offices can do for you. Others might not be aware of the numerous research bodies in Dublin that are there to help. We’re all there to help,” said Walshe.

Far from a funding event, Walshe said this is all about knowledge, networking and know-how. Start-up Europe, the parent organisers, run a lot of these projects.

It’s all about trying to make as much information available to the community as possible, and even short-circuit some of it.

Oh, and it’s all free.

Start-up Europe Week: Money saver

“A problem we saw is too many people came to the industry and started charging people an arm and a leg for some common sense information,” said Walshe.

“My raison d’être is to give it all for free. We just had a situation where the Web Summit was in Dublin and cost start-ups around a thousand to attend. They can’t afford that. People just need to know what is available. The help is there.”

This is all a voluntary exercise, Walshe and all those helping out have day jobs to get back to, this is their idea of help.

“There’s lots of people out there looking for the next unicorn, the next €1bn start-up, the next Spotify or Facebook,” Walshe added.

“I’m not looking for that. Instead of one business that makes €1bn, I want a million companies that make €1,000 or 100,000 that make €10,000. If I can generate volume, I’m far happier.”

The schedule and ticketing information is available here.

Start-up image via Shutterstock

*UPDATE: This article was updated on 25 January at 6.00pm to alter comments made by Ray Walshe

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic