Startup Dublin event to explore innovation and business opportunities

15 May 2013

Academic and start-up adviser Vivek Wadhwa

A two-day event is kicking off in Dublin tomorrow to help start-ups tap into insights from experts around innovation, leadership and growth. One of the main speakers will be the academic and start-up adviser Vivek Wadhwa from Silicon Valley’s Singularity University.

John O’Loughlin and Stephen Smith, two MBA graduates from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, are behind the Startup Dublin conference.

They are already running an entrepreneurship event called the MBA World Trophy in Dublin this week which will see 18 college start-ups from universities around the world compete over three days. The start-ups will be pitching their ideas to a panel comprising venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders before an eventual winner is chosen.

O’Loughlin said the Startup Dublin event grew out of the MBA World Trophy to get attendees at that event to speak about issues that are critical to start-ups.

“The first day is going to be all about innovation and the second day will be about leadership, finance and growth,” he said.

The main speaker at Startup Dublin will be Vivek Wadhwa. As well as being vice-president of academics and innovation at Singularity University, Wadhwa also lectures on entrepreneurship at Stanford University. His book, The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, was published last year.

At the Dublin event, he will be covering the topic of innovation and how Ireland can leapfrog Silicon Valley. Wadhwa is also set to share his insights on where he believes the next billion-dollar opportunities will come from.

Other speakers will include the venture capitalist Ronald Weissman from Band of Angels, the seed funding organisation based in Silicon Valley.

Weissman, who is also a partner at the venture capital firm Apax Partners, will be giving a workshop on how start-ups can build the perfect pitch.

There will also be a panel discussion on diversity in the workplace, according to O’Loughlin. One of the speakers will be Sharon Vosmek who is CEO of the San Francisco, California-based not-for-profit organisation Astia, which focuses on female entrepreneurship.

“We’ve designed the event around start-ups but there is something for everybody,” explained O’Loughlin. “It will be all about delivering insights with the best thought leaders who are out there at the moment.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic