Techstars’ Dublin Startup Week to be ‘gigantic signpost’ for entrepreneurs

28 Sep 2018

From left: Gene Murphy, Dublin Startup Week; Catherine Madden, UXDX; Mary Mac Sweeney, Dublin City Council; Vicky Twomey-Lee, PyLadies Dublin; Steven O’Gara, Dublin City Council; Kim Mackenzie-Doyle, Mind Over Matter; and David Pollard, Dublin Startup Week. Image Andres Poveda

Speaking ahead of November’s Techstars Dublin Startup Week, organiser Gene Murphy says it is all about equipping people with the know-how and confidence to start their own businesses.

If you are in any way curious about becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business, then Dublin Startup Week, which takes place from 19 to 23 November, is the place for you.

Dublin is to become the 58th city to hold Techstars’ Startup Week, a five-day series of free networking events, keynotes, panel discussions and workshops.

‘Programmes like this aim to make it abundantly clear the challenges of entrepreneurship and some of the harsh realities of building a business’

The series last year hosted more than 100,000 participants worldwide and now its Dublin’s turn to enter the fray. Organised in collaboration with Dublin City Council, the Techstars Startup Week aims to capitalise on the increase in entrepreneurial fervour gripping the city.

“Last year saw a record number of start-ups created in Dublin, with 22,354 new companies formed,” said Steven O’Gara, senior economic development officer with Dublin City Council.

“Local government is supporting this activity through initiatives such as the Local Enterprise Office (LEO). In 2017, the LEO network nationally directly invested €16m in over 1,100 start-up projects, which in turn supported the creation of 3,760 new jobs. Dublin City Council is proud to build on this activity by powering Startup Week Dublin and enabling increased entrepreneurial activity, which is so critical to the regional and national economy.”

O’Gara added that Dublin City Council has been playing a key leadership role in the promotion and development of the enterprise and start-up ecosystem for the city. “Supporting Startup Week Dublin is critical to achieving this goal. Through our Local Enterprise Office in Dublin City, we have supported over 400 start-up projects with direct funding, and provided training and mentoring to thousands of entrepreneurs.

“Dublin City Council is also making a number of its spaces available to support the delivery of the programme, including City Hall, the Wood Quay venue and the Civic Offices. Our staff from the Economic Development Office will also be working closely with the Startup Week Dublin team to assist in delivering a programme of events which position Dublin as a truly world-class start-up destination.”

Speaking with, Startup Week organiser and Bank of Ireland entrepreneur in residence Gene Murphy said the fast-paced series of events is designed to work around people’s schedules, with events taking place early in the morning, during lunchtimes and in the evenings.

What kind of impact are you hoping the week will make?

We’re basically creating a gigantic signpost for those that are interested in entrepreneurship! Not literally, but what I mean is that from 19 to 23 November, with the help of Dublin City Council and working with community builders and leaders across Dublin city, we’re going to arm people with the knowledge they need to start a business, join a high-growth business, and also support existing entrepreneurs to get the answers they need to help them grow their companies in Dublin.

What will Dublin City Council be bringing to the table?

Dublin City Council historically have been great supporters of the start-up ecosystem across the city. For Startup Week Dublin, they are bringing a lot to the table in terms of opening up some excellent spaces in the city for the events, including City Hall and Dublin City Council’s Civic Offices, which we are happy to confirm will play host to our week-long drop-in information hub. This will act as the heart of the Startup Week, directing attendees to events they might like to attend, and a constant source of start-up information. Some of the mentor sessions will also take place here.

What can we do to improve entrepreneurship in Dublin and in Ireland in general? What is the city and the country missing?

Beginning a business is hard, but it doesn’t need to be unnecessarily difficult. This is a tough question as we are at a time when employment numbers are historically low and the attraction for people to stay in a great job is high. Startup Week Dublin is aimed at bringing together all the stakeholders and community builders that are here all year round, for one week, to make it easy for those contemplating starting their own business to get the answers they need.

Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult paths you can take. Programmes like this aim to make it abundantly clear the challenges of entrepreneurship and some of the harsh realities of building a business.

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