Young Irish entrepreneurs to converge at Archie Talks next week

18 Jan 2012

Young entrepreneurs at the last Archie Talks events of 2011. More than 150 young businesspeople are expected to attend the first seminar of the 2012 Archie Talks season on 26 January

Targeting entrepreneurs under the age of 35, and taking a TED-style approach, Ireland’s next Archie Talks series will be taking place on 26 January at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The not-for-profit Archipelago is behind Archie Talks. It was founded by young serial entrepreneur John Egan in 2010.

Archie Talks itself uses the TED formula to share videos from its events with young people who are thinking of going down the enterprise path.

Egan said the aim of the not-for-profit is to promote entrepreneurship among under-35-year-olds through events, think tanks and community and social platforms.

Egan himself is a bit of a serial entrepreneur. He sold his first company at the age of 19 and then got involved in a few more ventures. He subsequently veered off the enterprise track for a while to pour his energies into the finance world.

As well as Archipelago, Egan is the Dublin ambassador for the Sandbox Network, the global community of young achievers and leaders under the age of 30.

Egan said being part of Sandbox was part of the inspiration to set up Archipelago, as the network gave him access to a large worldwide network of investors and entrepreneurs.

Linking investors with start-ups

Therefore, another element of Archipelago is that it matches up investors with start-ups.

At next week’s event, which will be held from 6.30pm on 26 January, entrepreneurs such as Dave Pepper of Memods, Sophie Morris from Kooky Dough, Eamon Leonard from Engine Yard, Eoin Bara from V7, and Emmet O’Neill of Smiles Dental Group will be speaking about their own experiences in running a business.

Explaining why he felt the need to set up such a community for self-starters, Egan said he wanted to make entrepreneurship more socially relevant, especially as Ireland has one of the highest-skilled and youngest populations in Europe, with many at a juncture right now in terms of whether to contribute to the brain drain and exit the country or to remain in Ireland and take the enterprise plunge.

“It was about trying to establish a consensus of what enterprise meant to young people in Ireland and to encourage people to innovate,” said Egan.

He said the Archipelago network has about 300 young entrepreneurs as members, but he is aiming to extend that to about 1,000 by the end of 2012.

“We’re the largest community of young entrepreneurs in Ireland and we’re aiming to be the largest in western Europe within six months.”

Egan said Archie Talks does have a ‘tech bias’ simply because that’s the area most people in the under-35 age bracket are delving into right now. However, he said Archie Talks also like to give some focus to more traditional sectors, such as food.

“There are a lot of young people doing extraordinary things in Ireland right now – they just need somewhere to shout about it,” he said.

Right now you can see some of the past Archie Talks events, where speakers included the likes of Connor Murphy from DataHug or young entrepreneur James Whelton who has set up the Coder Dojo movement together with Bill Liao to teach kids how to code.

Egan and the Archipelago crew, which includes three full-timers and six interns, will be launching their new website on 26 January to coincide with the Archie Talks event.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic