A high-profile ‘Startup Gathering’ event was held at WIT recently where plans to accelerate Waterford’s status as a new business hub were enthusiastically discussed.
Similar hubs have been established in locations in the UK, the USA, Canada and Israel and with Startup Gathering Day 2015 taking place in Waterford on Tuesday, October 6th, the ‘Town Hall’ meeting at WIT proved a most useful exercise for the business community.
Between October 5th and 10th, other Startup Gathering events (supported by strategic partner Bank of Ireland) shall be held in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.
According to Eugene Crehan, City Coordinator for Startup Gathering Waterford:
“This is a real opportunity to create alignment across key public and private stakeholders in the Waterford region to build on Waterford’s economic strengths and develop world class startup hubs in Waterford.
“The Town Hall meeting was an important step to engage influencers who are critical to achieving these goals and to align events and initiatives with Startup Gathering 2015.”
A well-known startup community leader in Waterford, Mr Crehan was joined at the meeting by representatives from Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford City & County Council, Waterford Chamber, TSSG, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Genzyme, Eirgen, Feedhenry, NearForm and GBR Direct.
These stakeholders assessed the full scope of events and initiatives that can be accelerated for Startup Gathering Waterford and the development of the world class startup hubs around key industry strengths in Waterford.
Under the theme ‘Start, Scale and Succeed from Ireland’, Startup Gathering 2015 aims to:
* Promote entrepreneurship and help identify entrepreneurial talent at an early stage across the country.
* Help develop world class regional startup hubs around the existing strengths in each region to accelerate the growth of startups in Ireland and to
* Raise the international profile of the startup sector in each region of Ireland to global entrepreneurs, investors and R&D teams.
In Waterford, it’s expected that there will be a strong emphasis on developing startup hubs around our key strengths, including the Pharma/BioTech and ICT Technology sectors, as well as promoting startups and entrepreneurship across all industry sectors.
Patsy Carney of Eirgen Pharma also addressed the gathering on his start up success and the recent sale of his business to US pharma company Opko for $135 million.
Eoin Costello, the Chief Executive of Startup Ireland noted how Israel has had great success in IT start ups and the defence industry.
Israel sees Ireland as having great potential for start ups, with its EU financed and government supported research and development, plus various enterprise programmes.
The success of Israeli firm Teva was also noted, along with US firm Genzyme. “Waterford has great regional strengths with the WIT and pharma industries, where Waterford has been chosen to be a hub for bio tech and pharma.
According to Waterford Chamber CEO Nick Donnelly: “Ireland has an underdog mentality when it comes to overcoming adversity in what one could describe as a David and Goliath challenge and here in Waterford, we’re underdogs ourselves given the many jobs losses we experienced during the downturn, but, thankfully, we are making a comeback at present – but we know there’s much work yet to do.”
Mr Donnelly added: “In my view, the entire south east region should be involved in Startup Ireland and not just Waterford.”
According to Ian Mernagh, Waterford Area Manager for Bank of Ireland said: “Bank of Ireland is the ‘Enterprise Bank’ for business in Ireland and we are committed to supporting the growth in business recovery in this country.
“As part of this commitment supporting and enabling businesses in Waterford is a key priority for us and we are delighted to champion the Startup Gathering, which will be a key enabler to support startups and develop world class startup hubs in Waterford.
“These hubs will play a critical role in future jobs growth for the region and I encourage all startups to get involved in the Startup Gathering Day on Tuesday, October 6th.”
Pamela Pim of CPL reckoned that cheaper housing, less congestion and a good environment makes the city, county and region very attractive, as well a good talent pool, which she has noted while sourcing staff for Agora Publishing.
A Feed Henry spokesperson referenced the “energy and enthusiasm” around Waterford and also remarked on Near Form’s arrival in Tramore.
Eoin Costello also noted how people in the USA and across the EU admired Ireland for doing all it can to emerge from the bailout, showing great energy in so doing in recent years, possessing the determination to make a comeback. FDIs and investors have noted this; hence their return to investing in Ireland given our spirit and enthusiasm.
Another comment was that we should be making sure that start ups get more professional.
The initiative is being championed by Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, along with Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, who is chairing the Startup Gathering National Steering Group.
“Startup companies create two thirds of all new jobs in their first five years and are vital in terms of the Government’s goal of reaching full employment by 2018,” he said.
“The Startup Gathering is an opportunity for us to showcase Ireland as a global startup hub and to attract international high potential startups to choose this country as their base.
“But, equally importantly is supporting and assisting our home grown startups to achieve their full potential. I believe if offers Waterford a real opportunity to showcase its potential as a startup hub for international and indigenous startups of all sizes.”