This week I'm off to London on a Listening Tour. I'm meeting founders, VCs, Accelerators and civil servants to get answers to two basic questions:
1. What are your concerns, if any, about the impact of Brexit.
2. What is your knowledge, if any, of the Dublin tech scene.
Despite Dublin's proximity to London I'm guessing the people I meet there won’t have heard much about the half billion in funding raised by Irish startups in 2015. They won't know how easy it is to get a visa to work or invest in Ireland, and they'll have no idea how deeply diverse and talented our tech community is.
These would be fun facts to share at my meetings in London but I may end up spending time on more fundamental topics. Like how Ireland is an independent republic and not part of the UK. And how Ireland is a founding and committed member of the European Union and - it looks like - soon to be the only English speaking tech hub in the EU.
Ireland has a huge amount to attract early stage international founders, not least our English language. Three days of events and meetings in Berlin last week reminded me of this, several times over.
It's true, many people in Berlin can speak English, but they don't speak it to each other, and that really matters when you’re building relationships and community for both business and pleasure.
Berliners I met seemed to think Dublin has a huge opportunity thanks to Brexit. But for us it feels more like an unexpected expansion in the size of our market. Before June 23rd we were already pretty busy showcasing Dublin and Ireland to the world!
Irina Dzhambazova, the Editor of Dublin Globe, has been going through our archives to see what pieces we've published in the last year that would be helpful to UK based founders. We're packaging these pieces up into a series called "Open for Business” and it has 4 key themes - Capital, Talent, Getting Started and Tech Clusters. You can check out what's been collated to date here.
Based on my Listening Tour, we may be prompted to develop some new articles about Dublin and Ireland. Will a CliffsNotes Irish History need to be added to the mix?
Lets go to London, listen and see.