A Farewell Post - Finally!

In April 2014 I received a group email entitled: Please share this with your networks! I then read about a fascinating new role called the Dublin Commissioner for Startups, applied for the job, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The most frequent question I was asked when I first came back to Ireland was “why Dublin, why not a Commissioner for Startups for Ireland?” I believed then - as I do now - that the whole country benefits when Dublin gets ranked internationally. 

TechIreland, my next project, has a national agenda and it aims to solve one of the biggest challenges I faced as Commissioner - to break through the hackneyed and old narratives about levels of innovation and ambition in Ireland. TechIreland stamps “Owner" on innovation as a brand for Ireland, but more on this anon. Today I say farewell to the Commissioner role, and this time it’s final I promise you Liam Kavanagh!

For the last two and a half years we’ve been working on promoting Dublin internationally as a tech and startup hub, and through initiatives like Dublin Globe, Dublin Makes Me and others we’ve done a good job of introducing the topic. A more ambitious and longer term strategy for marketing the city is what needs to happen next.

In a short few years city marketing has become a hugely competitive and global industry. Every city worth its salt is a tech city these days and has developed the chops to prove it. Dublin may have stronger and longer credentials, but other cities have deeper pockets, slicker and more persistent marketing, and masses of startup believers within their city and national governments. Dublin needs to confidently tick the box on all three of these things to be able to win internationally. 

The tech and startup community in Dublin is strong and deeply impressive and it’s been that way for a long time, well before the existence of the Startup Commissioner's office. Nothing less than political heft, healthy funding and the engagement of great event and digital marketers will give Dublin's community the recognition it deserves globally. Actually, lets forget about “deserving” anything. Recognition is a must if we want to attract the talent and capital to keep our digital economy moving.

I was at a wonderful Ireland’s Edge event with Philip King last night talking about creativity and the competitive edges Ireland has naturally, from location to outlook to humor and artistry in all its guises. Minister Paschal Donohoe joined us and talked eloquently about Ireland’s openness, our innovative spirit and how a small country like ours benefits from having agility. From policy to regulation to education and a strategy that prepares us for the full thrust of the digital economy, Ireland will become more competitive when we start to leverage this agility more effectively.

In concluding, the Minister recited a quote that I loved from a novel by Donal Ryan. It goes something like this: "Talk, it’s all lies in a way. Only the doing of it makes it true”. I did a lot of talking about how great Dublin is in my role as Commissioner and I loved every second of it. But what happens next needs to be more about showing and doing, for the huge and vital benefit it will bring to Dublin, and to the whole of the country.

Farewell for now dear friends!

Niamh Bushnell

Two Years Ago with Dublin Globe

Two years ago this week we launched our newspaper Dublin Globe with Ambassador Dan Mulhall in London. Those were some sweet - and hectic - times!

Now Dublin Globe has more than 13,000 weekly subscribers, and pretty much everyone I meet knows about it and reads it. DG's first editor Derek O' Connor, and now Irina Dzhambazova, have done a brilliant job. I bow low and deep to them both.

Here's a reprising of the fun launch announcement - The Dublin Globe Rocketship has Launched!

Niamh Bushnell

Female Founder? Yes!

Almost two years ago we launched the Wonderful Women’s Speakers list, a public Google doc to encourage women all over the country to register their interest in judging and speaking at events. The Wonderful Women’s list remains one of the Office's most popular documents.

Today, on International Women’s Day, we’re encouraging the promotion of women once again by adding "Female Founder/CEO” as a new field for companies on TechIreland.

Never again will I sigh when asked for a well rounded list of female founders! TechIreland is proud to track and profile these companies, but first we need to gather the data.

So, if you’re a female founder, cofounder or CEO of one of the 1200+ companies on TechIreland, just email your name to Ciaran today and he’ll add "Female Founder/CEO: Yes" to your company profile.

Once the new version of TechIreland goes live (in a couple of weeks) all of this data will be easy to find and filter. We'll also publish insights and observations on the data over time - who’s funding female founders, where they’re based, their employees, sectors, and the technologies they’re building. No doubt these insights will be important and illuminating.

Female Founder Yes's have been added to a small number of TechIreland companies already - Beats Medical, Restored Hearing, Sales Optimise, Axonista, Pharmapod, Opening and Soapbox Labs, but there are at least hundreds more of you out there and we want to make sure you're all included.

Female founders, cofounders and CEOs, more power to you! You and your companies deserve recognition and a great place to start is TechIreland.

Niamh Bushnell

Sparks Will Fly

Dublin City Council published a press release yesterday about the transition of projects from the Commissioner's office. Our publication Dublin Globe, The Brekkie and the Tech Concierge service will all move to the Digital Hub. Our monthly Mentoring for Scale program will become part of the DCU Ryan Academy.

Positive developments all, I know these well oiled machines will continue to scale and contribute to Dublin's great startup and tech community from their new homes.

Meantime, another office project, TechIreland, will become a more full time focus for me. It's an ambitious and nationwide exercise to map, track and connect the dots around innovation in Ireland - startups, multinationals, investors and hubs.

It sounds painstaking and manual and, believe me, a lot of the time it will be, but when you connect disparate pieces of data together sparks will fly.

Fiach Mac Conghail, my successor at Startup Dublin is on a similarly exciting mission. He’s got the vision and the energy to enhance and deepen the work we've started - and a winning team to boot, with Irina Dzhambazova continuing as Editor of Dublin Globe, and Sarah Leahy as Tech Concierge and Community Manager.

The Brekkie this Friday will be my last and I'll be doing lots of thanking, so bring your best bows and applause. It thrills me how willing people are to invest in the success of Dublin’s tech community and during the last two and half years our office has received a generous share of your time and goodwill.

If you can’t make the Brekkie - and it’s already looking pretty crowded - feel free to pop into the office before April 1st when myself and Ciaran Casey, TechIreland's Head of Research, hightail it to Dogpatch Labs and turn into full blown data geeks.

Last year the Brekkie actually fell on April 1st so myself and DC Cahalane played a joke on everyone about how the office was moving to Cork. I cried with laughter writing the press release for that one.

Niamh Bushnell

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