At last week’s full house gathering of the Dublin Startup Leaders group in my office, someone described the government’s 2015 budget announcement last October as “so far off the mark, it was a slap in the face” to entrepreneurs and startups in Ireland. Many in the room nodded. They remembered being on the receiving end of that sting and were psyching themselves up for the next go round, on October 14th this year. In fact, that’s why we were meeting.
A relative newbie like me gets lost pretty quickly in the nitty gritty of Irish tax policy (a big issue in itself) despite great guiding documents like Sean Blanchfield‘s 2014 pre budget submission on behalf of Startup Ireland. But a simple comparison of headlines between the UK and Irish tax code highlights how much we actively disincentivise entrepreneurship and angel investment here in Ireland. For a real life case study or 4, go to any startup related meetup or event around the country and listen.
I’m still getting used to how much government involvement there actually is in the startup world here versus the US, particularly when it comes to funding. And yet, relative to large companies and multinationals, it seems that our burgeoning startup sector has little or no political clout. Hopefully, that’s slowly but surely changing.
The Dublin Startup Leaders group is not expecting to part the seas or perform miracles between now and October. What we are planning however, under the skilful leadership of Raomal Perera, is to come together as one voice to lobby government for changes that will make our startup environment competitive for investors and PAYE employees who want to become entrepreneurs and build their own businesses. And that’s already exciting.
Whether you work for a multinational, an indigenous corporation, a startup or the government itself, we’re putting together a resounding chorus and welcome you to join us.