Thanks to Brexit

UK based startups are reeling from Brexit. More than 80% of them wanted to remain in Europe before the vote and now they're wondering if the UK still works as a location to start and scale their businesses. Thanks to Brexit, almost every one of the key ingredients that made London a world class tech hub is now in question - access to talent, to investment, a large customer base, a stable economy, an "open for business" culture. And all of Britain's cities are in the same boat.

Brexit represents a challenge for Irish startups too, especially those leveraging the UK as a stepping stone into global markets. Uncertainty around trade policy could drag on for years, but because of Brexit, overnight Britain seems slower to innovate and take risks, and harder for newcomer businesses to break into.

Brexit is depressing on so many levels but it's also the prompt we need to enhance current FDI policy and position Ireland as the best place in Europe to start an innovative company.

We’ve lots to recommend us like language, culture, our committed relationship with Europe and our deep ties to the US. We’ve also just pulled off an economic recovery and return to growth that ensures our credibility on the world stage.

And then there’s Dublin, our capital city with a density of over 1200 startups, among them world leaders in travel tech, fintech and SaaS. Dublin still has a long way to go to fulfill its massive potential, but we don’t have a huge amount to learn from other European hubs. For its size, Dublin already leads the pack.

Thanks to Brexit we have a new opportunity to attract Europe’s (and Russia’s and …) serial or first time entrepreneurs to set up shop in Dublin. These people have likely never been more open to Dublin than they are right now, but they’re also open to Berlin and Barcelona and Stockholm and Amsterdam.

If we attract these founders to Dublin, they’ll bring with them innovation. With innovation comes more funding, and with funding comes more skilled talent and the kinds of roles that define the new digital economy.

With Brexit comes opportunity. Lets not waste it.

Niamh Bushnell

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