I was delighted to speak at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s panel on the Irish Diaspora yesterday at Dublin Castle. It was the first time since 2011 that Ireland’s Ambassadors and Consul Generals gathered together in Dublin and they were an enthusiastic audience. The conversation centered around the strength of our diaspora, the respect our ambassadorial missions enjoy overseas, and the affinity non-Irish people feel for our culture and music, and for perhaps our greatest institution of all, the GAA. Paraic Duffy gave Muirne Laffan and her team at RTE Digital credit for the 100+ GAA games people of Irish persuasion from across the world will be able to tune into during 2015.
Talking diaspora and tech startups in the same breath definitely made my speech the odd one out on the day but I think it was well received. I told the audience that the global Irish are incredibly important to our startups here at home and not just in terms of funding and opening doors to customers. They also give us that psychological push forward, that message that says “you can succeed, you can go global” and there’s nothing like a mentor or two to help you scale that mountain.
So, one of my major areas of focus for 2015 is around diaspora and the many ways our startup community can connect and leverage the global Irish to their benefit. Imagine, there are 50,000 Irish company directors in the UK alone.
With the support of Minister Deenihan and his team, our diplomatic missions globally, networking companies like LinkedIn and on-the-ground organisations like the Digital Irish in New York, the timing is perfect to start connecting the dots across the globe for great Irish startups.