Ireland Inc. or Startup Ireland?

Paul Walsh talks about Ireland Inc. over on the Segala blog as a follow up to a previous post. So here is my two cents about what I would like to see created in 2008.

We don’t need to add to the brand soup of Web 2.0, FOWA DemoBar, Paddys Valley, Techludd, Barcamp, EduCamp and all their friends. Instead lets create an organisation to represent ourselves, the entrepreneurs, as a unified body of people with a realistic set of expectations and requirements who can lobby effectively and with a single voice when facing everybody from Enterprise Ireland to the VC and investment community.

As a person who has had to wash the Barcamp dublin funding through his own company (my accountant is still pissed at me!) just the simple logistical benefit of  having a bank account to lodge sponsorship money would be a huge leap forward. Add to this a committee that can formulate policies that directly benefit the entrepreneurial community and provide a liaison point that can build successful relationships with Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Software Association and a host of others and you start to have something worth joining.

Startup Ireland, (a working title) would provide a umbrella organisation for all the events that currently float around as headless body and would provide a jumping off point for a social graph linking all of Ireland’s Entrepreneurs. Membership would be free for the first 12 months and then rise on a scale over three years. Membership is for individuals only, no companies. Companies will change names, exit, liquidate, get bought, but the individuals generally continue to be entrepreneurs and its the individuals we are interested in.

What about the ISA I here you say?  Well apart from the fact that,

  • You can’t join via the web
  • It doesn’t understand Web 1.0 never mind Web 2.0
  • Its too expensive
  •  You can’t join as an individual (its an employers club)
  • Its not an independent organisation, its part of IBEC
  • Its only software (and hardware companies)

there is a bigger problem, its simply become irrelevant to the current batch of Irish startups, they perceive no value in joining.

So Startup Ireland, a organisation by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs who are focussed on building export led businesses in all sectors.

Thats what I want to talk about at Paul’s dinner.

18 thoughts on “Ireland Inc. or Startup Ireland?

  1. Joe

    I’d agree with a lot of what you have to say. I’d call it Entrepreneur Ireland though – “startup” would exclude a lot of very cool companies and people who can’t really describe themselves as “startups” at this point, but who could contribute and gain a lot from an organisation that was aimed at that audience



  2. Yep names are fungible. The focus is on startups and the people who can help them. But I want to avoid the ISA disease where the whole organisation is flooded with the adjuncts to the startup business as opposed to the startup practitioners themselves.


  3. If it wasn’t bad enough arranging two different meetings to discuss two different topics, I not only arrange a similar format, but I also use the same name! Sorry!

    The first link entitled ‘Ireland Inc. over’ which points to is in fact the right post for which you have expressed an opinion (which I agree with). This conversation is about creating a new organisation to help build the ecosystem for networking events – startups or otherwise.

    However, your link entitled ‘previous post.’ which points to is entirely different. This conversation is about the creation of a new Interactive Industry Association which is aimed at representing the interests of all stake holders, including students, graduates, startups, agencies, brands, technology providers, government agencies and academia.

    The latter of the two is kindly sponsored by Blacknight 🙂

    So, from now on, ‘Ireland Inc’ refers to the networking ecosystem stuff.

    Sorry for the confusion.


  4. Hi Paul,

    Yes, thanks for clearing up that bit of confusion. Might be worth posting that clarification to your own blog. The distinction escaped me, but I see it now. Also agree that a broader based grouping makes sense as well as one focussed on Entrepreneurs. I’m going to bed now 🙂

    Regarding the media group, The Digital Media Forum may be a good start, tell Neil Leyden I sent you.


  5. I really love the sound of this Joe, particularly in the area of having a single voice to lobby.

    Perhaps then we’d get less of the “but it’s only a couple of bloggers whinging” reaction.

    Funny story: I emailed the ISA last year about cost of joining. Three (!!) months later they replied with the IBEC rate sheet. €2000 a year for companies from €0-€1m revenue. They really don’t have the first clue.


  6. Joe: “I want to avoid the ISA disease where the whole organisation is flooded with the adjuncts to the startup business as opposed to the startup practitioners themselves”.

    This is excellent. Very important if the voice of the organisation is to be of the practitioner, not “the industry”.

    I think the idea of it being explicitly startup related and not just for entrepreneurs (which is so broad a group, you could never hope to meaningfully represent it) is key.

    I know the name is close to irrelevant at this stage, but for what it’s worth, I think Startup Ireland is good.


  7. I reckon startup focus is good – this is very different territory from running either an established business or at least one with stable revenues after a couple of years.

    Not sure that it would or should have automatic dibs on barcamp fund operations – but defo would be good to have it as an option Joe.

    So was that cash just resting in your account?
    [humour, Fr Ted reference, not intended as criminal accusation :-)]



  8. Now I’m confused. My invitation to talk about Ireland Inc. was to discuss what Joe has just talked about. Wasn’t that obvious to even those who signed up to the idea?

    Joe, I did post the clarification – looks like some of the text on my blog is in white text on a white background 😉


  9. uh oh, I was reading two things at the same time. Please ignore my last comment 🙂

    This is different to what I have in mind – It’s something I’ve previously thought about but I went for the industry association thing – there’s only so much one can do.


  10. Keith,

    This cash management for Barcamps or other “bank account” free events is an a la carte offering of Startup-Ireland. You choose whether you want to use it or not.

    Success comes from co-option, not compulsion.



  11. > Success comes from co-option, not compulsion.

    For sure and sincerely do mean that it would be a great facility to have – running sponsor cheques through various bank accounts gets a little messy at times. As you know 🙂

    Any update on this Joe? I will not be at the Jaipur dinner next week – as timing would have it we “should” be moving house that day.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.