Investing where the startups are rather than where they aren’t


EI is doling out another pot of money to the South East. Now I am a big fan of EI. I think they are the best agency of their type in the world, bar none. But this regional development plan is a dissipation of scare resources. It also makes no sense for startup policy in Ireland.

Here’s how it plays out. Money is ring fenced for the South East. Now instead of competing against all the startups in Ireland the South East is competing against itself. If you expect to win a grant based on your ability to export and you can’t beat out the local competition in Ireland, how in the wide world of sports are you going to compete on a global stage?

It would make much more sense to widen the global pot for Ireland and make the South East stand up and be counted.

I know for  fact that they have the talent to do so.

3 thoughts on “Investing where the startups are rather than where they aren’t

  1. Agree 100% Joe. I checked out that EI fund today for my start up but being based in Co Wicklow (not part of the EI definition of the South East) I simply had to ignore the opportunity. This is mildly ironic given that when I last approached the Co Wicklow Enterprise Board in summer 2011 I was told then that all of their 2012 funds were already committed.


  2. A much ignored fact about Ireland is that of all the EU countries, only Greece has more of its population concentrated in the capital. I’ve been collecting information about digital marketing jobs since September and intend to continue until March. It’s not analysed yet, but I think even a straw poll among your friends will tell you that many people in this field have to travel to Dublin or the UK or the US constantly if they wish to work, despite the “skill shortages”. The EI problem is that a bit of ring-fencing ain’t gonna fix it. You need larger interlocking clusters of businesses (good old Japanese keiretsu) in your regional “gateways”. Just my humble… And I applaud the work of groups like it@cork in trying to achieve this.


  3. Without knowing any of the reasons for or against my position would be that it should be a level playing field across the country.

    My cynical side has a feeling that the allocation is more to do with the usual pothole politics than a misguided growth policy.

    Saying that it’s very easy to be derisive about government policies in the startups/technology space and after I watched Anil Dash earlier today on TWiT I asked myself the question :

    “Have we done everything in our power to educate our goverment?”

    That is not a rhetorical question by the way.
    I am honestly interested in understanding how these decisions are made.

    If we do have OPEN and frequent dialog with our entrepreneurs through the likes of Enterprise Ireland and its just not on my radar then great.

    My feeling is however that are ideas and requests are taken in, analysed in some form of Rube Goldberg process and then pushed out to the masses.

    The video I linked to earlier has a lot of great insights but one of my favourites was the idea
    Wouldn’t it be great to have that sort of transparency about our policies!!

    I know we messed up the voting machines
    But that does not mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water.


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