Looking for startup resources and events? Here's an overview of the startup opportunities on offer in Dublin.
With its fast-paced work culture and vibrant tech sector, Dublin has long been a notable startup hub not only in Europe, but across the world. Ireland is one of the top 20 best countries to set up a business in. Dublin ranks 8 out of 60 major hubs in the latest European Digital City Index (European Digital Forum think-tank).
Running a startup can be frustrating, especially when you’re stuck and have no clue how to advance forward with your idea or business.
Dublin is a great place to develop a tech startup, but most of the entrepreneurs we speak to aren’t aware of the resources that are available to help them achieve success.
This is why we decided to create a guide to make it easier for you. This startup guide is written for entrepreneurs who are in the pre-startup phase as well as those in the process of building their startups.
Government/public startup grants and supports
Are you looking for funding? Do you have a startup idea that you want to make a reality? Or are you an established startup with plans to grow?
With so many new startup projects, there has been a significant increase in the demand for startup grants and startup funding.
If you have a feasible new business idea but need some help in getting started, read below to find out more about the grants and funding programmes available.
What grants and supports are available?
Launchbox was developed for Trinity student entrepreneurs who wish to develop a business idea in the summer months. The accelerator programme offers funding of up to €10,000, a structured programme, and access to investors and mentors. You can apply with a team of no more than four members, the majority of whom have to be Trinity College students.
Your Local Enterprise Office supports startups and growing businesses. Support from your Local Enterprise Office can include Start-your-own-business training courses, market research information, business planning advice and templates, access to experienced business mentors and feasibility grants, and co-investment for your plans.
Enterprise Ireland offers a wide range of supports and grants to Irish businesses. The biggest priority for Enterprise Ireland is to help businesses grow their export sales. Their funding programmes are open to anyone, from entrepreneurs with a business idea that has the potential to be a successful startup to large companies that want to expand their business activities, improve efficiency and grow sales.
Startup events to attend
By attending events, workshops, and conferences entrepreneurs can expand their networks and connect with other like-minded people. You can be sure to gain valuable insights and recommendations from the industry experts who attend.
These events are the backbone of the startup ecosystem where participants contribute by sharing their experiences, ideas, and problems.
Every year, a number of engaging startup events take place in Dublin, such as:
Every year, the Dublin Startup Week brings entrepreneurs, local leaders, and innovators together over a five-day event. To attend, just fill out their Interest Form on their website. You can also apply to have your own event included.
The Web Data Extraction Summit Event provides entrepreneurs with workshops on data extraction, how to use web data to accelerate their businesses and much more.
The Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland (FPAI) offers access to their networking events, training sessions, and specialist working groups for members. The membership is available for Irish and international companies/individuals. Want to become a member? Simply send them an email.
Girls In Tech (GIT) focuses on the engagement, education and empowerment of women who are passionate about technology. Initially founded in San Francisco in 2007 by Adriana Gascoigne, GIT has grown to have over 55,000 members. Their mission, delivered through their proprietary programmes is to empower, educate and engage women in STEM and entrepreneurship.
This community hosts multiple free events throughout the year to bring together new and experienced tech entrepreneurs. You have the opportunity to discuss, meet and work together with the members of Dublin Startup Founder 101. Typical events include topics such as how to pitch your startup and how to start a company without quitting your job.
If you are looking for a valuable community to help grow your business, form connections and share knowledge, you should visit the DogPatch Labs in Dublin. They hold a TechEvent once a month called First Fridays for Start-Ups, where you can speak with mentors, listen to talks, or exchange views with other attendees. In order to become a member, just fill out this form. It’s also a free event!
Startup Grind is currently educating, inspiring, and connecting more than 2,000,000 entrepreneurs in over 600 chapters which makes it the largest independent startup community. It nurtures companies through events, media, and partnerships. Events take place in various locations such as Google EMEA HQ, NDRC, and Huckletree. Accountant Online is the proud official sponsor of Startup Grind Dublin.
Top incubators and accelerators in Dublin
As part of the growing support for innovation and startups in Dublin, the number of accelerator and incubator programmes has increased dramatically.
Incubators and accelerators want their entrepreneurs to succeed to get a return on their investment (ROI). Tight supervision might make some entrepreneurs feel uncomfortable, but overall, if successful, it will be worth it. Accelerators and incubators could be the kick-start your company needs.
Dublin has some fantastic incubators and accelerators, but it’s important to know the difference between the two before you apply. So what is the difference?
What's the difference?
Incubators are for early-stage startups
Suggested by the name, incubators nurture the growth of early-stage startups or new companies. Incubators typically provide startups with shared office spaces, mentoring, low seed funding and networking opportunities. Some incubators even offer private working spaces.
Accelerators are for companies that have the potential to grow
Accelerator programmes are geared towards promising companies that wish to grow. As well as offering mentorship and office spaces, another critical distinction between the two is that accelerators usually provide seed funding in exchange for equity in the company.
Startups accepted into an accelerator can expect to spend several months improving their product and customer knowledge
NDRC builds and invests in the most promising early-stage technology-based startups with the goal of succeeding internationally. Once a company joins NDRC, the team works intensively, over a short time frame, to help them understand what value their company can offer customers, their strategy for growth, and how to meet the demands of both investors and customers. In their first ten years, they helped over 250 companies grow. They run various startup events, listed on their website. Check out their website to find out about their latest news, previous successes, and various startup events
The New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme provides guidance and support for startups by offering a wide range of services such as training, mentoring, networking opportunities, office space, tax-free scholarships, and access to the expertise of Enterprise Ireland. How do I apply? Simply fill out their online form. The deadlines for an application depend on which startup phase you are in and your desired location.
By offering innovation programmes to entrepreneurs and start-ups, the DCU Ryan Academy helps new entrepreneurs transform their ideas into successful businesses. In addition to that, they also have activities and events to support your start-up in later stages.
The Competitive Start Fund helps accelerate startup companies that have the capability to become High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) companies. The fund offers up to €750,000. The application process involves the submission of a written proposal and a video pitch. In addition, there is a Competitive Start Fund specifically for Female Entrepreneurs on an annual basis. Applications for this fund are open several times a year with calls made for specific sectors, female-led startups, and entrepreneurs based outside of Ireland.
The Newmarket Kitchen supports small food businesses by providing workplaces for members, with access to clients or like-minded individuals to help grow businesses or develop new recipes. They offer two types of membership to fit your startup budget: a monthly payment subscription or a discounted yearly membership.
The Sprint Accelerator 90 day programme seeks startups around the world to match with a corporate sponsor who provide mentorship and connections. You will develop 3-5 key goals 30 days before the start of the programme.
If you need a professional and objective opinion, you should contact South East BIC. They help startup entrepreneurs plan their businesses, advise on the most suitable funding options, and offer an incubation phase with workspace and access to qualified business consultants.
Nova UCD has five different support programmes in order to support all kinds of start-up. These programmes are for entrepreneurs, researchers, students, businesses, and those who need investments. They offer facilities like office units, labs, co-working spaces, meeting rooms, and a coffee shop for startups. They also run a series of workshops, events, and seminars, which are provided monthly. The topics for these are developed based upon client requirements.
Co-working spaces offer an opportunity for Dublin startups to establish and identify a company culture, without the costs of renting an office space. Throughout the years, the number of co-working spaces has grown. The concept of specialised co-working communities has become very attractive. For startups, the right co-working environment can offer access to mentors, educational opportunities, talent, and networking with like-minded people.
“Working for yourself shouldn’t mean working alone” is the motto of Coworkinn, located in Sandyford. There are two membership types: “Dedicated” where users are allocated their own desk storage space and “Drop-In” where users can drop in for up to 15 days during the month and grab whichever desks are free. Both memberships allow access to meeting rooms. Commitment is only made for one month at a time which means that you can change your membership status to suit the way you work. Prices vary from €65 to €295 monthly.
The Brickhouse which is located in Block 1, Mount Street Lower is home to business innovators, enterprising pioneers, progressive freelancers, spirited start-ups, and multinationals, offering flexible workspaces for 1 to 350 members. Prices for desks start at €49 per month, while prices for studios and lockable office suites with 24/7 free access start at €650 per month. Different meeting rooms can be booked for different time spans and different needs, and even the colour scheme can be customised.
The Tara Building, located on Tara Street is more on the creative side with its colourful appearance. By becoming a member you can access benefits like 24/7 officer access, post and packages management, and individual locker rentals. Desks can be rented monthly or weekly and dedicated, private, and lockable offices are also available. Click to meet the members and receive more information click on the following link.
The Fumbally Exchange is a non-profit movement with a focus on small businesses, sole traders, and start-ups with the aim of cultivating an open, professional atmosphere for creative and regenerative growth. There are different types of memberships suitable for various needs. To get more information about membership, make an inquiry.
CoCreate offers two locations: Northside at 57 Gardiner Street Lower, Dublin 1, and Southside at 27 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2. Members can access either location and can avail of High-Speed WiFi, meeting rooms, and a kitchen. Additionally, they are invited to attend monthly social and networking events. If you are interested in renting a space, you can arrange a visit at no charge. CoCreate has a wide range of prices to cover all budgets and needs, from a dedicated desk for €225 per month and a private office starting at €700 for up to 6 people.
Tcube is located in the middle of Dublin in 8-9 Westmoreland Street and offers meeting rooms, showers, a kitchen, and WiFi. They have a range of packages, priced from €95 per month, €20 per day, or €21 per hour. Optional services include a postal service, a business address, and desk equipped with phones.
DoSpace which is located at 23, Trinity Technology & Enterprise Campus, Pearse St has architecturally designed workspaces such as meeting rooms, collaboration tech, and workbenches to maximize collaboration or quiet work. They also provide lounges, kitchens, a bar, and weekly networking events. One desk costs 299€ + VAT, whereas private offices suitable for 3 to 20 people start at €360 + VAT per person. Day passes for 5 (€125) and 10 (€200) days are also available.
FlexHuddle which is located at 232 Harold’s Cross Road doesn’t just provide you with a space to work but also with an energetic community of like-minded people. Besides the community, they offer superfast broadband, a kitchen with unlimited tea and coffee, a Chill Out area, and events. If interested, you can arrange a visit. Prices start at €129 + VAT per month.
Good reads & other resources
Keeping informed about global tech trends and innovations is crucial for startups. However, working through the wealth of resources and online publications for education can be a cumbersome task.
Entrepreneurs are among the busiest people, which is why information on VC activity, startup profiles, and tech events can prove invaluable resources for staying up to date. Please see below for some good reads, some of which can be delivered straight to your email inbox each day.
If you want some helpful tips for your business and your life you should visit Digital Times. They provide information on how to flourish in the digital world and get excellent results from inbound marketing.
Ireland’s Technology Blog features startups and regular news, as well as reviews, and information on apps and gaming. You can even submit your coding for your own apps to be reviewed by developers all over the world.
Irish Tech News features a lot of articles about the latest tech findings and ideas. Topics covered include social media, smartphones and startups.
Silicon Republic writes about important business topics, such as companies, enterprises, and startups, as well as discoveries, careers, and life. All in all, it keeps you updated on your work and private life.
Dublin's resources for tech startups are abundant
As evidenced above, there is no shortage of opportunities, information, events, or resources for tech startups and entrepreneurs in Dublin.
For pre-startups with dreams of turning a business idea into a reality, selecting the correct events, places, incubators, accelerators, and coworking space can be vital.
By understanding and engaging in the full range of opportunities in Dublin’s vibrant tech community, startups have the opportunity to make the best decisions possible about where and how they grow their business.
Whether you need mentorship, advice on perfecting your elevator pitch, or want to hire highly skilled talent, engaging in Dublin’s tech scene can help tech startups grow.
Kelly is the Marketing Manager at Accountant Online. Kelly is passionate about making the complexities around running a business simple to understand and accessible to the every-day person. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Marketing from Dublin Institute of Technology.