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).
2018 saw a record-breaking year for Irish company formations, according to new stats released by CRIF Vision-net. The figures show that 22,493 startups were formed in 2018, up half a percent on 2017 (22,380).
Running a startup can be frustrating and extremely hard, 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 are not aware of the resources that are available to help them achieve success.
This is why we decided to piece together a guide to make it that little bit 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 startup.
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?
If you are currently unemployed and receive social welfare payments, such as Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA), you can apply for the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA). This scheme allows you to retain a percentage of your social welfare payments for up to two years. You must be under 66 and receiving JB or JA continuously for at least 9 months.
Small or medium-sized Irish companies, can apply for Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000. The Vouchers can be used for the development of new products, new service development and much more, but there are also exceptions like using them for covering the costs of standard training courses or software purchases and development. You can apply for the Innovation Voucher with the Online Application System during one of their open calls. Currently, it’s open until the end of 2019.
Launchbox was developed for Trinity student entrepreneurs who wish to develop an idea in the summer months. The accelerator programme offers €10,000, a structured programme and access to investors and mentors. You can apply with a team of no more than four people and the majority has to be Trinity College students.
The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) allows people who have lost their job to start their own business. In order to receive this support, you must be receiving Jobseeker’s Benefit without working part-time. Your entitlement to the STEA is not affected by grants from a local development company or a Local Enterprise Office and the maximum length of receiving this support is 9 months.
Your Local Enterprise Office supports startups and growing businesses. Support from your local Enterprise Office including Start-your-own-business training courses, market research information, business planning advice and templates, access to experienced business mentors, feasibility grants as well as co-investment for your plans.
Enterprise Ireland offers a wide range of supports and grants that are available to Irish businesses. The biggest priority for Enterprise Ireland is to help you grow your export sales. Their funding programmes are open to anyone from entrepreneurs with a business idea that have the potential for a 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, tips, tricks, recommendations, suggestions, and advice from industry experts for yourself.
These startup events are the backbone of the startup ecosystem where the participants contribute by sharing their experiences, ideas, and problems with each other.
Like every year, there will be some engaging startup events coming your way in 2019 in Dublin. We have identified a list of events ranging from niche to city-wide celebrations of Dublin technology — all of which can offer unique value to Dublin’s brightest startup founders and rev-up your startup game.
If you are looking for a valuable community to grow, 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 and speeches or exchange views with other attendees. In order to become a member, just fill out this form. It’s also a free event!
In their second year, the Dublin Startupweek brings entrepreneurs, local leaders and innovator together over a five-day event. It takes place from 21st October to 25th October 2019. To attend, just fill out their Interest Form on their website. You can also apply to organise your own event.
The Web Data Extraction Summit Event provides you with workshops on data extraction, how to use web data to accelerate your business and much more. It takes place on 17th September 2019 from 09:00 to 18:00 and costs €100.
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 a globally known event with over 55,000 members. Their mission delivered through their proprietary programs is to empower, educate and engage women in STEM and entrepreneurship. The next event takes place in Huckletree, September 5th. Tickets cost €32.88 each.
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 like how to pitch your startup, how to start a company without quitting your job and much more.
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. The tickets cost about €17 and it takes 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 Dublin’s innovation and support for startups has expanded dramatically in recent years, the number of accelerator and incubator programmes has also increased.
Incubators and accelerators will want you 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 both before you think of applying. 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 with each, over a short time frame, to help them understand what value their company can offer customers, their strategy for growth and getting them ready 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 which are listed on their website. Their latest Accelerator programme began in March 2019. Check out their website to find out about their latest news and their previous successes.
The New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme provides guidance and support for your startup 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 on the desired location. To find out if you qualify for the programme you can read the 10 tips for entrepreneurs thinking of applying to New Frontiers.
By offering entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovation programmes, the DCU Ryan Academy helps new entrepreneurs to transform their ideas in a successful business. In addition to that, they also have activities and events to support your start-up.
The Competitive Start Fund helps accelerate startup companies that have the capability to become a High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) companies. The fund offers €750,000 funding. 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. Enterprise Ireland states that this fund is open for applications several times throughout the 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 a workplace you can use as a member with a client or like-minded individuals to grow your business or even develop a new recipe. They offer two types of membership to fit your startup budget: monthly payment subscription or a discounted yearly membership.
The Sprint Accelerator programme seeks start-ups around the world that fit each corporate sponsor. These sponsors provide mentorship and connections, besides the 90-day programme. You will develop 3-5 key goals 30 days before the start of the programme. Applications are currently open and you can apply here.
If you need a professional and objective opinion, you should contact South East BIC. By planning everything with you and trying to find the most suitable funding option for you, they help you build your business. South East BIC also offers an incubation phase with workspace and access to qualified business consultants.
Nova UCD has five different support programmes in order to support any kind 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. Also a series of workshops, events and seminars are provided monthly and topics are developed based upon client requirements.
Coworking space offers an opportunity for Dublin startups to establish and identify a company culture, without the costs of renting an office space. Throughout the year’s coworking spaces have grown. The concept of specialised coworking 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”, that’s the motto from Coworkinn located in Sandyford. There are two membership types “Dedicated” which means you are allocated your own desk storage space and “Drop-In” which means that you can drop in for up to 15 days during the month and grab whichever desks are free. Both memberships also 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 €55 to €275 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 with flexible workspaces for 1 to 350 members. Prices for desks start at €49 per month, studios and lockable office suites with 247 free access start at €650 per month. Different meeting rooms can be booked for different time spans and different needs, even the colour scheme can be chosen.
The Tara Building, located on Tara Street is more on the creative side with its colourful appearance. By becoming a member you can use benefits like access to your office 24/7, getting your post and packages managed and individual lockers available to rent. The monthly price for one desk is €220 + VAT, whereas the weekly price is €75 + VAT. Private offices which are lockable and dedicated start at €350 per desk. To meet the members and receive more information click on the following link: https://thetarabuilding.com/community/
The Fumbally Exchange is a non-profit movement with a focus on small businesses, sole traders and start-ups with the aim to cultivate an open, professional atmosphere for creative and regenerative growth. There are different types of memberships suitable for your needs. To get more information about membership an inquiry needs to be made under the following link: http://www.fumballyexchange.com/
CoCreate offers two locations: Northside at 57 Gardiner Street Lower, Dublin 1 and one on the Southside at 27 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2. Members can access each location where they 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 €650 for 3 people.
Tcube is located in the middle of Dublin in 8-9 Westmoreland Street and offers meeting rooms, showers, kitchen, and WiFi. In order to access their services, you will be required to pay €271 for a month, €19.50 for a day or €20 for an hour. Optional services include a postal service, a business address and a desk equipped with a phone. If you are interested, you can arrange a free trial.
DoSpace which is located in 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. Other than that, lounges, kitchens, a bar, and weekly events are provided for people to network. One desk costs 299€ + VAT, whereas private offices from 3 to 20 people cost €360 + VAT per person. Day passes for 5 (€125) and 10 (€200) days are offered.
FlexHuddle which is located in 232 Harold’s Cross Road doesn’t just provide you with space to work at 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. You can arrange a visit or a free trial here:https://flexhuddle.com/. For €299 + VAT FlexHuddle will grant you access to unlimited services.
Good Reads & Other Resources
Keeping yourself informed with global tech trends and innovations is crucial for startups. However, working your way 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 find a good few reads outlined below, 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 also provide information on how to flourish in the digital world and get excellent results from inbound marketing.
The Dublin based website Dublin Globe keeps you up to date with the current technology, as well as future technologies. In addition to that, they write about every relevant tech event which is coming up, like the DatSci Awards in Dublin on the 5th of September 2019.
Ireland’s Technology Blog features startups and regular news, as well as reviews, apps, and gaming. You can even submit your coding for apps so it can be reviewed by developers all over the world.
Irish Tech News features a lot of articles about the latest tech findings and ideas, which are presented in short a paragraph. Topics like social media, smartphones and also startups are covered and keep you informed.
Silicon Republic not only writes about important business topics, such as companies, enterprises, and startups but also about 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 evident above, there is clearly no shortage of opportunities, information, events, or resources for tech startups and entrepreneurs in Dublin.
For pre-startups with dreams of turning an idea into an initial IPO, selecting the correct events, places, incubators, and accelerators along with coworking space can provide you with the knowledge, connections, and contacts needed.
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, opportunities for perfecting your elevator pitch, or want to hire highly skilled talent, engaging in Dublin’s tech-scene helps tech startups grow.