On the Ground: Ireland and Technology Innovation from Dublin to Galway

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Michiko Morales


That’s “welcome” in Irish. And, on a trip to the Emerald Isle, you will most definitely feel welcomed, whether your visit be for business or pleasure. I recently visited Ireland to explore diversification and expansion and see what the Emerald Isle might hold for the future of GMG. We have made a name for ourselves in helping several European companies launch in the US, including companies from Ireland, Sweden and the UK, so continuing that upward trend for growth makes complete sense as we look to diversify.

In honor of St. Patrick, I thought I would share some tales from my trip in our pursuit of taking our tech PR and technology marketing company as far around the globe as possible. So, what did I discover? Besides the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher, the breathtaking limestone landscapes of the Burren, and the wave-combed beaches of the Wild Atlantic, I discovered a hotbed of venture capital and innovation on a short jaunt across the pond. Let me explain:

Ireland’s concerted effort across its government, banking, education and urban communities is inspiring–the US could learn a thing or two about shifting an economy in just 30 years. Since 1985, Ireland has fostered its role in the tech sector and diversified its economy through an integrated approach that involved education, tax incentives and federal investment. As a result, Ireland grew its footprint by recruiting some of the globe’s tech giants–including IBM, Intel and, more recently, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. But, besides the big names, there are nearly a thousand startups in a country of only 4 million–a potent concentration of innovation. Add to that 69 incubators, 19 accelerators and 237m Euros in VC funding in Q1 2016 alone, and you have one of the hottest tech centers in the world.

Along the way, I met some sharp Irish entrepreneurs and market influencers who pushed the tech sector forward throughout the country and made waves which reverberated across the globe.

Remember these names, it won’t be the last time you hear them:

  • Plynk, started by Facebook veteran Charles Dowd–these guys are looking to simplify and revolutionize digital money transfers.
  • Assure Hedge, a platform that allows midmarket businesses and SMBs to guarantee contract value amounts regardless of currency fluctuations.
  • Wia, a cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platform that simplifies and speeds building, deploying and managing applications that take advantage of data-rich M2M technology.

Yet, innovation is not solely located in Dublin. There’s Red Hat in Waterford, Cisco in Galway–the list goes on and on.  I drove through the green fields of the Irish Midlands to Galway and met with members of a team focused on bringing more tech to the west coast of Ireland through the Galway Innovation District initiative. One stop–a renovated Guinness building located behind the downtown train station–was PorterShed. With nearly 30 companies comprised of hot desks, accelerator members and established, growing tech companies, the building is marked by collaborative, open spaces, and an undeniable bustling energy, sponsored in part by AIB and Enterprise Ireland.

The Bank of Ireland also has a strong presence here with its StartLab Galway incubator. Kicking off its latest accelerator class in February, it welcomed 8 new startups to its downtown (dog-friendly) location.

Along with fostering innovation and attracting new companies to Ireland comes another challenge: finding talent to fill the jobs. Ireland has done a great job focusing on STEM education and providing opportunities for advancement, but it needs more people to fill those roles–and they know it. The government kicked off a new initiative in June of 2016 to attract top tech talent to Ireland, with a goal of bringing 3,000 new tech professionals to Ireland each year.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., said: “If we are to continue to win overseas investment in ICT-related jobs, and to grow the strong base of Irish-owned companies in ICT and related areas, we need to ensure that we have a sufficient supply of talent to meet the needs of enterprises.  The growth we are seeing in ICT employment requires us to supplement the supply of our own excellent graduates with overseas talent.  The Tech/Life Ireland campaign is focused on attracting top-end professionals to work and live in Ireland.  It will not lessen the opportunities for Irish graduates, but will add to the overall diversity, knowledge base and experience in the ICT workforce.”

Ireland has made great strides in fostering tech innovation and growth, and the future continues to look bright. At GMG, the industry’s leading technology marketing company and tech PR powerhouse, we will continue to expand our business in the Emerald Isle, bringing our services to impact Irish innovation.

If you’re a tech startup or a high-growth tech company in need of public relations and integrated marketing services, GMG can help. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build brand awareness and get you noticed!

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Leah Nurik