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In recent years, the tech startup ecosystem in Ireland is booming. There are a variety of factors that have led to Dublin's reputation as a tech hub for startups and innovators, including the perfect work life balance that is the norm in Ireland. Additionally, the Irish government supports the growth of tech startups with the Enterprise Ireland agency and benefits gained along the way of its growth such as a strong tech ecosystem, aspirational entrepreneurs, and an inspiring environment.  Dublin also has a strong VC and investor community as it is known worldwide that startups hold such potential in Dublin. In 2019, Ireland has come 11th in the world on Forbes "Best countries for Business", placing above the tech giants such as the United States and Japan. Looking into the future, Ireland was named the fastest growing economy in the EU for the 5th consecutive year and as Brexit comes close, it becomes the clear ideal destination for more ambitious founders.  Ireland is attracting the top companies and the best entrepreneurial talent and becoming a tech hub itself. Here's a couple of reasons why Dublin should be considered the perfect place for tech startups!
Photo: OSI

Dublin is a Central Hub for Innovation

Dublin is already home to over 2200 startups and ranks 8th in the European Digital City Index, coming above Barcelona, Vienna, and Milan. It places first for mentoring and managerial assistance and second for entrepreneurial culture. Dublin also has a highly educated workforce and when combined with it's generally favourable economy and lifestyle, the young and newest tech talent from around the world has attracted 9 out of 10 of the world’s global tech companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Amazon.. And soon TikTok! Dublin’s tech scene is now more diverse than ever– more women, more international talent, more international funding, and more aspiring entrepreneurs! In 2013, Irish startups raised €116 million; in 2018, this soared to €523 million.“It still has a long way to go, but Dublin has undoubtedly morphed from a relatively unremarkable city into a hidden gem with an incredible potential,” says Gonzalo Sanchez from SeedTable. For SMEs and startups, the tech boom has brought both challenges and rewards. A sort of technology culture has formed in Dublin. According to the Director of JLL Ireland “The presence of existing global tech companies has also acted as a magnet for other tech-based firms to be based here”.  These tech giants call Dublin their home for plenty of reasons that are not financial driven. There are innovation schemes and a supportive business ecosystem and a mix of talent that has collected from all over the EU and beyond. Additionally, a survey published in October 2020 has crowned Dublin 15th in the world's most innovative cities, coming before Berlin, New York and Toronto in the list that considered everything from internet speed to "online visibility" and job prospects. Dublin also comes 4th when it comes to creativity!

The Economic Environment

Not only do tech companies benefit from the great working culture that is unique to Dublin, but also the favourable tax conditions. Irish legislation favours the establishment and operation of giant corporations which makes its economic environment attractive for all size corporations, with emphasis on those within research, development, and innovation industries who are vital to providing opportunity and business to smaller companies. Other countries conditions also have knock on effects that benefit Dublin. For example, due to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, some of the biggest companies from around the world are considering moving their EMEA quarters to Ireland to avoid getting caught up in the changes that Brexit will bring. Throughout Covid-19 lockdown, the Irish government quickly introduced financial assistance schemes for large and small businesses, as well as providing their regular services to companies that are particularly helpful at this time. These grants and loans are allocated from the government itself (Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation), as well as government organisations (Local Enterprise Office) set up to support growing businesses, and government collectors of tax and duties (Revenue). 

A City Favoured by Tech Giants

A wide range of tech giants all have their European headquarters in Dublin with many based in the "Silicon Docks" alongside many growing startups. One reason is favourably low corporation tax; others are generous government incentives designed to boost the tech industry. Although Dublin prides itself from the many tech giants that call Dublin home, it goes without saying that the number of start-ups is incredible. And why wouldn’t it be? The symbiosis between small and large companies working together and building a mutually beneficial relationship is a big factor.  According to Carol Tallon, Founder of PropTech Ireland, startup culture has boomed because of the influence of tech giants. “They’ve enabled innovation and ensured that this is rewarded. They’ve also spawned new startups to solve problems that arise out of tech advances that they’re not willing to live with.” At Talent Garden's Dublin opening in October 2018, Founder and CEO Davide Dattoli shared his reasoning for choosing Dublin as the newest home for Talent Garden: “As Ireland is the largest English-speaking country in the Eurozone, and is already the leading HQ for many of the global tech companies we work with, it has great appeal. We are inspired by the nurturing and cultivating entrepreneurial environment. It is, we believe, one of the best countries in the world to do business in and has become our most important office in Europe from which to springboard our members globally, particularly in the context of Brexit.”  Throughout the years, we’ve partnered with tech giants such as N26 and Amazon as we continuously integrate ourselves into Dublin’s tech hub.

Competitive VC and Investor Market

As Dublin holds potential for many startups and tech companies to grow and thrive, VCs and investors view Dublin as a hub for endless opportunity and innovation as it boasts a steadily growing venture capital firm and angel investor community. As Talent Garden understands the value of creating a connection between startups and VC’s, we run a VC in Residence program for entrepreneurs and startups to access the advice and support of experienced VC’s to leverage relationships. Most recently, we held a Fireside Chat with Environmentalist and VC Bill Liao via Zoom about his experience as a VC and his newest venture into deep tech SOSV Pre-Accelerator Program. In the past, we’ve spoken to Brian Caulfield, who gave us his top tips for approaching investors. Dublin is home to some of Europe's best accelerator and incubator programmes. These enable entrepreneurs to meet with like-minded people and provide the structure, skills, investment and support they need to prove, launch and scale-up their businesses. With incubators and accelerators such as Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund, NRDC, and Dublin Business Innovation Centre there is ample opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to find their feet and step into the tech industry with a competitive advantage.
Article updated on: 26 March 2024
Talent Garden
Written by
Talent Garden, Digital Skills Academy

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