The events of recent years have made the business environment extremely challenging – and given the current political and economic turmoil, this uncertainty is likely to persist. For startups, a challenging business environment is even harder as not all have the resources, experience and backing to weather economic storms, let alone the sorts of difficulties we’ve encountered in recent years.
At the same time, a rapidly changing world needs innovation more than ever. With the current hotbed of talent and innovation in Ireland, it is more important than ever that our entrepreneurs are given the time, funding and guidance to excel globally. At Enterprise Ireland we aim to support and enable Irish companies to lead in a changing world – and an integral part of that are these ambitious start-ups with innovative solutions to global problems.
Enterprise Ireland’s Startup Showcase 2022, held last Thursday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, was an opportunity for Ireland to showcase its innovative strength and our healthy startup ecosystem. The event was attended by the “Class of 2021” which included 82 new High Potential Startups (HPSUs), 43 approved Competitive Start Fund companies (CSFs) and representatives from each of the 32 New Frontiers programs we launched over the course of the year supported year.
In 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event took place purely virtually. This year it was both live and virtual, allowing everyone to network with a high-profile and influential invited list including investors, accelerators, incubators, public and private support agencies, government departments, academics, business mentors and local corporate offices.
Investments and financing are only part of a startup’s recipe for success. Learning from peers and those who have been on the launch and scaling journey plays an essential role in future success, and this year’s conference element aimed to address two of the most critical topics for startups. The first panel focused on “Disruption (technology, brand, market) and customer-centric innovation” and consisted of Ken Cahill, Co-Founder and CEO of Silvercloud, Elaine Spain, Founder and CEO of Novus Diagnostics, and John O’Sullivan, General Partner of ACT. Next, Karen Malone, Founding Partner and CEO of Centaur Fund Services, Stephanie Leonard, CEO of Kyte Powertech, and Barry Napier, CEO of Cubic Telecom shared their experiences on “Building a Strong Team and Funding for Scale.” The presentations ended with a keynote address from LearnUpon Co-Founder and CEO Brendan Noud as LearnUpon, an HPSU from the Class of 2013, grows from strength to strength. The event was also streamed live.
As the startups would have started their journey during long lockdowns and travel restrictions, this event was in many cases one of the first opportunities to meet such an influential group of people – as well as their peers – in person. And there were a lot of people to meet. 500 participants were in attendance including representatives from the Irish startup ecosystem, VCs and other funders, government support agencies, strategic corporate partners and professional and financial services.
As companies founded in the second year of the pandemic, the Class of 2021 has demonstrated innovation and resilience like never before. These companies have proven Ireland to be the country of choice for those seeking global solutions, developing multiple solutions across many sectors including digital health, software, fintech, medtech, sustainability and more.
Among them was Equimetrics in Kilkenny. The company makes a smart horse health monitor that sits in a wearable harness and allows the animal’s health to be measured in real time. Also included was Amnexis Digital Solutions, based at the Guinness Enterprise Centre, a digital healthcare company that efficiently captures patient data and reduces administrative burdens for hospital, home care and nursing home staff.
Although we are only a few months into 2022, the easing of restrictions has already infused new energy into Ireland’s startup community. At Enterprise Ireland we have a strong pipeline of promising entrepreneurs with fascinating prospects across Ireland including both first time and repeat entrepreneurs. The future has never been so exciting for Irish entrepreneurs to lead in a changing world.
For highlights of the Startup Showcase 2022 conference element, visit enterprise-ireland.com/en/Events/OurEvents/StartUpShowcase/
Jenny Melia, Head of Technology & Services, Enterprise Ireland.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/enterprise-ireland-startup-showcase-for-our-exciting-irish-entrepreneurs-41535857.html Enterprise Ireland: Startup showcase for our exciting Irish entrepreneurs