The Startup Gathering – more than 50 events to promote Ireland’s start-up sector to over 15,000 people worldwide

Minister Bruton and Minister Nash launch Startup Gathering with a National Call for Projects and Initiatives

Led by Startup Ireland, with Bank of Ireland as strategic partner, 5 industries to be showcased over 5 days in 5 cities from Oct 5-10th

4th March, 2015


The Startup Gathering was launched today by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, together with the Minister of State for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD.

Led by the not-for-profit organisation Startup Ireland, with Bank of Ireland as strategic partner, The Startup Gathering will be a national week of over 50 events held in five cities promoting entrepreneurship and showcasing Ireland’s startup sector to more than 15,000 people. Events will be scheduled for Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford during the five day long programme in October. The launch took place at Bank of Ireland Grand Canal Square where Ministers Bruton and Nash were joined by Liam McLoughlin, Chief Executive of Retail, Bank of Ireland and Eoin Costello, Co-Founder, Startup Ireland.

As part of today’s launch, Startup Ireland is issuing a national call to Ireland’s startup sector for events to be included in The Startup Gathering’s week of activities. The call can involve stakeholders either creating new initiatives or moving existing events, programme launch dates, accelerator recruitment dates and conferences to the week of October 5th. Among the events already planned in October are Hackers and Founders team building events, Diaspora Networking Events, Entrepreneur Career Fairs, and a national ‘Startup Demo Day’ where entrepreneurs can pitch to top accelerators, investors, mentors and corporates, both national and international.  Anyone interested in submitting proposals can do so at

The Startup Gathering will kick off with the first ever national conference for Ireland’s startup sector on 5th October, and will finish with a State dinner on the theme of ‘Why invest in Ireland’s startup sector’ hosted by Minister Bruton. Invitees will include senior decision makers from venture funding, corporate venturing and corporate backed accelerators from around the world as well as representatives from the startup community in Ireland.

Bank of Ireland has partnered with the Government to sponsor this new national initiative.

Launching the initiative today, Minister Bruton said: “In Ireland we have great start-ups ‐ we just don’t have enough of them. Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups in their first five years of existence ‐ that is why we are taking action, as part of our plan, to support more businesses to start-up, expand, and create those jobs that we need. We are putting in place more mentoring and incubation facilities, we held Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition to encourage start-up as a career choice, and today we are launching the Startup Gathering. Importantly, we want this to happen not just in Dublin but also in every region of the country.  This is a great initiative which will build on our existing strengths to encourage more people to start a business in Ireland, and ultimately help create the jobs we need right around the country”.

Minister Ged Nash who is chairing the Startup Gathering National Steering Group, said: “The idea of The Startup Gathering is one that I have been championing from the start.  I believe it offers Ireland a unique opportunity to showcase the great startup companies that we have and encourage people with good ideas to turn them into businesses, but also to attract more international start-ups with a high potential for growth to choose this country as their base.”

“The theme of the Startup Gathering is “Start, Scale, Succeed from Ireland” and our ambition is to encourage new entrepreneurs to access the help they need to take the plunge and turn their ideas into a scalable business, which in turn will create jobs.  We also want to promote Ireland as a global startup hub and with a focus on the regions, as well as Dublin, the Startup Gathering is very much in keeping with the Government’s strategy of ensuring jobs growth right across the country.”

Eoin Costello, Co-Founder, Startup Ireland, said: “The future growth of Ireland’s economy in terms of innovation and jobs is closely linked to the performance of Ireland’s startup sector, and we need far more people creating high impact start-ups here. Our goal with The Startup Gathering is to encourage more of our population to consider entrepreneurship as a real career choice and make the move on startup ideas they have. In support of Minister Bruton’s goal of making Ireland a country where great ideas can be transformed into excellent businesses and new jobs, our ultimate ambition is to use the Startup Gathering as a key pivot towards making Ireland a global startup hub by 2020”.

Liam McLoughlin, Chief Executive of Retail, Bank of Ireland said: “We are delighted to be working in close partnership with both Government and Startup Ireland on this exciting new initiative. Our position as Ireland’s no. 1 business bank is not just about providing more credit into the Irish market than any other Bank ‐ it is also about how we support and enable small businesses and start-ups in other ways.

“This partnership demonstrates that support in action. We will use the strength of our presence at both national and regional level, including our extensive branch network, to drive engagement with this initiative and help make The Startup Gathering a great success. I’m also delighted that we are hosting today’s event here in Grand Canal Square, our newest branch which offers strong support for start ups and SME’s in the shape of co-working and meeting spaces, all freely available.”

While The Startup Gathering will complement the building of world class entrepreneurial hubs in Ireland’s cities, it will also seek to achieve a greater regional spread of such hubs by inviting the regions to submit projects to be included in the 5 days of events in October. The 5 Regions that Startup Ireland is reaching out to are the West, Midlands, South West, South East and North East.


The Startup Gathering is an ambitious project which at its heart is ‘of the startup sector, by the startup sector and for the startup sector in Ireland’. It builds on the success of initiatives such as ‘The Gathering’ in a sustainable, regionally balanced way.

To help make Ireland the best place in the world to establish/locate a high impact startup, five days of events will take place annually in the second week of October (from October 5th to 10th in 2015) in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford with a focus on the industry strengths present in each city. Using the successful model of ‘The Gathering’ the week will leverage and augment many existing events and projects that are themed around entrepreneurship, start-ups and existing industry clusters present in each city. The five industries will be those ‘strength in depth’ sectors currently located in Ireland namely ICT, Medical Devices, BioPharma, Agri/Food and Business Services.

The goal for the Startup Gathering 2015 is to facilitate in excess of 50 events and networking opportunities nationally during the week for at least 15,000 members of the Irish public and international visitors.

The week will include new events and projects as well as leveraging existing initiatives themed around entrepreneurship, start-ups and successful industry clusters present in each city.

The operational structure of The Startup Gathering will reflect the successful model that underpinned ‘The Gathering 2013’. A national steering group will be formed which will be composed of senior representatives of key stakeholders and chaired by Minister Nash. In each city, a Startup Gathering steering group will be formed and led by a Startup Gathering City Coordinator. The overall project will be led by the chief executive of Startup Ireland with executive support from the Board and staff.

Objectives of The Startup Gathering

●        Facilitate over 50 events and networking opportunities nationally during the week for at least 15,000 members of the Irish public and international visitors
●        Highlight the resources available in Ireland to support the growth of a diverse pipeline of indigenous and international high growth start-ups, which in turn may help attract international venture capitalists to locate in Ireland
●        Attract international high impact start-ups to locate to and scale up from Ireland leveraging the service providers available here
●        International Visibility – Help to differentiate Ireland internationally, increasing inward engagement with Ireland’s startup sector
●        Strengthen Ireland’s startup ecosystem  – Through promoting networking and connections, help increase the volume of service providers and supports necessary to a startup sector where high impact start-ups can ‘Start, Scale and Succeed from Ireland’
●        Strengthen Ireland’s talent base and entrepreneurial networks to help promote and stimulate a strong culture of high quality entrepreneurship.

About Startup Ireland

Startup Ireland is an independent, not-for-profit, representative body for Ireland’s startup sector. By startup we mean high impact businesses that have the potential to grow rapidly internationally thereby creating significant jobs and innovation in Ireland. Our mission is to help build a world class startup ecosystem in our country by helping make Ireland the best place in the world to establish a high impact startup. This in turn will help lead to Ireland becoming a leading global destination for high impact startups that want to scale up rapidly, effectively a “Startup Island”. Startup Ireland has already created significant momentum towards this goal, please see below: