Tech Humans Of Belfast # 34: Aaron Taylor, ICONS Festival

A Tech Humans Of Dublin Special…

I’m an entrepreneur, and I’ve been involved with the startup community here for years, helping to promote Belfast as a potential tech hub. In 2013, a bunch of us started an event called Friday Night Mashup, which brought a lot of tech and media people together – it got an amazing response. We wanted to do something bigger that would bring people to Belfast and show them what the city is capable of, while celebrating the talent that we have here already, and that’s where the concept for the ICONS Festival came from.

There’s always been a lot of really interesting activity happening here, and a bunch of great tech companies have come from Belfast – we really want to encourage more of it. You don’t have to leave Belfast to have a successful tech company, and more people here need to realize that. The financial incentives are definitely there, and the city’s come a long way, particularly in the last couple of years. It’s a great time to be here. There’s a lot of energy and creativity in the city at the moment. You might have heard Kit Harrington from Game Of Thrones slagging Belfast off, but there’s a lot more happening here than he realizes.

I’m really impressed by what’s happening in Dublin at the moment, there’s an incredible amount of activity happening there, and a lot of cool companies doing interesting things. It’s really inspiring. There’s no reason why we couldn’t do that here. There could and should definitely be more interaction between Dublin and Belfast – we’re only two hours up the road, and we’re all part of the bigger global tech network. We’re really hoping that a bunch of Dublin startups will come to Belfast and take part in our pitching competition, which we’re doing in association with 500 Startups. Tell everyone that we’d love to see them there.


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