Mapping Dublin’s tech ecosystem, one human at a time.
We’ve had over 600 companies through here since 2000 – 150 of them are still here.
The building was given to us by Diageo (who now own Guinness) way back when and we turned it into an Enterprise Centre. What’s interesting is that the operational costs of the GEC are entirely covered by the companies who are here. The leases are one year long, with a month’s notice. Primarily, the companies here use it to scale… they can either scale up, or scale down, as needs be.
It’s not really about the building, however, it’s about the people. We’re very community focused. We facilitate where needed, we don’t get in the way. In simple terms, we help our companies grow: be it mentorship, consultancy, directing them towards funding – but it’s more than that. It’s about fostering a real culture of entrepreneurship here at the GEC. Startups here are very happy to go for coffees and help each other… there’s a lot of trust in that sense. The companies keep me updated on their journey, and know that by keeping me updated, I can disseminate that across the building, and keep them aware of potential opportunities. The successful startups in this town tend to be very generous with their time – because hey, they were once that soldier, too. In many ways, the coffee shop’s the most important place in the building, and there’s a real cosmopolitan vibe – over 40% of our companies are from overseas, from the States, China, Australia. The world’s small, and getting smaller.
It’s an easy job in one sense, because I really enjoy it. It’s a tough job in others. You get to enjoy the successes, and there have been many, but you also share the failures. And that can be tough emotionally for people, and you can’t distance yourself from that. I have my own startup, so I can understand what people go through to make their businesses succeed. We’ve got a small, dedicated team, and they all buy into what we’re about. We want to help. It’s about simple things, like everyone being on a first name basis. We cover fourteen industries here, about 15% of the companies are service-based companies, and the rest are in the tech space. There’s a large mix, and that gives things an eclectic feel. That’s Dublin all over, in many ways. And I love that.