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Europe’s largest Start-up Weekend so far just took place in Dublin

June 10th, 2014

The largest Start-up Weekend in Europe to date was held in Dublin at the weekend as more than 135 enthusiasts spanning the gamut of business and technology skills got together and created 21 start-ups.

What often gets missed in telling the story of Ireland’s technology industry – when you look beyond the economic powerhouse that is technology, the creation of apps and the ability to just start-up – is the people element.

The sheer imagination, initiative and enthusiasm of people who when their backs are to the wall can do incredible things.

Looking around a room of 135 would-be entrepreneurs and their mentors at the Google Foundry in Dublin last night it impressed me greatly that most of these people were strangers to each other last Friday.

They consisted of a motley crew of people who work in finance, software developers, UX designers, app creators, designers, writers, marketers, salespeople. They were guided by a smattering of seasoned mentors and a crew of Google workers who decided to forego a glitzy annual Google party to work with start-ups instead.

On Friday afternoon the 135 would-be entrepreneurs trooped into a room and within hours close to 60 pitches were whittled down to 21 workable ideas that required producing a full pitch including rollout strategy, customer research, a minimum viable product and a demo of the product.

Not all of them succeeded in having built a workable demo or app, but the whole point of the exercise was to learn how to build a business from an idea and work as a team.

And work they did. Over 52 hours of work went into creating a broad array of apps and business plans spanning property, motors, business networking, audio, mindfulness, e-commerce, photo-sharing, social networking and health.

If there was any criticism it would be that some of the ideas leaned very heavily on the Tinder model, but then again that’s no bad thing and they could still be on the right track. Another criticism would be that more female founders should take part. Only 16pc of the people who took part at the weekend were female, although this was up from last year.

Start-up Dublin is into its third year and is part of the global Up Global movement that has seen 1,500 similar start-up events take place in 700 cities, resulting in 30,000 start-ups.

One of the organisers of Start-up Dublin Gene Murphy explained that from last year’s crop at least five have gone on to receive Enterprise Ireland Funding and some have joined various accelerators.


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