Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What does an 'Irish Tech Initiative' mean for Ireland?

Ireland Tech

We have been covering technology issues in Ireland for over 4 years. After 640 plus posts we have an idea what the Ireland tech market looks like across Ireland.

Our recent opening of the Startup Academy Campus in Belfast brought focus to the splintered view that the 6 counties in the North have of itself against the view of the Republic . We have been amazed over the years with the way Dublin has focused itself on becoming the 'Tech Hub' of Europe, and with events like the Dublin Web Summit and centres like the Digital Hub. These have been incremental in making Ireland a focus in Europe.

We also see a major push by the IDA for inward investments, Google's new office, Twitter, and Zynga all making good news stories in an otherwise not so good Irish economy.

There are things happening to in Northern Ireland. Emerald Valley opens its doors to new startups, Silicon Ireland's Startup Academy opens a campus for its new startups and there have been a number of acquisitions made of Northern Irish firms, like GEM . (Global email  company)

The main problem as we see it, is that there is not a co-ordinated strategy. No one working together for the common good of the whole, and in a country as small as Ireland, that is needed.

Now for all the many reasons:- politics, borders, etc Why government departments can't work together from both sides, is understandable, trying to compete with each other on uneven political playing fields (ie. taxation incentives and general size) just doesn't work. If you look at strategies of InvestNI they chase similar or the same companies the IDA does in the hope of securing them.

What we think is needed, is a private enterprise initiative, working both sides of the borders, encompassing all that is great on both sides. Non governmental, non political and focused on the greater economic good of the Tech economy for the whole of Ireland as an Island.

It needs a focused leader, who can lead an International organisation that could do for Ireland, similar to what Former President Bill Clinton did with his 'Clinton Global Initiative', but for Irish Tech.

This initiative could focus on smaller companies help with the creation of a national network of 'Creation centres' for ideas to be turned into businesses.

There are a number of people and organisations doing things like this like ITLG, and Eve and Nichola at Emerald Valley, but what we need is a national consensus with no borders, no political baggage, and freedom to integrate the open borders of the Internet across Ireland.

So now think how this could work?  It is a work in progress and your comments and thoughts are welcome.