Dublin’s Thriving Startup Scene Makes It Ideal Destination For an Entrepreneurial MBA | TopMBA.com

Dublin’s Thriving Startup Scene Makes It Ideal Destination For an Entrepreneurial MBA

By Temoor Iqbal

Updated July 16, 2018 Updated July 16, 2018

Sponsored by Trinity College Dublin 

Fuelled by the arrival of major players in the mid to late 20th century, including IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle, Ireland has been a leader in the tech world for the past generation. Nowadays, Dublin’s Silicon Docks area is home to such industry leaders as Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Apple and Airbnb, all drawn by the country’s business-friendly regulations and technological capabilities. This growth has influenced a new generation of tech entrepreneurs, with Dublin ranked in the top ten by the European Digital City Index thanks to its fertile startup infrastructure.

As a result, Ireland – and Dublin in particular – is now home to some of Europe’s leading early and mid-stage tech businesses. Breakout success stories such as payments app Plynk and voice recognition service Soapbox Labs, which have each raised well in excess of $1m in funding, operate side-by-side with upcoming stars. But what’s attracting these future tech leaders to the country?

For a start, there’s Ireland’s competitive rate of corporation tax – at 12.5 percent, the country charges less than the UK (19 percent), the US (21 percent), China (25 percent) and Germany (30 percent). This is a real advantage for burgeoning businesses trying to keep costs down, many of whom reinvest profits to maintain growth. Ireland also boasts a Local Enterprise Office with branches across the country, which directly funds new businesses as well as providing advice, training and networking opportunities.

Bright minds

Perhaps most significant in terms of Ireland’s new business success, however, is Dublin’s enviable talent pipeline; the city is home to several of Europe’s leading universities, with courses designed to meet the needs of the modern business world. A number of the country’s leading startups began life in such programs as the MBA at Trinity College Dublin. “The Trinity MBA pushes an entrepreneurial mindset, and fosters leadership and individuality”, explained William Conaghan, co-founder of social enterprise funding app Change.

Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial finance modules feature on the program, alongside courses in sustainable leadership and professional development. These give students the practical skills needed for business, but they also provide fertile conditions for new ideas and partnerships. “Our business was born out of Michael Flynn’s entrepreneurship class on the Trinity MBA”, said Change co-founder Lizzy Hayashida. “The class brought the team together and allowed us to focus on building the framework for the business.”

The Trinity MBA program also gives students a solid academic grounding, which is key to remaining resourceful and dealing with unexpected challenges. “The entrepreneurship modules forced me to confront my fear of numbers”, said Change co-founder Amelia Scivier. “Interacting with businesspeople who have serious financial experience and seeing the human side of finance is definitely a highlight of the course.”

Future city

As success breeds success, Dublin itself is becoming a draw for aspiring businesspeople on the strength of its reputation, with the Trinity MBA an ideal entry point to the Irish startup scene. “I wanted to grow [my] business, and I had been to Ireland on holiday and been completely bewitched by the place”, Zach Miller-Frankel, founder of A&R platform Andrson, told The Irish Times. “So I expanded from my base in New York and used an MBA at Trinity as the justification to relocate.”

That said, Dublin is not yet in the same league as London and San Francisco in terms of sheer business density. This is to the benefit of the city and its business denizens, as competition remains at a manageable enough level to allow for collaboration and a sense of community to develop in the startup sector. “You definitely feel that you're in the centre of an exciting city, with plenty of talks and meet-ups steered towards startups”, explained Scivier. “But Dublin still has a real neighbourly feel; we encourage each other by sharing information, contacts and expertise.

This openness to cooperation is what defines the modern entrepreneurial world, making it distinct from the aggressively competitive business eras of previous decades. Ireland’s leading enterprise support infrastructure, Dublin’s open and accessible business culture, and Trinity’s entrepreneurial MBA program come together to epitomise this spirit, providing the perfect combination of assistance, opportunity and education to get new ideas off the ground. Aspiring entrepreneurs and established operations alike could ask little else from a location when choosing where to direct and focus their efforts to build the business world of the future.

This article was originally published in July 2018 .

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