In the run up to my big 4-0 next year, I have decided to have a year of positivity about Ireland. Each day I will have a new fact or reason to be positive about Ireland and doing business here. You can follow the journey on my Facebook page.
Day 365 70 million reasons to be positive
At end of my year, it has been reinforced to me that Ireland is a truly amazing place, with world class companies, entrepreneurs, food & drink and a location for tourism. As a modern diverse Ireland emerges we can be proud that we have nation of a global 70 million people who can wear their Irish heritage as badge of pride. The connectivity into this global Diaspora will give us 70 million reasons to be positive and as we continue the amazing journey of our nation.
Day 364 Suki Tea’s Belfast Brew to become a national favorite
Belfast-based home grown tea company Suki Tea has signed a major deal with Marks & Spencer which will see its products rolled out across their stores. Leading with their Belfast brew brand, a black Irish breakfast tea, with 90% Assam from the northern Indian region the company is hoping to become a firm favourite with tea drinkers. Suki Tea was founded in 2005 by Oscar Woolley and Anne Irwin to develop a range of quality loose-leaf tea fruit and herbal infusions. The company has expanded from UK & Ireland sales base and now exports to Japan, Rwanda, Kenya, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium. The company also runs Ireland’s first and only Tea Academy at its Belfast base and have a plan to grow their own leaves at a tea plantation in Portaferry, Co. Down.
Day 363 2015 Year of Stellar Growth and Falling Unemployment
Employers association, IBEC have came out will bullish prediction for the Irish economy. They have upgraded their prediction that the Irish GDP will grow by 5.4% up from their 4.8% at the start of the year. IBEC say that a combination of favourable exchange rates, quantitative easing and lower oil prices are the reason for the higher growth rates. They also predict as a result of this growth rates will see unemployment rates of below 9%. Read more here.
Day 362 Global Irish: celebrating and connecting the vibrant and diverse global Irish
The Irish abroad unit is a small but brilliant team within the Department of Foreign dedicated to the vision of a vibrant, diverse global Irish community, connected to Ireland and to each other. In March this year they launch the Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Report . This report stated for the first time Government Diaspora policy and how the government will seek to Support, Facilitate, Recognise both Diaspora and Diaspora groups as well as Evolve its policy to meet the changing needs. Ireland is one of the few countries to have a Government minister in Jimmy Deenihan T.D. dedicated to Diaspora and reaching out to the 70 million globally who have Irish heritage.
Day 361 Kitchen Incubators Kerry turning toffee into innovation
When Eileen McClure returned to Ireland with her American husband Ray, they dreamed for setting up their own company making toffee. They were unable to find a commercial kitchen and using their past experience, they decided to open their own incubation space partly to solve their problem but also to create Ireland’s first incubation kitchen. Their Kitchen Incubator Kerry centre based in Farranfore, Co. Kerry allows food producers a space and equipment to develop new food products. Eileen and Ray’s Killarney Toffee was launched last year and 5 companies which used the incubator won awards at the Blas Food awards.
Day 360 Ireland 5th Globally for Female Economic Power
A study performed by University of Cambridge Judge Business School has shown that Ireland comes in 5th in role women play in driving the economy. Measuring measured factors including the number of years a woman can expect to be in education and the percentage of women in the workforce. Australia came in first, while Norway, Denmark and Finland came above Ireland. The bottom countries included Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and India. Read more here.
Day 359 Waterford, Ireland’s new tech hotspot
After the €63.5M acquisition of FeedHenry by US software giant RedHat and the further expansion of the star start up, nearForm has led to increasing attention being placed on the technology and enterprise coming out of Waterford. Centre to the emerging ecosystem in the city has been the help and support coming from Waterford Institute of Technology's specialist Telecoms Software and Systems Group (TSSG) unit. FeedHenry was founded by the TSSG’s CEO Barry Downes and since 2000 the group has seen 16 companies formed by spinning-in and out technology and worked on over 110 innovation or industry led projects. Read more here.
Day 358 Celebrating the role of Textiles in contemporary life
Ireland has a long tradition in textiles from Linen production to tweed. A part of the series of events for the Irish Year of Design, Lewis Glucksman Gallery at University College Cork is holding Stitch In Time- The Fabric of Contemporary Life exhibition. The exhibition will look at how artists have used textiles to consider ideas of gender, community, labour and race throughout time. Featuring works by the Irish artists Sarah Browne and Angela Fulcher, the exhibition running until July will also show works by two Turner Prize winning artists, Jeremy Deller (2003) and Grayson Perry (2004) as well as works from Anni Albers, Sissi Farassat and Slavs and Tatars. Read more here.
Day 357 Irish milk to become the new white gold
This week saw the end of EU milk quota marking the beginning of a new era for the Irish Dairy industry. Giabia, lreland’s largest milk and ingredients producer is investing €235 million in facilities in Kilkenny and Cavan. The company which produces 30% of Ireland’s milk or 1.8 billion litres of milk is planning to increase production by 63% in the next 5 years to serve the growing needs of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central America markets. Enterprise Ireland is investing €185 million Nutritional Ingredients Plant in South Kilkenny which will become Ireland’s first Greenfield dairy site in more than 40 years. The Irish Diary Board to meet this new challenge has rebranded to become Ornua meaning white gold in Irish. The organisation which represents 14,000 dairy farmers from companies and co-operatives is responsible for Kerrygold which is rapidly becoming the world’s favourite butter brand.
Day 356 nearForm early bet plays off
Waterford based 4-year old start up software firm, nearForm has announced further 100 jobs in a Tramore expansion. The spin out of TSSG took a huge bet on the new node.js language and software platforms. Profitable from day 1, the company has added Qualcomm, Intel, Universal, littleBits, DPD and Condé Nast to their client list. The company are also responsible for first node.js global conference held in Waterford Castle and demonstrates the emerging force the South East is becoming in technology with companies such as FeedHenry and nearForm coming out TSSG. Read more here.
Day 355 Easter Eggs consumption and the Shelbourne
According to the recycling specialists, Repak, the Irish will consume 17.5 million Easter eggs this year costing €36.6 million. Another Irish tradition is the Shelbourne Hotel's display of delicately hand crafted and unique Easter Eggs. Crafted by the hotel's renowned pastry chef Caoimhe Hanafin, in the finest Belgian Callebaut chocolate, the hotel donated them to be raffled for charities such as Cancer Clinical Research Trust.
Day 354 Chupi evoking Irish nature in jewellery design
During 2015 it is Irish Year of Design, one of Ireland’s leading up & coming jewellery design firms is Chupi. Founded by Chupi Sweetman and based in Wicklow, the globally successful online range is inspired by nature and wildlife. With the tagline of delicate gold Irish design signature pieces include jewellery from casts of real swan feathers, twigs and acorns. Chupi launched a cookbook at 18 before going on to spent 6 years designing jewellery for Topshop. For future information on the Irish Year of Design see here.
Day 353 Limerick to become the cleanest city & county
Today will see a massive volunteer led clean up of Limerick city & county. Over 10,000 will spend 3 hours removing tons of rubbish before getting together at local community centres to celebrate making Limerick the cleanest in Ireland. The campaign is being led by Irish rugby captain, Paul O’Connell, racing legends, AP McCoy and JP McManus. Read more here.
Day 352 Kinesense, the original Meerkat watchers
After the recent publicity about the new Meerkat app, brought Dublin based technology start up Kinesense to mind. Kinesense is revolutionising how you monitor videos allowing for the user to pinpoint significant events rather having to watch hours and hours of video using their innovative video content analysis technology. The company has been working with law enforcement and security operators to dramatically reduce the number of human hours required in investigations. Last year they were involved in unique collaboration with Google and ZSL London Zoo to monitor Meerkats, using their algorithms to fast forward to select any movement in the videos. This project could be expanded to help catch wildlife poachers or solve other wildlife crime. Read more here.
Day 351 Ireland the most connected for Internet of Things
Ireland has a long history of powering sensors and developing the technology required for the Internet of Things (IoT) from Intel’s Galileo development board and Quark chip being designed here to Irish company S3 producing the most energy efficient analogue to digital convertor. Ireland is ranked 6th & 7th for nanoscience & materials research with top centres for integrating research with industry such as Tyndall, AMBER/CRANN, TSSG, Insight, Connect & Adapt. With 7th best broadband global speed and the best climate for hosting data has led to National Geographic to name Dublin as the international capital for IoT. Read more here.
Day 350 Irishman Oisin Hanrahan’s New York start-up Handy raises US$15m
Oisin Hanrahan set up Handy (formerly Handybook) with fellow Harvard student, Umang Dua. Handy is an online booking service for housekeeping, painting, plumbing and more. The latest investment of US$15m from TPG Partners and this brings a total US$64m invested, including US$30m last year from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth and early investors including General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners. Handy also announced also Tumblr’s former head of engineering Kenneth Little as their new CTO. Read more here.
Day 349 Ireland’s health care system moves to the digital age
It is a matter of public record that Ireland hasn’t until now invested well in technology to support the delivery of health care to the people of Ireland.
And yet, as we move into 2015 the Director General of the Health Service Executive (HSE) is at last able to describe the HSE as moving into the information age.
The people of Ireland will have an Individual Health Identifier in place by the summer of 2015, as a patient we will be able to be referred from our GP Practice to hospital through a digital mechanism. Later this year and clinicians throughout the country have been promised better access to simple things like the internet and secure email.
For more information see HSE’s CIO, Richard Corbridge’s blog at richardcorbridge.com or follow @eHealthIreland on twitter.
Day 348 Ireland’s Fashion Tech Revolution
In recent years, Ireland has become home or produced some world leading fashion tech companies. The leading companies are:
FrockAdvisor set up by celebrity stylists and designers Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney, they have made dedicated social platform for fashion fans, connecting people to the fashion community and creating a dialogue between them and their favorite stores. FrockAdvisor t has the forefront of the Irish fashion tech community and recently led “Independence Day” campaign to support local independent boutiques.
Storpal offers an operating system delivers an integrated supply chain and eCommerce platform to retailers and wholesalers regardless of size, cost or technology restrictions. Storpal stops a retailer losing sales due to out of stocks items and makes all of their supplier’s products available at anytime to their consumer.
Digifeye is a digital platform which turns digital images into shoppable content. Using advanced digital image recognition software and machine to allow for consumers to identify fashion items they like and purchase them both on and off-line.
Sbaam like many high fashion brands was made in Italy but now can be found in Ireland. The company is developing a community for fashion lovers and fashion editors. Through social interaction users can discover the latest trends, receive advice and find all the information and opinions about products.
OPSH is an online shop platform built for and by online shoppers. It allows consumers to shop across your favorite brands with one account and one checkout allowing shopping experience to be simpler and faster. The company was set up by sisters Jennie, Sarah and Grace McGinn who lent on their fashiontech experience to set up OPSH.
An honorable mention also to Trustev, who won the “most disruptive retail startup” award at the recent Decoded Fashion SXSW event.
Day 347 Limerick sees major city center regeneration
Limerick will see biggest 10 year real estate project seen outside Dublin. The €100M Opera Center public-private partnership will which covers 50,000 sq m along Patrick Street in the city, facility will be a mix of retail, residential, and educational facilities. Both University of Limerick and Limerick IT will move facilities to the center. Up to 3,000 jobs will be created in new center and a further 300 in the construction phase, which will commence within 18 months. Read more here.
Day 346 Inflection Biosciences secures funding from Smurfit Family
Dublin based biotech Inflection Biosiences has secured €750K financing with €300K coming from Michael Smurfit. The company which is focused on producing anti cancer drugs will now be able t processes two candidate drugs into the clinic. The company has also been awarded the Pharma Industry Start Up of the Year Award and will industry veteran John Lynch and Michael Smurfit Jnr onto the board. Read more here.
Day 345 €115M exit for payment firm Realex Payments
Dublin based payments firm Realex Payments has secured €115M exit with its US competitor, Global Payments. Set up by former Head of IT for Ulster Bank, Colm Lyons, Realex Payments is one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing online payment companies, processing in excess of €28bn per annum on behalf of 12,500 clients. Read more here.
Day 344 Trakax ring the Nasdaq opening bell
Irish startup Trakax got the unique opportunity to ring the Nasdaq opening bell. The company which allows their 5 million users create and edit their own videos was selected for the honour after winning the Start-Up Village Pitch competition was sponsored by Nasdaq and Enterprise Ireland held at the SXSW festival. The Dublin based company is led by three siblings Catriona, Colm and Cormac Barry and have recently announced that Dale Sohn, a former president and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America, had joined their leadership team and would be on the company’s board. Read more here.
Day 343 it@cork European Technology Cluster opening doors across Europe
it@cork, European Tech Cluster a leading not-for-profit organisation, connecting indigenous and international IT professionals, executives, multinationals, government leaders, public sector, academia, entrepreneurs, investors and the legal and financial professional services communities. It currently represents over 300 member companies with over 30,000 employees. In a landmark agreement, members can now share the expertise and infrastructure with other members across Europe such as France (Paris), Germany, Barcelona, Slovenia, Cyprus, UK, Netherlands and Austria. Read more here.
Day 342 Irish Women seal the double with biggest ever win!
A day after Irish men won the 6 Nations Rugby Championship, the Irish women completed the double which their biggest ever win against Scotland (73-3). This was the team’s a second Championship and Triple Crown in three years allowing Ireland’s rugby complete a famous Men's and Women's RBS 6 Nations double.
Day 341 Ireland retains 6 nations, Ireland Abú!
After one most memorable days in the history of the 6 Nations Rugby Champions saw Ireland after a huge win against Scotland (40-10). Irish fans were made to wait to watch a nail-biting England France match to see Ireland come through as champions on points difference. Ireland Abú!
Day 340 Belfast lands place on global Monopoly board
Belfast has been selected as Top 10 worldwide crowd-sourced competition marking Monopoly's 80th birthday. The competition had 13.4 million votes have been cast from 182 countries worldwide. The landmarks of Belfast will take the red property spaces. Read more here.
Day 339 Malin raises €330M in one of EU’s biggest biotechnology IPOs
Irish firm, Malin was set up last year by former Elan chief executive Kelly Martin and chairman Bob Ingram to invest in life sciences. The company IPO on the Irish Stock Exchange exceeded expectations making one of the largest biotech IPOs seen in Europe. It was announced that 60% of the placement was bought by leading British fund manager Neil Woodford and the Irish state’s new strategic investment fund. The company will now have over €200M for investing. Read more here.
Day 338 TCD AI spin out, Artomatix wins $100K Nvidia Award
Artomatix was founded last year by Trinity College scientist, Eric Risser and serial entrepreneur Neal O’Gorman and came through the TCD Launchbox student accelerator before entering NDRC’s VentureLab. The company is focused in providing Artificial Intelligence with Imagination to allow the automation of art work for animation and games. One soldier drawn by an artist can be now transformed into an army using their software. Visual computing technology firm, Nvidia has award the company $100K prize during the Early Stage Challenge at the recent GPU conference in Silicon Valley. Previously winners have included billion dollar start ups such as Oculus Rift. Read more here.
Day 337 Ireland 2nd in Global connectivity
Ireland has became one of the few countries to see its connectivity with the rest of the world improve over the last 5 years. In the DHL Global Connectedness Index 2014. published in the Harvard Business Review showed Ireland leapfrog Singapore into 2nd place with an 84 connectedness score. This index uses flows of trade, capital and people, to show how we are entwined with the rest of the world. Usingt wo dimensions: Depth reflects the volume of international activity, while breadth reflects its geographic distribution. Read more here.
Day 336 The economics of St Patrick’s Day
Happy St Patrick’s Day! Ireland is the only nation that the whole world celebrates its national day. National monuments such Christ the Redeemer in Brazil to the Opera House in Australia are turning green. Up to 200,000 tourists are expected to join the festivities in Ireland brining in excess of €165M to the local economy. Information provided by WalletHub has shown that 13 million pints of Guinness will be drunk today globally. However, it is America where St Patrick’s day has the largest economic impact. 52.3% of Americans celebrate St Patrick’s spending $4.6 Billion or $36.5 per person. It is the 4th most popular drinking day after Christmas, New Year and 4th July and 11% of American’s plan to visit Ireland on St Patrick’s Day.
Day 335 Exergyn, world-class innovator in cleantech energy generation
The Irish startup, Exergyn has created an engine or THE EXERGYN DRIVE that can convert the wasted energy in hot warm water into electrical or mechanical power. This revolution technology does not produce any carbon or other harmful emissions and can save large technology companies or even cargo shipping over 6% in their energy bills. The company with was a part of the NDRC Venture Lab is now part of the CU Innovation campus and is recognised of being one of Ireland’s top 10 indigenous companies in terms of Intellectual Property. Exergyn recently was selected to represeny Ireland in the 1776 Challenge Cup in Washington DC.
Day 334 Celebrating Mumpreneurs – Veronica’s Snacks
On Irish mother’s day it’s a good opportunity to celebrate the growing band of Mumpreneurs who are starting new business or leading their own. Veronica Kenneally, took her love of health food and providing snacks to her 3 kids into forming Veronica’s Snacks. The company founded in 2012 to provide a range of lower fat and gluten-free crisps and other snacks are now found across the UK and Ireland. The company also recently raised almost €500K investment from Enterprise Equity Venture Capital and Boole Investment Syndicate and seen as one of the top 25 new food companies to emerge in both countries.
Day 333 Irish invade SXSW and our special relationship Austin Texas
There will be a huge number of Irish startups, musicians and film makers are heading over to Austin, Texas to bring St Patrick’s style to one of the world’s largest technology, music and film festivals, SXSW. Star Irish startup, Trustev has already been selected as one top disruptive technologies by Decode Fashion and this follows the company winning the top prize (SXSW Accelerator) last year. Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny will talk tomorrow on why Ireland has become the fastest growing economy in Europe and the policies which have made it a global tech hub. Ireland is also the only European country to have Consulate in Austin, the fastest growing city in the USA and through Enterprise Ireland and IDA hubs in the city we have being a special relationship with EU fastest growing economy.
Day 332 Limerick firm, Arralis provide Invisible Edge to Space and Military Industry
Limerick based start up Arralis have the design and manufacture the world’s best performing high frequency semiconductor chips up to and beyond 110GHz. The company has just won a major contract from the British Army to have their chips sewn into uniform to allow accurate satellite tracking of soldier’s movements and location. The firm have also been successful obtaining a EU Space Agency. Read more here.
Day 331 Ireland selects Seamus Heaney poem as nation’s favorite
Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘When all the others were away at Mass’ was selected as the nation’s favourite as part of RTE's A Poem for Ireland poll, with the results President Michael D Higgins announced the win during the filming of a special episode of RTE arts show The Works at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. The poem is reproduced below.
‘When all the others were away at Mass’
[from Clearances in memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984]
When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.
So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.
Day 330 ‘Thank you Ireland’ Celebrating Irish- Polish links
Ever since Poland gaining membership of EU ten years ago, Ireland has favourite destination for Polish workers. Polish are now the largest non-Irish population on the island. Polish-Irish cultural group Forum Polonia are now exhibiting the winners from their ‘Thank you Ireland’ competition for Irish and Polish photographers to show what living in Ireland meant to them. Overall winner was seascapes from Monika Janus, with the second prize going to Anna Gajdemska with her picture of a Polish gay couple. The photos are on display at EU House, 18 Dawson street, Dublin 2, until Friday 13th March. Read more here.
Day 329 Irish accent tops the list of favourite things about the Irish in UK
A poll in the UK by British bookmakers William Hill surveyed British people on what they loved about Irish people. They compiled a Top 50 list with the Irish accent being the clear favourite. The rest of top 5 featured more stereotypically items such as Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Irish stew and Steak and Guinness pie. Read more here.
Day 328 Titanic Belfast comes in as EU top tourist attraction
Titanic Belfast fended off stiff competition from iconic sites such as the Eiffel Tower to be named Europe’s top visitors attraction at the European Group Travel Awards in Berlin. The Titanic Belfast is a v monument to Belfast's maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in the city's Titanic Quarter where the RMS Titanic was built. The attraction has seen over 2 million visitors pass through it doors.
Day 327 Saluting Ann O’Dea on International Women’s Day
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I would like to salute the work done by Ann O’Dea, as CEO of Silicon Republic, Ann has not only championed diversity but also developed Women Invent Tomorrow campaign highlighting the need for greater diversity in the technology industry and in particular encouraging young women to pursue STEM subjects in education and rewarding careers in technology and science.
Day 326 Cork photographer becomes the star of Apple billboards
Cork photographer, Brendan Ó'Sé has found his photo taken with his iPhone 6 of a street in Copenhagen receiving global fame. The photo was a part of Apple's 'Shot On iPhone 6' gallery and has now been featured on billboards in Hollywood, New York, LA, Milan, Berlin, and Tokyo. Read more here.
Day 325 Ireland top destination for US FDI investment
In a report by American Chamber of Commerce Ireland has shown that Ireland is the Number One destination for Foreign Direct Investment by US firms. Some 700 US firms now employ 130,000 people in Ireland and since 1990 over $277bn has been invested by those companies in Ireland. The rate of investment is increasing as the first nine months of 2014, saw an increase by 42pc to $37bn with the amount invested in Ireland is greater than the combined total invested in Germany and France. Read more here.
Day 324 Microsoft to invest €134M to create “One Campus” in Dublin
Microsoft is to create over 150 construction jobs in building a new “One Campus” in Leopardstown, South Dublin. The site will house all of 1,200 Irish employees in one place. The campus will house number of European and global teams and groups as well as to the first Data Centre located outside the United Scales, which has grown rapidly over the last 5 years. Read more here.
Day 323 Dublin 16th most economically powerful Global city
Results put together by the Martin Prosperity Institute(MPI) showed that Dublin was 16th globally ahead of major European cities such as Berlin and Amsterdam in their Global City Economic Power Index. Dublin scored particularly highly in measure of equity and quality of life, The United Nations' City Prosperity Index coming 7th. The research looked at the following factors:
Overall Economic Clout (GDP), Financial Power (Z/Yen’s Global Financial Centres Index, Global Competitiveness (The Economist’s Global City Competitiveness Index and A.T. Kearney’s The Global Cities Index, Equity and Quality of Life (United Nations' City Prosperity Index). New York topped the index. Read more here.
Day 322 Cork based Marvel Artist to design iconic converse trainers
Will Sliney, a Cork based artist who works for Marvel's Spider-Man 2099, Avengers + X-Men and Defenders titles has been selected as a designer for Converse’s ‘Made By You’ campaign. This campaign celebrates the brand’s iconic Chuck Taylor trainers. Will has completed his design and Converse will do a grand reveal next month. Read more here.
Day 321 Repaying the Choctaw Native Americans kindness
A symbolic sculpture is to be erect to commemorate the gift of $710 to the Irish people during the famine by the Choctaw people. This money was collected as gesture of support by the Native Americans to the Irish suffering during the famine years and would be worth over $1 million in today’s money. Sculptor, Alex Pentek ‘Kindred Spirit’ design has been selected, a steel structure of nine eagle feathers to be installed in Bailic Park, in Midleton Co. Cork. Read more here.
Day 320 Lucey Fund to invest a further €4M in StartUps
The Lucey fund in last 3 years has invested over €4.3M in over 40 startups and is set to invest up to another €4M in 30-40 startups this year. The brainchild of Ian Lucey, the fund was set up to match companies with good ideas with technologists and product developers which can make those ideas a reality. The fund has invested in companies such as MedxNote, a mobile messaging app for doctors and Mart365 allowing real time prices on livestock and crops for framers. The fund was also a early investor in fashion tech start up Von Bismark, which has know went to raise €600K in subsequent rounds.
Day 319 Coindrum, turning loose coins into gold
Irish based startup Coindrum has came up with ingenious to deal with left over currency coins which the traveller may never use again. By having a special coin receiving machine in airport departures, Coindrum allows the user to get a voucher to use in airport shops instead of carrying the change. Users can also opt to give their spare currency to charity. A successful pilot has been set up in Dublin and Knock airports and the company is set to expand to global hubs. Coindrum founder, UCD graduate Lukas Decker has attracted some big hitter investors such as Declan Ryan and Tipperary Crystal managing director Declan Fearon. He has also been named Dublin Young Entrepreneur of the Year and picked up the 1776 Challenge Cup Dublin win.
Day 318 Dublin comes in 8th Global Tech Cities Survey
Property consultants Savills survey of world cities has placed Dublin 8th in terms of Tech Cities. The scores were measured according to five metrics: business environment, tech environment, quality of life, talent pool and property affordability. Dublin beat out Berlin due to presence of tech multination, corporate tax rate and the Web Summit. Read more here.
Day 317 Ireland in Global Top 20 for fastest growing economies
In the Bloomberg analysis of forecasted GDP has placed Ireland in 18th alongside Mexico and Signapore with 3.2% predicted increase in GDP in 2015. Poland is the only other EU country in the top 20. Read more here.
Day 316 Ireland at the leading edge of Sports Tech Start Ups
Ireland has always been passionate about sports and this passion has been translated into business with exciting world class start ups emerging in various fields from software, nutrition, internet of things to media content. I have list examples of these companies which are completing on the global stage for Ireland!
Game Golf Galway based firm with the world's first automatic shot tracking system for golfers. The company had a huge boost last year when President Obama was seen wearing their device
Kitman Labs Dublin based company building the World's most advanced athlete management system to reduce the risk of injury within professional sports. Backed by Irish rugby star, Jamie Heaslip the company has expanded into the US
Orecco Sligo based firm provide biomarker analysis for world leading athletes, federations and professional franchises clients Newcastle FC, Formula 1 and several golf players.
Pundit Arena Cork based a sports media website powered by articulate fans, and aspiring and experienced sports writers. The start up had global success with their “19-guys-you-always-see-at-five-a-side” which went viral last year
Wyldsson Dublin based Sports Nutrition providing healthy snacks to high performance sport people which now list Irish, English and Scottish National rugby teams, Team Sky Cycling, pro-snowboarder Aimee Fuller, stars of LA Lakers and QPR plus plenty of golf clients as clients.
Day 315 Peer to Peer lending, Linked Finance raises its own €2.5M
Linked Finance is Irish peer to peer lending platform giving small business an alternative from borrowing from banks. With over 8000 people signed up they have helped over 200 companies raising over €5M in funding leading to creation of over 1000 jobs. Local venture capital firm Frontline Ventures has invested €2.5M to assist in the expansion of their services to help 5000 SMEs and creating 40,000 jobs over the next three years. Read more here.
Day 314 Apple to open its largest European Data centre in Athenry, Galway
Apple is set to invest €850M in Athenry, Galway to create its largest data centre in Europe. The greenfield site is set to employ 300 people and is to serve Apple’s online services such as iTunes. The site will use renewable energy and will be linked up to a similar site in Denmark. Read more here.
Day 313 Brazilian love letter to Cork and UCC
23 year old Brazilian student, Raul Soares has created a video to express his love to the city of Cork and the University. The civil engineering student spends a day going around the Campus and city showing big love for the sites and the people of Cork. Watch the video here:
Day 312 New ‘Blue Sky’ Labs in Waterford to fight blindness
The Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have launched two new laboratories to fight blindness with a €4M investment from WIT, Howard Foundation and Nutrasight. The two new labs will assist the Macular Pigment research of Prof John Nolan which is developing more efficient methods for harvesting lutein, a nutrient essential for optimal vision and protection against the leading case of blindness, age-related macular degeneration. Read more here.
Day 311 Harvard Business Review Digital Evolution Index has Ireland as a STAND OUT economy
Harvard Business Review created a Digital Evolution Index via The Fletcher School at Tufts University to see the current status of digital economies and which are moving the fastest. The Index has Ireland as one of the top performing our STAND OUT meaning Ireland has shown high levels of digital development in the past and continues to remain on an upward trajectory. Other countries in this classification include USA, Singapore, Israel, Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand and UAE. Read more here.
Day 310 FarmFlo software solutions to the farmer designed by farmers
Founded by Donegal brothers, Jason and Gareth Devenney in 2011, FarmFlo was created to help farmers keep up to date with the paperwork. With local and EU regulations farmers can be weighted down with paperwork and using their framing background the brothers developed a software solution to allow farmers update their data realtime dramatically reducing the time required for reporting. The startup has seen popularity of their product both in Ireland and UK and was recently officially approved by Department of Agriculture for farming software. Read more here.
Day 309 VC investment soars by 41% in Irish firms in 2014
Last year saw a huge increase in venture capital investment in Irish firms. A total of €401M was invested in Irish start-ups according to VenturePulse survey by the Irish Venture Capital Association; this was 41% increase from 2013. Since 2008, over 1000 companies have raised €2.1bn in capital. Read more here.
Day 308 Irish Scientists have Multiple Sclerosis breakthrough
Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have led an international group to develop a new drug to treat Multiple Sclerosis. The drug, MCC950 was discovered to stop the inflammation response (via NLRP3) at very early stage allowing the treatment of many conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, blood poisoning and a rare Muckle-Wells syndrome which can cause progressive hearing loss and kidney damage. The group led by Prof Luke O’Neill sees the discovery as one of biggest of his career and the group are forming a company to further develop the drug further. Luke’s discoveries have previous use to form one of Ireland’s most successful biotechs, Opsona. Read more here.
Day 307 Ireland’s historic win against West Indies at World Cup
Ireland’s Cricket team have pull off a historic win at their opening match against the West Indies. Chasing down a total of over 300, the Irish team where able to overhaul the three time champions at the World Cup held in New Zealand. This continues Ireland’s success in the World Cup against test-playing teams after previous victories over Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2007 and England in 2011. The team need to win another two matches in their next five to qualify for the quarter finals. Read more here.
Day 306 Ireland leads the world in Female lawyer levels
Ireland has become the first country in the world to have more women lawyers than men. At the end of 2014, there were 4,623 female solicitors and 4,609 male solicitors and this comes 92 years after the first female solicitor, Mary Dorothea Heron, was admitted. It how hope that this equality will be demonstrated at partner level at major law firms. Read more here.
Day 305 St Valentine’s final home in Dublin
As today is the international day for celebrating love and Dublin is the centre of the tradition. The final resting place of the patron saint of Love, St Valentine are to be found in a church in Dublin. In 1835 an Irish Carmelite priest, Fr. John Spratt, used his Irish charm to convince then Pope Gregory XVI to dig up St. Valentine’s remains and take them home as a gift to his fellow Irishmen and women and were placed in Whitefriar Street church in Dublin. The church is opening all weekend to allow love seekers a chance to come and visit the shrine. Read more here.
Day 304 Ambisense leading innovation in environmental monitoring
Ambisense is Dublin City University spin-out focused on developing next generation sensor technologies. Using sensor technology to target compliance and process monitoring applications in environmental settings. Founded by scientists from National Centre for Sensor Research (NCSR) in DCU the technology enables automated, continuous monitoring of any process from any location at a fraction of the existing cost and the company is initially targeting the landfill and biogas monitoring sectors and will then expand into other areas such as shale oil/gas, contaminated land monitoring, mining, and air quality. Ambisense is now selling in Ireland, UK and has been nominated for the Irish Times innovation awards. Read more here.
Day 303 Metabolomic Diagnostics secures investment for Pre-eclampsia test
Cork based start up, Metabolomic Diagnostics has secured €750K investment from SOSventures, Enterprise Ireland and the AIB Seed Capital Fund. Pre-eclampsia affects between 5-8% of all pregnancies and if undetected can lead to life threatening seizures with an estimated 80,000 deaths globally each year. The company is currently developing its PrePsia technology to help the early detection of the condition. Read more here.
Day 302 Irish student wins Global Design Award
Laurie Concannon, a design student from Dublin Institute of Design has won the inaugural Yamaha GDAY global graphic design award, being selected as overall winner from 1,100 designers in 69 countries. The challenge was to create a Graphic Form of Kandō – the Japanese word ‘for the heart’ or ‘to be deeply moved with’ which is a part of Yamaha’s core philosophy for a $10,000 prize. Another Irish based student, Faryl Roberts was successful in picking up the audience prize. Read more here.
Day 301 NUI Galway and DCU receive top marks in global survey
In survey by U-Multirank, a research agency part-funded by the European Commission, analysing performance indicators of international orientation related to teaching and learning, doctoral training, research and the composition of academic staff. Two Irish universities, NUI Galway and DCU received the highest or A grade in all four components. Only 27 universities globally received the top marks and this survey places Irish institutions in 5th place alongside those of Switzerland and Sweden. Read more here.
Day 300 Bia Beauty, Cork’s innovative edible skincare products
Cork based entrepreneur Tracey Ryan has developed an innovative range of natural skincare products using only edible ingredients such as mandarin, honey, comfrey, and avocado. Her company Bia Beauty has not only won beauty awards but innovation and business awards and grants. Currently her products are stocked in Avoca, Meadows & Byrne, and Lloyd’s pharmacies and she has secured suppliers in UK and hoping to launch in Germany shortly. Read more here.
Day 299 Drone tech start up Verifly lands in Dublin
Founder of the popular Taxi app, Hailo, Jay Bregman is setting up a new drone tech company which have its engineering and operation staff in Dublin. Verifly will aim to become the world's central "verification" control systems for drones as expected that there will an exponential increase in the number of drones over already crowded skies. Read more here.
Day 298 Inspiring Ireland, showcasing a nation’s cultural heritage
Inspiring Ireland is an ambitious project run by Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) to share high quality images of Ireland’s treasured cultural assets in a single curated, interactive website. Their first pilot interactive project "A Sense of Place" is showcasing objects from institutes across Ireland showing how place resonates through time. The project swept the board at the eGovernment awards winning ‘Promoting Ireland Overseas’, ‘Open Source’, and ‘Overall Winner’. Read more here.
Day 297 National Geographic makes Kerry’s Ross Castle its coverstar
The February/March edition of National Geographic Traveler has Ross Castle in Killarney, Co Kerry gracing its cover. In the feature, entitled ‘Return to Ireland’, the magazine has an 11 page feature on American actor, Andrew McCarthy travels around Kerry. It is hoped that the article will provide additional boost to the number of American visitors to Ireland which was increased by 13% last year making 2014 the best ever year for tourism. Read more here.
Day 296 LIFE2GOOD lives up to its name with expansion & investment
Galway based LIFE2GOOD has announced major expansion of 50 jobs and €5 million investment from BDO Development Capital Fund. The healthcare company focuses on the international sales, marketing and distribution of clinical proven healthcare brands. Founded in 1997 by James Murphy the company has seen massive growth in services and James was nominated as EY Entrepreneur of the Year Ireland in 2013. Read more here.
Day 294 Hibergene Diagnostics leading the fight against Meningitis
A spinout of Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Hibergene Diagnostics has just secured €2M investment from Kernel Capital, through the Bank of Ireland MedTech Accelerator Fund, Enterprise Ireland and private investors. The company based in NovaUCD has developed a molecular diagnostics test for detecting meningococcal meningitis and Group B streptococcus in a hospital setting using its novel LAMP PCR technology. Early detection of both is essential for survival of patients. Read more here.
Day 293 Dairy Innovation Centre coming to Limerick
The Government have announced a new €25M investment in a new dairy research and innovation centre to be based at University of Limerick. In this collaboration between Government, industry and academia is looking to position Ireland as the world leader in diary innovation as this investment hopes to take advantage of end of milk quotas across Europe and the development of high-end products such as protein enriched milk. The centre hopes to employ 52 people when fully operational. Read more here.
Day 292 Brigid’s crosses and the start of spring
Although it may not feel like it, today is the tradition start of spring. Going back to the pagan festival of Imbolc associated with the goddess Brigid which involved making of dolls and crosses to celebrate the coming spring. After Christianization, the tradition of St Brigid day continued and the crosses have become one of the symbols of Ireland. Birgid crosses are traditionally made by children and are placed over doors or windows to protect home from harm. Watch this video to see how to make your own cross.
Day 291 Northern Ireland’s Dark Hedges in Top 10 World’s unbelievable places
The country road with intertwined trees know as Dark Hedges outside Ballymoney, Co Antrim has been voted in the Top 10 out of this world places by users of Skyscanner. Many people will recognise the road from film of HBO’s Game of Throne as it featured several times. Read more here.
Day 290 Theya lingerie, innovation for cancer patients
Theya lingerie has launched their product range for post-operative lingerie suitable for women who are recovering from breast cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery and/or undergoing radiotherapy treatment at Salon International de la Lingerie fair in Paris. The lingerie is seam and wire-free and is made from innovative material OEKO-TEX® which is derived from Bamboo and is 300% more absorbent than cotton, wickable and has anti-bacterial properties all of which help with the healing process. The company founded by Ciara Donlon is based at NovaUCD and is taking advantage of the clinical research capabilities at the university. Theya’s products will be available in Arnotts in Dublin from February or from their company website. Read more here.
Day 288 Ireland 3rd easiest place to do business in!
Ireland has came out 3rd in a Global survey of 81 countries in terms of doing business for multinationals with Jersey and Hong Kong taking the top spot. TMF Group’s Global Benchmark Complexity Index. Ireland’s ranking to set to improve in 2015 with new legistation being put in place allowing companies to be incorporated with one director instead of current two directors. Read more here.
Day 287 Oneview Healthcare signs major deal with Dubai Hospitals
Dublin based, Oneview Healthcare has signed a major deal with two hospitals in Dubai. The Mediclinic City Hospital and Mediclinic Welcare Hospital will take up Oneview’s products by March allowing the hospital IT system to integrate across devices such as bedside terminals, televisions, tablets and smartphones. This allows patients to book appointments, receive educational material specific to their condition and access test results. The company had previously rolled out deals in the US and Australia and this is their first Middle Eastern contract. Read more here.
Day 286 UCD Michael Smurfit Business School soars in Global MBA rankings
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s MBA programme has seen a huge increase in the Global ranking complied by the Financial Times. The only Irish school in the ranking, the school has risen 18 places in the rankings and is now ranked 73rd in the world and the programme seen as 9th in the world in terms of value for money. Read more here.
Day 285 Irish Olympic Skier, Kirsty McGarry takes first GS win
Irish Olympic Skier, Kirsty McGarry has made history in by placing 1st in the Grand Slalom at the infamous ‘inferno’ race in Mürren in the Swiss Alps. Kirsty became the first non-Swiss or German do do. The race is the longest downhill in the world (15.8km) while over 1800 competitors took part and Kirsty finished less than a second ahead of nearest challenger Nicole Almer and 9th overall. Read more here.
Day 284 Two Irish B&B’s in World Top 10
Ireland’s legendary hospitality has been demonstrated again by two Irish bed & breakfasts being named in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice 2015 awards Global Top 10 B&Bs. Shona Coach House in Portrush, Co Antrim was ranked 2nd in the world by travellers reviews on TripAdvisor. The Down Yonder B&B at Rossess Point, Co Silgo came out 10th in the ranking. Read more here.
Day 283 Brite:Bill sees North American expansion
Irish billing software company, Brite:Bill is adding an extra 100 staff after winning a major North American contract. With offices in Dublin, London, Shanghai and San Francisco, the company provides a hassle-free solution to customer billing and were award Cool Vendor Award by Gartner in 2014. Read more here.
Day 282 Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh & Sugru named among CNN’s Tech Superheroes
Entrepreneur Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh and her company Sugru has been named among 7 Tech Superheroes by CNN. Driven by desire to fix items rather than throw them when at college, Jane came up with moldable glue that can fix to anything and converts to strong, flexible overnight. Read more here.
Day 281 World Aviation Financiers gather in Dublin
Ireland continues to secure its place as the global centre for aircraft leasing and financing. This week sees over 1,200 aircraft finance professionals from 65 countries will gather in Dublin for the most important conference for aviation finance. Several of the global leaders in aircraft leasing are headquartered in Ireland with one in five of the world’s commercial aircraft managed from Ireland. Read more here.
Day 280 Taking Surf Boards to California
Northern Irish brothers Chris and Ricky Martin have just return from an investment trip to the West Coast with NI Tech Mission. After running the successful Alive Surf School in Portrush, the brothers came up with a new innovation for learner surf board or foamies to make the more robust and environmental friendly. Their Skunk Works Surfboard Company based in Coleraine has now have a patent pending process to develop an almost indestructible surf board that doesn’t uses glues or adhesives and had been described as a “yoga mat on steroids”. Read more here.
Day 279 Ireland has the 7th fastest broadband globally
A new report from Akamai called State of the Internet has Ireland ranked in the top tier of global broadband. Coming 7th globally and 4th in Europe, Ireland has faster broadband than UK, Norway and Germany. Read more here.
Day 278 Dublin voted 5th best Globally for Shopping
Dublin shops rank amongst the best in the world. Readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine rated Dublin above London, Paris or New York. The magazine singled out the capital’s 'Creative Quarter' as a must-see, heaping praise on the area's eclectic mix of shops, cafes, galleries and restaurants. Barcelona, Philadelphia, Hong Kong and Chicago round out the top 5. Read more here.
Day 277 Veryan secures €23.5M investment for self expanding stent tech
Galway based medtech firm Veryan has raised €23.5M ($27.4M) to advance its next generation self-expanding stent which is in the rapid growing peripheral stent market to treat narrowing or blocking of blood vessels. The investment round led by Imperial Innovations led the round along with co-investors Invesco Asset Management, Seroba Kernel and Seven Mile. Veryan’s first product BioMimics stent as a helical shape that more closely mimics blood vessels' natural shape, improving blood flow and providing greater flexibility, kink and fracture resistance compared to traditional stents. Read more here.
Day 276 Oscar Nominations for Irish films
The Oscar nominations saw Irish nominated in three categories. Song of the Sea from Cartoon Saloon, an animation firm based in Kilkenny, is in the running for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Dublin production designer, Annie Atkins was nominated for Best Design and production award for Grand Budapest Hotel. Finally Northern Irish short film called Boogaloo and Graham has been nominated for Best Short Film. Read more here.
Day 275 Irish food & drink exports hit €10.5 Billion in 2014
Irish food & drink exports had a bumper 2014, increasing by 4% to €10.5B, meaning €200M of goods were exported every week last year. Irish Whiskey was one of the strongest performers with 7M cases of whiskey exported in 2014, this is expected to grow to 25M by 2030. The Asian market has become Ireland lead market outside the EU with a massive 45% increase in exports to €850M. Read more here.
Day 274 NDRC companies raise €37M & create 200 jobs
Ireland’s leading start up accelerator and investor, NDRC, saw their portfolio companies raised €37M in additional investments in 2014. Big investments include Adama Innovations, which raised €600,000, Adaptics (Drop), which raised €2M, NVMdurance, which raised €600K, Pharmapod, which raised €750,000K, and Video Elephant, which raised €1M. Their portfolios companies now employ 500 people a jump of 200 from last year. NDRC portfolio also includes companies such as NewsWhip, Boxever, FieldAware, LogEntries and Soundwave. Read more here.
Day 273 Enterprise Ireland client companies create record level of jobs
Enterprise Ireland client companies created almost 20,000 jobs last year. The total number of people employed in Enterprise Ireland client companies now stands at 180,072. Internationally Traded Services & Software Sector for the second year in the row had the largest increase in jobs. Read more here.
Day 272 Green Shoots Programme for Cork’s emerging entrepreneurs
Now in its fifth year, the Green Shoots program is a dynamic program for helping emerging entrepreneurs in Cork. Based at the Macroom Enterprise Centre, budding entrepreneurs are provided with free shared office space, weekly training workshops and guidance from established entrepreneurs. Alumni of the program include Attila Magyar from Mamukko, a company which turns sails from tall ships in ethically designed luggage and bags. Also Ed Donovan from Advanced Medical Screening, a leading provider of cardiac screening in Ireland with GPA, Laya Healthcare and Irish Rugby as clients. Applications for this year program close on 21st January. Read more here.
Day 271 Cork Airport, leading global innovator
Cork Airport has yet again came up with a world first, the airport’s app available on iTunes and Google Play is now allowing live fight tracking, showing aircraft route, speed, type of aircraft, altitude, distance traveled and total distance to destination. The App has also a live map of flights in and out of Cork Airport in real time all provided by Flighttracker24. This innovation comes after Cork Airport became the first airport in Ireland to make Google Indoor maps available for all of its public areas. Read more here.
Day 270 BT Young Scientist showcasing the next generation of world class scientists and entrepreneurs
Last night saw Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy from Coláiste Treasa in Cork being declared the winners of BT Young Scientists of 2015 for their study on the parental effects of alcohol consumption. The competition which is over 50th has produced winners which have gone on to be world class scientists and entrepreneurs. Recently examples include Patrick Collison who with his brother went to formvone of Ireland’s most exciting start-ups, Stripe in Silicon Valley. Runners up in 2009, Eimear O'Carroll and Rhona Togher have founded a company from their project, Restored Hearing for the treatment of tinnitus. Winners of 2013, Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow went on to have international success winning Google’s Science Fair last year. Read more here.
Day 269 Fountain Healthcare creates Ireland’s largest LifeScience fund
Irish venture capital fund, Fountain Healthcare has raised a second fund of €85M to invest in the areas of specialty pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and diagnostics. They expect to invest in between 10 and 15 companies mostly in Europe but also balancing with opportunities in the US. Fountain has €158M under management, making them the largest lifesciences funders in Ireland and they are looking to expand this current fund to €125M. Read more here.
Day 268 Irish StartUps numbers soar in 2014
Last year saw the largest increase of new companies forming since the banking crisis. Figures provided by Vision-Net showed that nearly 18,000 new companies were registered. The figures show that many industries such as IT, 2014 was biggest year for Startups since 2000. Read more here.
Day 267 Irish Law Firms amongst the world’s best for M&A
Three Irish law firms have rocketed up the European rankings by Thomson Reuters based on M&A activity. Top placing was A&L Goodbody coming in at 18th with a total of $64.77bn (€54bn) value of M&A advised on last year. Matheson was ranked 20th and Arthur Cox came in at 22nd. Read more here.
Day 266 IDA Ireland shows strong 2014 results with record breaking jobs
IDA Ireland, the Irish government agency responsible for attracting FDI in their annual summary have shown they have created 15,012 new jobs with a record breaking 174,488 people employed in their client firms. IDA estimates that for every 10 jobs generated by FDI another seven are generated in the wider economy. Their results also show 88 first time investors firms setting up in Ireland. Read more here.
Day 265 Irish Beef back on US menus
The import ban of Irish beef into the US has been lifted. Ireland has become the EU country to gain permission to enter the US market since the BSE scare 15 years ago. It is expected Irish framers will sell €50-€100 million of the meat into the US market in 2015. Read more here.
Day 264 Ireland 4th Most Charitable Nation
According to the World Giving Index 2014, which lists of most charitable nations based on donations, volunteer work and helping strangers, Ireland has maintained its position as Europe’s most charitable nation and increased to 4th globally from 5th in 2013. The figures show that 66% of population gave to charity while 71% did voluntary work and 44% helped strangers. Read more here.
Day 263 Irish Manufacturing Sector ends 2014 on a high
The PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) showed that Ireland’s industrial sector ended the year on the highest level since 2010. Ireland is outperforming its Eurozone counterparts with a figure of 56.9 compared Eurozone average of 50.6. Read more here.
Day 262 Ireland is leading the way in CleanTech
The CleanTech industry is set to create nearly 80,000 jobs across the Irish economy and boost GDP by €3.9 billion by 2020. Ireland ranks 5th in the 2014 Global Cleantech Innovation Index in terms of its emerging Cleantech Innovations. A report by The Greenway, Dublin’s Cleantech cluster, shows there is a vibrant community of 540 cleantech companies in Ireland across 10 separate categories. Read more here.
Day 261 Welcoming UTV Ireland
Today’s sees the national launch of Ulster Television’s UTV Ireland. Kicking off with the Emmerdale soap opera the first night will also see the return to television of broadcaster Pat Kenny. The new station has created 100 new jobs at their Dublin Docklands headquarters. Read more here.
Day 260 SMEs predict up to 60,000 new jobs in 2015
Irish SMEs are feeling bullish and are set to add 60,000 jobs to the emerging Irish economy. The ISME survey shows that despite potential future issues small firms and business are feeling bullish about their prospects in 2015. Read more here.
Day 259 One Million see the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare are one of Ireland’s most beautiful areas of natural beauty have seen a 12.5% increase in visitors this year, making a record breaking over million visitors. The cliffs run for 8KM along the Clare Atlantic coast reaching 702 feet at their peak. The Cliffs get their name from Irish word 'mothar' - which means "ruined fort" as the site had a fort in 1st Century BC. This year’s increase in numbers is largely due to the Wild Atlantic Way campaign launched by Tourism Ireland earlier this year. Read more here.
Day 258 Irish Stock Exchange is top international performer
Irish Stock Exchange (ISEQ) overall has been one of the top international performer in 2014. With 2 days of 2014 trading left the overall index has hit over 5200 the highest level since 2007. This is due to strong performance from shares from Aer Lingus, CRH and Kerry group. This represents over 16% increase for the year, this increase outranks other international indexes such as FTSE-100 (1.26%), DAX (4.6%), CAC-100 (1.84%), IBEX 35 (10.8%), DOW (9.56%) NASDAQ (15.6%). Read more here.
Day 257 Cork harbour to become the ‘Sydney of Europe’
A major a landmark redevelopment programme championed by Marine Minister Simon Coveney, will turn Cork Harbour to world class attraction by 2018. The estimated €1 Billion project will include the development of Spike Island as an Irish-style Alcatraz or Robben Island old Irish Steel/Irish Ispat site on Haulbowline Island and the conversion of Spike Island into Irish-style Alcatraz. Other projects include a new multimillion cruise terminal for Cobh, and the Port of Cork's new deepwater berth at Ringaskiddy. Read more here.
Day 256 S&P predicts unemployment to fall below 10%
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) produced a positive outlook on Irish economy with a fall in unemployment to 9.7 per cent in 2016 from 11.2 per cent in 2014. They also view Ireland GDP grow by 4.5% next year as well. Read more here.
Day 255 Trinity College amongst the top universities for employability
Trinity College Dublin is 110th in the world and 53rd in Europe for employability of its graduates in a new ranking of the Top 150 universities in the world. The survey carried out by French HR consultancy Emerging and German polling institute Trendence on 4,500 recruiters from major companies in 20 different countries are looking for in university systems round the world. Read more here.
Day 254 Santanomics, Irish most generous country at Christmas
Ireland has regained its top spot as the most generous country in the world when it comes to Christmas. In a PWC survey, the average Irish person spends nearly $1,200 for the celebration with the whole country spending a total $5 Billion. This data will bring a little extra festive cheer to the retail sector. Read more here.
Day 253 1D wears Dubliner's Funky Christmas Jumpers
One Direction wore festive Christmas Jumpers on the Jimmy Fallon’s show this week supplied by the Dublin firm, Funky Christmas Jumpers. Since the show, founders Donal McSharry and Fabio Molle have been inundated by requests and have had over 20,000 retweets. Read more here.
Day 252 Seagate leads the way, in €3.77 BN total Irish R&D investment
Seagate leads the way in investing €889 million in R&D making it 126th highest spend in the world. 17 Ireland-based firms are in the top 2,500 R&D investors with total €3.77 Billion spend. Leading firms include Accenture, Actavis, Covidien, Bank of Ireland, Kerry Group, AIB, Jazz Pharma and Trinity Biotech. Read more here.
Day 251 Building Eye secures Silicon Valley partnership
Irish startup Building Eye has secured a partnership with the Palo Alto city authorities. The company has developed a data visualisation tool for government that maps planning applications, building permits, capital projects and building code infringements. The tool is also accessible by the public allow them the freedom to find out and to be updated about local planning. Founded by civil engineer, Ciaran Gilsenan, the company has secured €500K ($610K) funding from Enterprise Ireland, Frontline Ventures and Angel Investors and is expanding their service to cover US cities. Read more here.
Day 250 Santa’s resting place in Ireland
Local Irish historians believe that they have strong evidence that the final resting place for the real Santa Claus, St Nicholas is in Ireland. St Nicholas of Myra, the Christian saint who inspired the legend of Santa, is thought to be buried in the ancient graveyard of a church in the lost medieval city of Nwerown Jerpoint near Thomastown in Kilkenny. The grave at St Nicholas Church which bear a striking slab is believed to hold remains which were relocated to Ireland by a local Norman family who had be involved in crusades in the Holy Land and moved to Ireland in 12th Century. Local community figures are hoping that the grave will create a tourism bonanza for the local area. Read more here.
Day 249 Northern Ireland Science Park set to expand
After taking over a derelict piece of land in Belfast’s ship building area, Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) has become a dramatic success. With an annual turnover of ₤4M ($5.1M), the park has been able to attract big names such as CITI and Qualcomm as well as exciting local startups such as DisplayNote, Taggled and Pure Marine. NISP also has Queen's University's cyber crime-fighting unit CSIT and ESIT, the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology. The NISP angel fund or HALO and networking service NISP Connect have also shown great promise. Now at 100% occupancy the Belfast site at Titanic Docks is going to expand to add a new concourse. Read more here.
Day 248 Ireland takes home two major US tourism awards
Ireland has been named the ‘Best Destination Europe’ by Travel Weekly annual Readers Choice Awards in New York this week, followed by picking up Best Tourism Destination' at the 2014 Global Traveller Tested Awards for the 4th time. These awards came in the same week as a glowing write up in the New York Times which described Dublin as ‘walking into a Christmas card’. Read more here.
Day 247 Dublin 4th in Global Cities of the Future by fDi Magazine
Dublin ranked 4th among 130 global cities of the future by study by fDi Magazine. The fDi Intelligence division analysed these locations for Economic Potential; Business Friendliness, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost Effectiveness, and Connectivity. Surveys and FDI Strategy Dublin was first for large city Business Friendliness; second for Human Capital and Lifestyle; as well as second for Economic Potential.
Day 246 DisplayNote, the future of education and knowledge sharing
Belfast based startup DisplayNote builds technologies that are designed to make it easier for people to present, share, connect and collaborate in real-time across large-format displays, desktop and mobile devices. In the classroom, where students have brought their own devices, DisplayNote app allows the teacher to mirror what’s on their PC to more than 40 devices at the same time. They can share lessons or any content from their computers and students can take screenshots, make notes or instantly capture the content of the lesson to their device. This year the company has raised €1.25m in Series A funding from the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Fund. The company won Technologist of the year award at AV News Awards as well as being nominated in BETT 2015 awards.
Day 245 NDRC’s FutureHealth developing next gen Healthcare Innovations
NDRC have launched FutureHealth pre-accelerator to bring disruptive innovation to develop new healthcare ventures. Previously NDRC has been involved in investing and developing over 20 healthcare companies such as SilverCloud Health, PharmaPod, Clearsight Innovation and MuteButton. Working with UCD, EY and Enterprise Ireland partners the programme is seeking to bring 10 separate teams through an 8 week pre-accelerator to evaluate new ideas and transform them to high impact ventures which have investment potential. Closing date for application is 15th Jan and the pre-accelerator will kick off in early February. Read more here.
Day 244 Sedicii cybersecurity firm scoops another award
Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) campus cybersecurity company, Sedicii has won, EY Startup Challenge, an intensive 6-week innovation programme focused on accelerating technological solutions for a business problem of tomorrow based in London. Sedicii has developed technology that authenticates users without the need to transmit private information over the internet or to store that private information on servers. Sedicii has also won awards Irish IP awards and EU IPACSO awards.
Day 243 Andy Lee wins WBO title
Day 242 Avolon, Ireland’s biggest NYSE debut
Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon made a record breaking $1.6 BN debut on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. Avolon has an order book valued at $6 billion, which includes Airbus A330-neo craft and Boeing’s Dreamliner. The CEO, Dómhnal Slattery , previous worked at GPA and although ultimately unsuccessful he saw GPA provided a foundation for what has made Ireland one of the world's major centres for aircraft leasing and aviation finance. Read more here.
Day 241 Co Couture Win International Chocolate award
Belfast based chocolatier Co Couture has picked up a coveted silver medal in the prestigious International Chocolate Awards World Finals 2014 with its Japanese Cherry Sencha 70%. The company came up with concept working with local firm, Suki Tea. Some of their other products have been given accolades by the Guild of Fine Food awarded their Irish Whisky Truffle the coveted 3 Gold stars in the Great Taste Awards and their Dark Chocolate with Biscuit & Cranberry also received 2 Gold stars. Read more here.
Day 240 SUXmas is here! Celebrating Irish startups!
SUXmas, or Start-Up Christmas, kicks off tonight. The event is designed by members of the start-up community to join Irish start-ups together for a big end of year celebration. The sold out event is expecting over 300 people to help spread the festive cheer. Led by Fionnuala Healy, Gene Murphy, Clyde Hutchinson and a multitude of elves from the start-up community, the event is supported by MasterCard StartPath, Circle, DCU Ryan Academy, Bank of Ireland, StartUp Dublin, FinTech Innovation Labs, NDRC, Wayra, NASC Connect, ClearPreso, Paul Hayes, Mason Hayes & Curran and Eventbrite. The event is also hoping raise some much needed cash for the homeless charity Focus Ireland.
Day 239 Nuritas discovers new MRSA killing peptide
University College Dublin spin out Nuritas has become one of the most exciting emerging biotechs in Ireland. Using bioinformatics and data mining the company seeks to discover natural peptides that can be used as life-changing ingredients that can be added to personal care products, supplements, food or biocides. Led by Dr. Nora Khaldi, the team has recently uncovered a peptide in a food by-product that can kill the antibiotic resistant superbug MRSA. This is a key advance in the production of the new generation of natural antibiotics. The company is currently a part of the NDRC Venture Lab programme, which provides support and investment to early stage scitech companies. Read more here.
Day 238 Cleverbug enabling Christmas cheer via cards & social media
Cleverbug is the Irish personal card app company. Clever Cards via Cleverbug allows users to create greeting cards using their own or stock photos for delivery worldwide. The company rose €4.5M (€5.4M) in funding this year from Delta partners to update their service to allow digital greeting cards with video and audio to be sent via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. So far over 100 million people have interacted with Cleverbug services and this number is set to increase to enable Diaspora and family groups celebrate during the holiday season. Read more here.
Day 237 Eamon Keane of Xpreso named Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur
Eamon Keane from Xpreso has beaten over 1,000 entries to be named Ireland’s best young entrepreneur. Eamon co-founded Xpreso, a SaaS solution allowing delivery companies to increase first-time success rate by offering online customers dynamic tracking and accurate arrival times. Eamon also received €50K ($60K) investment as part of the award. Dean Gammell from The Group System took the Best Established Business award and Philip Martin from Blanco Nino received the Best New Idea prize. Read more here.
Day 236 Record tourist year!
This year Ireland saw a record number of tourist visit our shores. Over 7.3 million people came to visit and see the sights up 8% from last year. This record number added € 3.7 Billion to the economy. By 2025 Tourism Ireland aims to attract 10 million visitors a year to Ireland, generating €5 billion for the economy, and helping to sustain 250,000 jobs. Read more here.
Day 235 Taggled scores major US contract
Belfast based startup Taggled has just signed a deal with major US retailer, ShopStyle. Taggled based in Northern Ireland Science Park in the Titanic Quarter allows bloggers to add clickable product/people/place/music tags within their video links to retailers on their video and get paid if viewers purchase via the link. With the deal with ShopStyle, the company is hoping to bring 10,000 new users and keep the US firm at the forefront of online fashion technology. Taggled was founded by Ian Scott, a serial entrepreneur previously set up the tech company, Lemma Solutions. Read more here.
Day 234 Gazel, Home Grown design
Gazel is an exciting Irish start up which using clever Irish design for its range of homecare products. Originally a spinout out of National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin’s Origin8 centre, Gazel was formed by award winning Irish designers Ronan Murphy and Kevin Doherty and has the motto Rethink The Everyday to bring innovation, ease and elegance to household items such as clothes hangers, hooks, lamps and kitchenware. As Christmas approaches the company delivers worldwide and will prove to be one of the brighter lights in next year’s Year of Irish Design.
Day 233 Welcoming Hoxton Ventures
Hoxton Ventures, a venture capital firm focused in bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Europe have just announced a new €6M ($7M) fund exclusively for Irish early stage start ups. The London headquartered has brought on board one of Ireland’s top techstars, Dylan Collins to help with investments. Dylan currently running SuperAwesome previously was involved with Jolt Online (acquired by Gamestop) and DemonWare (acquired by Activision). Read more here.
Day 232 Dublin ranked 27th most reputable city
Dublin has outranked Berlin and San Francisco in City Reptrak 2014 index, which ranks 100 cities across a wide number of indicators including business environment and administration compiled by The Reputations Agency and Reputation Institute. Dublin ranked highly for the beauty of city amongst other attributes. Read more here.
Day 231 Irish artist wins Turner Prize
Dublin born artist Duncan Campbell has won Britain’s top art award, the Turner Prize worth €31K ($37K). Campbell’s Turner Prize winning work is at IMMA in Dublin as part of a major show until March 29th. His prize-winning entry, a 50-minute-long film titled It For Others which explored and lamented the colonial commercialisation of African art. His previous works have including studies on the IRA and martyrdom. Previous Turner Prize winners have included Gilbert & George, Anthony Gormley and Damon Hirst. Read more here
Day 230 AventaMed revolutionizing Children Ear Surgery
Cork based medical start up AventaMed has developed a novel ENT device for the placement of tympanostomy tubes (grommets). Grommets are commonly used solution for childhood conditions such as glue ear or repetitive ear infections and allow the maintenance of normal middle ear pressure by allowing air to flow to prevent pain from pressure build up. This device will place a grommet in under 1 second and will allow the procedure to be carried out in a doctors office without the need for traditional general anesthetic. The company recently won Intertrade Ireland’s SeedCorn competition worth €100K in funding, other awards include MedTech Idol at IN3 Dublin. Read more here.
Day 229 Click Clinic, Hailo for Healthcare Professionals
Ellevyn Irwin, a keen sportswoman and Physiotherapy student, often felt the frustration of not being able to get to see healthcare professionals when she needed or at a convenient time. Through this frustration she created Click Clinic. The App links clients with non-serious conditions with their nearest, available healthcare provider. The healthcare professional comes directly to the patient and clients can make their choice through ratings and reviews of the professional. Donegal native Ellevyn recently won the Donegal final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition. Ellevyn sees Click Clinic as potential model to cut health service costs by assisting with reducing waiting lists, patients missing appointment or delaying treatment. Read more here.
Day 228 Equilume gallops ahead with new technology
Equine start up Equilume has secured €550K ($685K) seed funding to assist with expansion of its Light Mask range and technology. The University College Dublin spin-out has developed a mask which provides the optimum level of blue light to a single eye of a mare to advance her breeding season, prevent long gestations and ensure reproductive activity in early foaling mares. This has proven to be a big hit with the international breeders market as it allows more efficient reproduction. Read more here.
Day 227 Irish Startup Hemanua helping in the fight against Ebola
Irish startup, Hemanua based in NovaUCD has created an innovative solution for the treatment of Ebola. Founded by Dan Maher, Michael Flaherty and Frank O’Regan, the company has developed ProBlood CP technology allowing harvesting and the transfusion of convalescent plasma (CP) without electricity and driven only by gravity. This will allow the technology to be used in the remotest and less developed parts of West Africa. The use of CP derived from patients who have successfully fought off the virus can be an effective treatment to those in a life threatening situation. The technology has now entered clinical testing and various NGOs have high hopes for its deployment. Read more here.
Day 226 Ireland tops for International work experience
A Global Talent survey shows Irish people have the most international work experience. An incredible 91% of Irish people surveyed had worked internationally. The survey of 200,000 people from 70 countries by Irishjobs.ie also showed that Irish staff are highly motivated and Ireland is increasingly becoming a desirable location for Global talent. Read more here.
Day 225 Neuromod gets CE Mark
University College Dublin spinout Neuromod Devices has just passed its CE Mark regulatory approval allowing the company to market its first Mutebutton product. Mutebutton button uses sensory stimulation or neuro-modulation to treat or mute Tinnitus. Tinnitus is a widespread condition that affects up to 10% of population with a further 1% have secondary issues. The company plans to launch sales of Mutebutton early 2015 in UK & Europe. Read more here.
Day 224 The Late Late Show, a world record breaker
RTE’s The Late Late Show is the world’s longest running chat show. The show has been running with the same format for 52 years! The current host, Ryan Tubridy will preside over what has become an Irish Christmas institution, The Late Late Toy Show. The toy show is one of most watched Irish TV shows with 1.4 million people tuning and with over 100,000 applying for tickets for the annual spectacular.
Day 223 Katie Taylor wins Gold
Bray based amateur boxer, Katie Taylor has won gold at AIBA World Elite lightweight championship for the fifth time. This is her 17th major championship win adding to her Gold medal at the London Olympics. Her win adds to the overall all success of Irish boxers at the AIBA securing a top 10 position on the medals table. Read more here.
Day 222 Galway Film Fleadh in World’s Top 25
Galway Film Fleadh has been voted in the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals by Movie Maker. The panel stated that the festival was “A great market to meet industry execs by day, and drink whisky with them overlooking the river by night” Now in its 26th year the next fleadh will be on 7-12th July 2015. Read more here.
Day 221 Irishman become EU’s US Representative
David O’Sullivan has become the EU Ambassador to the US. David becomes the only the 2nd ambassador since the role was created in 2009. A Trinity graduate, David spend his early career in Irish Department of Foreign Affairs before moving to the EU commission rising up the ranks to become Secretary General and most recently COO of the European External Action Service. He presented his credentials to President Obama this week and set about his first task of securing a deal at the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP talks. Read more here.
Day 220 Ireland leads the world in skilled talent
The IMD’s 2014 World Talent Report has ranked Ireland as top for skilled labour availability and was placed 4th in terms of its appeal as a destination. The overall ranking has Ireland in 6th place punching well above its weight with Global competitors. Read more here.
Day 219 Shane Bergin & DartofPhysics win EU Science award
Dr Shane Bergin, researcher at Trinity College Dublin’s CRANN Institute, has been awarded the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) achievement award. The award was in recognition of Shane’s work in communicating Science in fun and accessible way. Shane spearheaded the DartofPhysics campaign, which saw 50 scientists and 300 students work together on eye-catching campaigns to attract the attention and interest of daily commuters on the curiositie of Physics and science. Read more here.
Day 218 Welcoming the Irish Whiskey Museum
The Irish Whiskey Museum (IWM) has just opened its doors in Dublin. Since the first recorded whiskey distillery is Irish (see Day 165) the IWM has a rich vein of stories and artefacts to share about the Uisce Beatha. Set over 3 floors the museum overlooking Trinity College, the IWM has a number of exhibits, talks and whiskey tastings as well as a cafe bar. IWM is set to become one of Dublin’s major tourism attractions.
Day 217 See.Sense, world’s first intelligent bike light
See.Sense based in Newtownards, Northern Ireland has produced the world’s first smart bike light to allow user to adapt for different roads and conditions. Using two sensors (an accelerometer and a light sensor), See.Sense lights allow the lights to flash brighter and faster in poor light condition i.e. dark underpass. Last year the company had successful oversubscribed kickerstarter campaign and have received many awards and rave review from cycle pundits.
Day 216 Irish woman nominated for FIFA Goal of the Year
Irish women’s international Stephanie Roche has been nominated for Fifa Puskás Award for the best goal of the year joining the likes of Diego Costa, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, James Rodriguez and Robin van Persie. The 25 year old from Dublin is the only women on the list and her goal was scored at Women’s National League match between Peamount United and Wexford Youths. Voting for the top goal is on the Fifa.com and francefootball.fr websites. The winner will be announced at the Fifa Ballon D’Or awards ceremony on January 12th in Zurich and Stephanie’s goal can be seen here.
Day 215 FoodCloud's Iseult Ward makes Time's Next Gen Leaders list
Iseult Ward, a young social entrepreneur from Dublin has made the Time magazine’s Next Generation Leaders list. Iseult along with co-founder Aoibheann O'Brien set up, FoodCloud, which is Ireland’s first food-sharing non-profit company that connects businesses with surplus food to charities in need via their app. Iseult is the only Irish person and one of 7 globally to make the list. The organisation also were awarded the social impact award by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland this week and hope to expand their service to alleviate food poverty and wastage in other geographical regions. Read more here.
Day 214 Brewbot, the brewing disruptors
Belfast based startup, Brewbot democratises brewing allowing any smartphone owners to set up and control their very own microbrewery. Through the supply of automated brewing equipment or robot and a sensor allowing the control of conditions, recipes and ingredients supply via a smartphone or tablet. The company had an successful kickstarter campaign in 2013 and oversubscribed seed round last month raising $1.5 million led by Bebo founder, Michael Birch with Federico Pirzio-Biroli, Bullet Time Ventures, Hallett Capital, TechStart NI, Galvanize, and SparkLabs Global. The robot costing $4000 is now available for preorder and is set to take the home and small scale brewing world by storm.
Day 213 Europe’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Hub
Today saw announcement that Bristol-Myers Squibb will invest >€720 million on a new factory in Dublin that will employ 400 people. This is another validation of Ireland’s place as Europe’s hub in pharmaceutical manufacturing especially in new therapies such as biologics. Ireland current has manufacturing sites for 8 out of 10 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
Day 212 Celebrating Irish Social Entrepreneurs
Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI), an organisation which provides funding and support to social entrepreneur-led projects addressing societal challenges in a new or better way awarded 9 social entrepreneurs €600,000 at their 10th annual Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards. SEI presented three Impact Award Winners worth €140,000 each to social entrepreneurs Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien of FoodCloud, Elizabeth Waters of the Virtual Community College and Karen Leigh of special needs charity Sensational Kids. Previous impact include Coderdojo and NeuroHero.
Day 211 Transatlantic Football Special
James McDaid & Sons have been supplying soft drinks to kids & adults since 1949. Their iconic leading brand Football Special is a mixture of 7 different flavours, a special ingredient as well as Donegal water. This was developed to celebrate the victories of the local Swilly Rovers football team. The family have recently taped into the diaspora market by launching operations on the US East Coast with Football Special, Smooth Banana, American Cream Soda and Exotic Pineapple. They are hoping expand their markets to other US communities by launching Spanish version of Football Special soon.
Day 210 Celebrating Boolean Logic
George Boole was the first Professor of Mathematics on what was to become University College Cork in 1849. With his seminal work in 1854, he created the field of Boolean algebra which 160 years later has been cornerstone of the all advances in the digital world. The city of Cork is gearing up to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Boole birth and the city position as the birthplace of the digital age. Read more here.
Day 209 Inhance Technology leads the way in Deloitte’s Fast 50
Cork based Inhance Technology has seen a growth rate of 1481 percent over the last 5 years to become Ireland fastest growing company. Inhance Technology has a unique all-in-one solution that supports the customer experience throughout the complete lifecycle of their smartphones and tablets. This year’s Deloitte Fast 50 saw average growth of 276 percent and the winners generated approximately €350 million in total annual revenues in 2013.
Day 208 Restored Hearing: From BT Scientist to World Stage
Restored Hearing is a startup focused in helping the 300 million people affected with tinnitus. The idea originally came from BT Young Scientist 2009 runner’s up Eimear O’Carroll and Rhona Togher after completing their degrees decided to focus on developing an online sound therapy that can reduce tinnitus by 15% after just one month. The company which is a part of the Wayra accelerator in Dublin is launching wireless headsets to accompany their online subscription service in the UK next month with other markets and standalone products for the elderly to follow.
Day 205 L
Day 205 Love & Robots: democratising 3D Printing
Dublin based Love & Robots is allowing 3D printing to be brought to the masses. They have an interactive design platform that connects customers with personalised 3D printed products such as silver or gold jewellery, phone cases and clocks. Set up last year by sisters, Emer, Kate, and Aoibheann O’Daly the company has secured $1 million in funding and a major contract with Amazon. The company was also the highlight of the Web Summit winning the ESB Spark of Genius Prize. Read more here.
Day 204 Ireland leading EU-28 with growth of 4.6%
Ireland is due to lead Europe in terms of growth, the Europe Commission predict 4.6% in growth in 2014. This growth rate outstrips the other 27 EU states. Commission VP Jyrki Katainen especially praised Ireland’s performance. “Ireland, by doing what was necessary to do, has regained confidence back, which means that private investors can trust in the country’s future . . . which means more jobs for the ordinary citizens.” Read more here.
Day 203 Dublin Web Summit – the best technology conference on the planet
Dublin Web Summit kicks off today at the RDS and will see over 20,000 people from over 106 countries. The event will showcase various technologies and keynote speakers will include Bono, Peter Thiel, Brendan Iribe (CEO , Oculus VR), Werner Vogels (CTO , Amazon) and 500+ more speakers.
Day 202 Adama Innovations scopes out seed investment
Adama Innovations, a spin out of Trinity College Dublin and alumni of the NDRC Venture Lab programme has just secured €750,000 in seed investment from syndicate including Enterprise Ireland, NDRC VentureLab and Irrus Investments. Adama’s first product is a ‘nano-scale’ probe fabricated from diamond, used in atomic force microscopy (AFM). AFM allows for the imaging, measurement and manipulation of materials at the nano or atom scale. The company sees a wide range of applications from medical devices to microelectronics. Read more here.
Day 201 Stripe & Western Webs collaborate for new Charities donation App
Irish payments powerhouse, Stripe have co-developed a new app, Tengo with Galway based, Western Webs. Tengo will allow charities to bypass text-based campaigns so that charities receive 100% of donations. Traditionally, charities have lost up to 30% of donations due to fees charged by telecommunications operators and regulators. Tengo will be launched this Thursday at the Web Summit will charge charities who handle their own account a nominal fee of €1 per month or 5% if Tengo handles their transactions. Read more here.
Day 200 Grainne Barron & Viddyad win Global Entrepreneur award
One of Ireland’s leading emerging companies, Viddyad founder, Grianne Barron has just been awarded the International Entrepreneur of the Year at the Association of MBAs (AMBA). Viddyad is an automated cloud-based video ad creation tool for businesses to create their own ads. The company has had success on both sides of the Atlantic and have been listed in WSJ as “Ones to Watch!” and Grianne was an alumni of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.
Day 199 Dublin girl wins EU Digital Girl of the Year!
Lauren Boyle, 9 year old from Dublin has pick up the EU Digital Girl of the Year. Lauren is founder of Cool Kids Studio, which showcases the websites she built. She is also mentor at CoderDojo, where she teaches Scratch, HTML and CSS. Lauren was presented with the award in Rome at the European Ada Awards ceremony in Rome which was a part of the e-Skills Making a Career with Digital Technologies event. Lauren had previously won the Next Generation Award for Excellence at the Irish Internet Association’s Dot IE Net Visionary Awards. Read more here.
Day 198 Ireland tops the FDI polls
Ireland has topped the poll on the IBM 2014 Global Location Trends report. Ireland is the most attractive when it comes to the quality and added value brought by foreign direct investment (FDI) projects coming into the country. Ireland is one of the top 4 of global destination countries by estimated jobs - per million inhabitants. Dublin is also in the top 10 of destination cities for FDI in the world, based on projects won. Read more here.
Day 197 Eagle Alpha lands on further funding
Eagle Alpha is a Dublin based start up which collates and analyses social media for stockbrokers, hedge funds and other investors. Set up by former Morgan Stanley investment banker Emmett Kilduff the company has just raised $1.2M from investors and advisory panel include UBS, Barclays Capital, CQS, Deutsche Bank, Schroders and Twitter. The company has also recently hired Evan Weaver, Twitter’s former technical architect, to assist in the further development of the platform. Read more here.
Day 196 Powerful Yogurt building up for launch
Powerful Yogurt is the first product from Kildare based start up Irepak. It will be the very first high-protein, fat-free yogurt made in Ireland from the very best of Irish milk. The founder, Robert Doyle wanted to developed a natural source of high protein without any sweeters or additives. The company is an alumni of Bord Bia’s foodworks and the product is due to hit the stores and gyms next month and the company hopes to employ 10 people within the next 18 months. Read more here.
Day 195 Having Big Ideas on Cancer
A scientist and surgeon at University College Cork have team up to come up with better treatments for Cancer. Dr Declan Soden and Mr John Hinchion are developing a combination therapy using an electrical device (electroporation) to improve the access for chemotherapy drugs. Electroporation allows cancer cells to become porous allow the drugs to enter and this technique can be used for hard to treat cancer such as lung cancer. This is just one of the projects being showcase at Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas Conference held in December. Read more here.
Day 194 Hozier, taking the world to church
Hozier or Andrew Hozier-Byrne has been leading Irish music exports this year. His music has had 70 million downloads and his debut album has entered the US billboard charts at No 2. He has also had storming performances on Letterman and Ellen. Spotted at school concert by Caroline Downey, co-owner, MCD promotions, he is set to be become one of the cool aspects of Ireland’s export economy.
Day 193 Cork Jazz Festival Swings into gear
For the 37th time this bank holiday will see the Cork Jazz Festival bring 1,000 musicians from 18 countries performing in various venues around the city. Top much see acts are jazz-diva Carla Cook, Imelda May, Dianne Reeves, Ginger Baker, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Carla Cook, and Ed Cherry. The festival is estimated to bring €15M into the local economy.
Day 192 Mark Roden from Ding, EY Entrepreneur of the Year
Mark Roden, founder and CEO of Dublin headquartered Ding (formerly Ezetop) has won this year’s EY Entrepreneur. Ding is a mobile payments firm which allows the mobile user to have instant credit top-up for their phone from anywhere in the world. The company has grown 3,600% in the last 5 years with revenues > €200 million, and has offices in Miami, Dubai, San Salvador, Bucharest and Dhaka, Ding employs 200 people and has users in over 130 countries. Read more here.
Day 191 VentureLab launched for Science commercialization
VentureLab run by the NDRC is seeking to fund up to€100k to enable commercialization of high potential science, technology and intellectual property. Through an intensive programme of mentorship and guidance they enable companies flourish from research roots. Alumni from the programme include Silvercloud Health and Artomatix. Investment decisions will be made in December and find out more here.
Day 190 Helping in the fight against Ebola
Dr Damien Thompson a lecturer in the department of physics and energy at the University of Limerick along with colleagues at MDEA-Nanoscience in Madrid and IBM Zurich are developing a new medical senor that can detect infectious diseases such as Ebola and HIV down to the molecular level. This will allow the cheap, quick and reliable testing of Ebola to allow for management in outbreak situations. His work has just been published in the prestigious Nature Materials Journal. The team are hoping to start using the sensor clinical samples shortly to allow the device to be use as a diagnostic tool. Read more here.
Day 189 Ireland in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 to visit
Ireland has taken the 5spot in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015. The guide states “Ireland is stunningly scenic, its traditions – music, dance, whiskey and beer – firmly intact and the cosmopolitan, contemporary Irish are just as friendly and welcoming as their forebears were known to be”. The guide judges countries on if something special going on that year, if that there’s been recent development and a lot of buzz about the place, or that we think it’s up-and-coming and suggest travellers visit before the crowds do. Read more here.
Day 188 SFI invest €250M in 5 new research centres
Science Foundation Ireland will initially invest €155M with additional €90 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners such as Intel, Google, Microsoft, Medtronic Vascular Galway Ltd, Xilinx, Huawei and others in developing world class research centres. These world class research centres include:
ADAPT Global digital connectivity
CONNECT Centre for Future Networks & Communications
CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices
iCRAG Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences
LERO The Irish Software Research Centre
Further information can be found here.
Day 187 Tomi Reichental wins Voxpro Diplomat Global Achievement Award
Tomi Reichental holocaust survivor and reconciliator has won the inaugural Voxpro Diplomat Global Achievement Award. Tomi is one of two remaining holocaust survivors in Ireland and been deeply involved in reconciliation work in Irish schools promoting tolerance, respect for difference and the rejection of racism and discrimination. Tomi has been an author and documentary maker. He was chosen for the award from a shortlist suggested by up to 100 ambassadors and honorary consuls in Ireland. Read more here.
Day 186 SiSaf, Belfast Biotech with Global Ambitions
SiSaf is innovative biotech which uses bioactive nanosilicon to allow active compounds penetrate deeper into skin layers. Their lead treatment for Acne was shown have a 95% improvement of Facial Acne in a clinical trial. The global acne treatment market is worth estimated $3.5bn. The company which is a ‘spin in’ of the University of Ulster has also a base at the Irish Innovation Center in San Jose and has attracted investors from both sides of the Atlantic.
Day 185 Digital DNA boosting N.Ireland’s Digital Economy
This November will see the second running of Digital DNA, a weeklong series of events from 4th to 7th focusing on boosting the emerging Digital Economy in the North. The showcase event will be a business conference held at the Titanic centre in Belfast on 6th featuring networking and keynote speakers such as Shane Nolan, Director UK & Ireland SME, Google, Colm O'Neill, CEO, BT in Ireland, Dennis Bree, UKI Sales Manager, Twitter, John Conway, Meteor Electric, Edgardo Savoy, Head of Retail Technology, Paddy Power, Rich Dale, CEO, Flowlens, Niall Harbinson, Founder, Simply Zesty, entrepreneur and author. Further information and tickets can be found here.
Day 184 Drop gets funding to scale
Dublin based internet of things startup, Drop has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Frontline Ventures and Innovation Works, with additional investors including PCH, Vegas Tech Fund and WI Harper Group. Drop has created an iPad-connected kitchen scale that guides users through recipes. The Bluetooth connected scales allow adjustments to recipes in real time according the stock cupboards of the user.
Day 183 Cork Young Scientists on Time’s most influential teen list
Time’s list of The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 includes Cork teenagers Ciara Judge (16), Émer Hickey (17) and Sophie Healy-Thow (17) from Kinsale Community School in County Cork, added this accolade their other achievements including the 2013 BT Young Scientist award, Biology Prize at European Union Contest for Young Scientists and the Grand Prize at Google Science Fair, for their research project on Combating the Global Food Crisis: Diazotroph bacteria as a cereal crop growth promoter. Read more Ireland’s top young scientists named among world’s most influential teens.
Day 182 GenCell, another bio-instrument winner from Limerick
GenCell Biosystems was set in 2011 to develop instrumentation for next generation genomic sequencing. The Limerick based firm developed a robotic system for processing DNA using “liquid-cell technology”, which involved synthetic cells mimicking nature. After only 3 years, the company has been acquired by US multinational Becton Dickinson. GenCell was founded by researchers from a previous Limerick bio-instrument success story, Stokes Bio which was acquired by BioRad in 2010. Read more here.
Day 181 Techstart Supporting NI’s Tech Start Ups
Techstart NI is an INVEST NI initiative run by Pentech Ventures to provide support for early stage tech businesses and university spin-outs. The £23.6M initiative is made up of £13M SME equity fund, two university funds of £1.5M and a proof of concept fund of £7.6M. The fund has already made a £300K investments into Brewbot and Inflyte. Read more here.
Day 180 Wild Atlantic Start-Up showcasing West Coast innovation
The Wild Atlantic Start-Up (#WASup) was the brainchild of BlueChief’s CEO, Shane McCarthy to create a start-up network to showcase and promote the technology, innovation and start-up along Ireland’s West Coast. WASup hopes to demonstrate that the west coast is not just for tourist but a great place for people to be inspired by technology and start ups and live the Wild Atlantic lifestyle. The group held a successful event in Limerick in May and will be hold there next event in Tralee on 17th Oct. For tickets and information see here.
Day 179 Cork producing the next generation of entrepreneurs
Over the year, has seen the emergence of exciting young entrepreneurs from Cork. Sarah Dineen from Uniwink.com , has seen her company rapidly grown out UCC Ignite programme to be Ireland’s leading Student peer to peer learning platform. Another successful young UCC Ignite alumni, Richard Barrett together with his business partner Ross O’Dwyer founded Pundit Arena, a media platform which empowering aspiring journalists and articulate sports fans to write about the sports they love. Pundit Arena now has a fanbase across the world and is in the premier league of content producers. Both Sarah and Richard were recognised this week as Cork City and South Cork Young Entrepreneurs of the Year.
Day 178 Accenture opens FinTech Innovation Lab in Dublin
Accenture have announced that will be giving six start ups the opportunity to be a part of 12 week accelerator focusing on early stage tech companies looking to sell products and solution in the financial sector. The Fintech Innovation Lab has been previously successfully run in New York and London and will involves mentorship and interaction with AIB, Bank Of Ireland, Ulster Bank State Street, Fexco, Realex, Paypal and Google.
Day 177 LinkedIn doubles workforces and builds new HQ
LinkedIn is set to double its workforce in Dublin to 1200 staff. The company has just purchased a new site in Dublin to expand its international headquarters in the city. "Dublin is now home to a very vibrant digital technology sector and with that comes an important ecosystem for companies like ours as well as the strong pool of talented digital professionals that we need access to in order to further grow our operations in the future," said Sharon McCooey, senior director with LinkedIn Ireland. Read more here.
Day 176 5.3% GDP Growth predicted
Influential Irish independent think -tank Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) have produced an upbeat forecast of Irish economy with expected 5.3% growth in GDP suggesting further budget cuts may now be necessary. The ESRI also were upbeat on future unemployment figures. Read more here.
Day 175 Celebrating Women in Business
Yesterday saw Women Mean Business awards in Dublin. Celebrating the leading lights and role models in Business. This year saw Anne Heraty, CEO, CPL Resources, named Businesswoman of the Year 2014. Ramona Nicholas of Cara Pharmacy received the Female Entrepreneur of the Year award, while To Russia With Love founder Debbie Deegan won in the Social Entrepreneur category. Other award-winners included Paula Fitzsimons of Going for Growth, who received the Empowering Women award and Pharmapod founder Leonora O’Brien, took the Woman in Technology Award. Read more here.
Day 174 SmartInvest to fund StartUp Growth
A $70 million transatlantic investment fund, SmartInvest is hoping to fund 30 startups to help them accelerate their growth and job creation. The fund based out of Meath and Philadelphia will target companies that our looking to expand in US Markets. Two of the funds early investments have already seen the generation of 50 jobs. Read more here.
Day 172 Plotbox – Google Maps for Cemeteries
Plotbox is a Co. Antrim based start up which aims to provide cloud based software management solution for cemetery managers to help the efficient running of their plots. Other features include a “Google Map” feature which allows for high resolution photograph of individual plots. This will allow for relatives to pinpoint here ancestors and generate revenue through the booming genealogy industry. This week the company was award Northern Ireland Science Park Invent 2014 award. Read more here.
Day 171 OxyMem leading Irish Innovators
UCD spin out OxyMem have added the Overall Excellence award from the first ever IP awards to their bulging trophy cabinet. OxyMem was co-founded in 2013 by Prof Eoin Casey and Dr Eoin Syron as spin-out from UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering. The company has developed a breakthrough technology for wastewater aeration. They have already won ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award at the 2014 Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards and the first Water Innovation SME Award in Europe for Membrane Technologies and have been nominated for Sustainable Innovation category in the 2014 Platts Global Energy Awards.
Day 170 InterTradeIreland creates SME Ambassadors
InterTradeIreland was set up under terms of the Good Friday Peace Agreement to assist in encourage cooperation, commence and trade between small companies in both the North and South of Ireland. Since their launch, they have assisted 25,000 companies leading to the generation of £650 million of trade and 3000 new jobs. 63 SME companies have now been identified as Business Ambassadors status for their innovation and trade which benefits the whole island. Read more here.
Day 169 Giving sports grounds some Irish Green
Sligo firm Support In Sport (SIS) is one of the world’s leading suppliers of natural and artificial turf. They have supplied pitches for Africa Cup of Nations, World Cup finals, the European Champions League and Six Nations Rugby. SIS were responsible for the returfing of Barcelona’s Nou Camp and Real Madrid's Bernabeu. They posted revenues €37 million this year and hoping to supply the pitches for the next world cup in Qatar.
Day 168 Tourism soars with new highs
Fáilte Ireland have released survey results showing positive sentiment within the Irish tourism industry is at a new high with levels returning to pre-crisis levels. Operators have seen large increase in visitors coming from US and Germany. The Wild Atlantic Way marketing campaign has been cited as a major factor in attracting German visitors.
Day 167 Sigmoid Pharma soars on new investment
Dublin City University Invent centre based, Sigmoid Pharma has just announced a further €5million from Pendopharm, a division of the Canadian Pharmascience Inc. Sigmoid are the pioneers of SmPill® technology which allows for safe drug delivery of previously problematic compounds. The company is currently in late stage clinical trials of a drug for treatment of Ulcerative Colitis and the partnership with Pendopharm will allow for the commercialisation of this product in Canada and potential the whole of North America.
Day 165 Home to the World’s Oldest Licensed Whiskey Distillery
Bushmills Whiskey based in Bushmills, Country Antrim, Northern Ireland is the World oldest recorded Whiskey Distillery. Originally licensed by King James I to Sir Thomas Phillipps in 1608 using the waters of Saint Columb's Rill which is a tributary of the River Bush. The still is depicted on the Bank of Ireland £5 notes and the visitor centre seeing over 120,000 visitors. Bushmills is one of Diageo’s strongest growing brands with last year seeing 7% increases in sales with strong growth in Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Day 163 Fountain Healthcare scores another success
Irish Venture Capital firm, Fountain Healthcare have continued their winning streak with the acquisition of their portfolio company, Civitas Therapeutics by Acorda Therapeutics for $525 million. Civitas was a spin out of Alkermes, which acquired Elan Drug Technologies in 2010. Civitas is developing an inhaled form of the drug levadopa that is used by Parkinson’s patients in tablet form and was expected to have an oversubscribed IPO this year leading to the firm becoming one of the top lifesciences firms on NASDAQ. Fountain Healthcare already had a successful IPO with the Swords based Mainstay earlier this year.
Day 162 Producing world class young scientists
This week has seen young scientists from Ireland compete successfully on the global stage. Cork school girls Ciara Judge, Sophie Healy-Thow, and Émer Hickey, Fifth Year students at Kinsale Community School in Co Cork took home the top prize at the Google Science Prize with their work on bacteria in cereal crops. While Paul Clark, Winner of 2014 BT Young Scientist competition tooksecond place in Mathematics at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Read more here.
Day 161 Annual Ploughing Pilgrimage
Today sees the launch of the 83rd Annual National Ploughing Championships at an 800-acre site at Ratheniska, near Stradbally, Co Laois making it Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and agricultural trade show . President Michael D Higgins will formally open the three day event which is expecting over 200,000 visitors spending almost €40 Million. Read more here.
Day 160 Agri-Food Exports booming
Irish Agri-Food exports have been surging recently seeing 40% increase from 2009. Total value of these exports topped €10 Billion last year and the expectations that this year will see a further 20% increase or €12 Billion in value. This period has seen over 4000 new jobs created within the sectors with Diary and Whiskey becoming strong performers.
Day 159 All-Ireland Experience of a Lifetime
Today will see the men from Kerry and Donegal battle it out for the All-Ireland Senior Gaelic Football Championships or the Sam Maguire Cup. The competition started in 1887 has recently been described by the National Geographic magazine as in Top 10 experiences of a lifetime. So the best of luck to both teams but especially the guys in green & gold!
Day 158 Combining forces to be a global force in IOT
Two of Ireland’s most successful institutes, Tyndall National Institute and Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) have come together to target €82M Horizon 2020 funding to create 10 new start up focusing on Internet of Things (IOT) across several industry sectors. This funding will allow Ireland to global leaders in the new wave IOT technologies and companies. Read more here.
Day 157 A warm welcome to Kevin O’Malley
Last night the US Senate approved the appointment of Kevin O’Malley as the new US Ambassador to Ireland. His Excellency is an Irish-American lawyer from St Louis, Missroui, with his grandparents hailing from Westport, Co. Mayo. He will be taking up residence in Deerfield Residence in the Phoenix Park shortly.
Day 156 Nutria, using family to inspire innovation
A University of Limerick student, Darren Lehane has just won the Irish leg of the James Dyson Award and will now go through to the international finals. Darren developed the Nutrica feeding tube system for patients who can’t ingest food properly after witnessing the issues his newly born niece had keeping the feeding tube in place. Darren developed a system to ensure that feeding tubes can be keep in place so prevent complications or skin irritation from using adhesive tape. By winning the award Darrren is hoping to initiate the commercialisation of this product. Read more here.
Day 155 USofIreland-connecting Irish Diaspora with Irish Makers
Former MD of JustEat, James Galvin and his co-founder Miriam Cassidy set up USofIreland to allow the best Irish makers, artists and designers to be represented and marketed within a single online platform. By targeting Ireland’s large global Diaspora, USofIreland will allow creative art & crafts makers sell to new markets far from their often rural and limited local market.
Day 154 Digit Game Studios-Kings of their Realm!
Digit Games Studios is responsible for the biggest budget Irish mobile game. Their game called ‘Kings of the Realm’ transports players back to a medieval world. The game cost over one million Euros to produce and the company is confident that they will reach one million downloads on their first month after the launch a couple of weeks ago. They have also signed a book concept deal with Penguin to further develop their fantasy story. Digit Game studios currently employs 20 people and recently received €2 million in venture funding from Delta Partners.
Day 153 Cristina Luminea & ThoughtBox leads the way with European Pioneers
E-learning platform, ThoughtBox and Cristina Luminea have selected to be the UK & Ireland partner for European Pioneers. This is a virtual accelerator with €4.5M funding focusing -learning, pervasive gaming, smart city services, and socially connected TV using technology already available in the European Comission. Companies over the 8 month programme will receive between €50,000-€250,000 equity free funding and access to state-of-the-art European FIWARE and FICONTENT platforms as well as business mentors. 5 Irish companies will be selected this year with further 20 next year. Read more here.
Day 152 FCR Media innovates with StartLocal
FCR Medical, the well known publisher of Golden Pages and Europe’s leading provider local search and advertising across 12 countries has as set up a start-up incubator at its Dublin offices aimed at supporting start-ups focused on creating innovative tech solutions for local merchants called StartLocal. The company will provide a collaborative space for up-and-coming tech start-ups to grow their businesses over six months. The companies will also be able pitch to all of FCR Media 12 European CEO as we as receiving sales and marketing advice from members of the Dublin Team. So far the incubator is home to Bizimply, Fonesense, PopDeem, Spruced.ie, Open WiFi and Holvi.
Day 150 Ireland leading Europe in industrial output recovery
Latest figures released by Eurostat have saw Ireland having the largest rise within the Eurozone of 11.3% in industrial output. This rise was led by a surge in Pharma exports. Across the Eurozone the industrial output increased by 2.2% in July. Read more here.
Day 149 World Sport Team - You’re still part of the team
World Sport Team was set up in 2012 by Eamonn Sayers, with the ambition to create the world’s first all inclusive sporting community to bring sportspeople together – regardless of age, skill level, profession, country, language, religion or race. With their motto “Sport has not forgotten you. You’re still part of the team.” they are seeking to provide first rate services to any person who suffers catastrophic injury while playing sport. By organising new events such as International Sports Day and World Sports Week they hope to strengthen the bonds within the Global sporting community. So click here to be apart of the world’s largest team!
Day 148 Turning Ireland into Makers
This weekend will see the first Hardware Hackthon for the Internet of Things hosted at Dublin City University. Hardware innovators will form teams to devise hardware that will make an impact on people’s lives and their efforts judge at the end. The event is sold out and has been strongly supported by PCH’s Liam Casey, who sees events such as this Hackthon as essential in developing the Maker economy in Ireland’s tech and hardware sectors. Read more here.
Day 147 Welcoming Dublin’s new Start Up Commissioner, Niamh Bushnell
Niamh Bushnell has been appointed to the role of Dublin Commissioner for Start-Ups. This was created due to the recommendation of the Activating Dublin Initiative spearheaded by Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Dublin City Council. Niamh will work Dublin City Council, DCU Ryan Academy, Enterprise Ireland and local enterprise board to ensure strategic responsibility for making Dublin the best place in Europe to start and grow a tech and innovative business. Niamh has a strong background as serial entrepreneur both in Ireland and US and was recently appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at Talent Tech Labs in Manhattan.
Day 146 Disaster Tech Labs using Drones to save lives
Galway based firm, Disaster Tech Labs specialises in developing the latest technology to assist in disaster relief work. Set up my husband and wife aidpreneurs Kate and Evert Bopp, they have recently announced a collaboration with US drone manufacturer, Sentinel Air to co-develop an airborne wireless sensor which drones can use to detect mobile phone signals belonging to disaster victims. This will allows drones to cover large search and enable rescue team to get to trap people and community quicker. These sensors will also allow team to identify areas with functional WiFi infrastructure. Read more here.
Day 145 Creeper Crawlers bringing Innovation to baby clothes
Dublin based Creeper Crawlers was set in 2011 by Ollwyn Moran, a mother of two young boys and a leading Neurological Developmental Therapist to develop products that support and enhance the natural developmental stages of infants by creating healthy body and brain connections. Their first product- Easy Grip Crawl Suit, helps babies get ready to crawl or infants trying to crawl by use of specially designed grips on the baby’s clothing. The company is currently up for several innovation awards for this product and hoping to bring more on stream soon.
Day 144 Trustev lands RadioShack
Trustev, is leading the pack of the new generation of Irish start ups. After winning start up competitions SXSW, EU Commission and START TLV and landing one of Europe’s largest seed rounds. The company with uses data fingerprinting technology to verify a transaction’s validity and the user identity. Run out of Cork and New York, the company has just announced a mass multi-million deal to deploy its platform across all 4,000 RadioShack stores in the US. Read more here
Day 143 UCD ranks 5th in Europe for VC-backed entrepreneurs
The PitchBook VC database showed that University College Dublin came out 5th in Europe for graduates gaining venture capital funding. Between January 2009 to August 2014, 31 UCD graduate entrepreneurs established 26 companies that raised US$112m in funding.
Day 142 Frontline Ventures leads the way with €40 million fund
Frontline Ventures has closed a €40 million fund to fund software start ups. Based in Dublin and London partners Shay Garvey, Will Prendergast, William McQuillan with platform manager Kim Pham invests up to €2 million in early stage software-only companies. The firm has previously invested in 7 companies (CurrencyFair, Boxever, Qstream, Raising IT, Drop, BoxFish, Orchestrate and Logentries) and these companies employ 200 in Dublin, London and Boston and Silicon Valley. Read more here
Day 141 Climote takes on Google’s Nest and wins!
Dundalk based smart metering start up, Climote has won a major contract to supply Scottish Power’s 5.6 million UK customers with smart meters allowing them to control their energy consumption remotely. The contract is worth in excess €10 million and in true David and Goliath style, Climote took on biggest players in field such as Google’s Nest to win the contract. Climote was created by ex-Honeywell Ireland boss Eamon Conway and connected homes innovator Derek Roddy and was a spin off out of Sean Gallagher’s Smarter Homes firm. Read more here.
Day 140 Nephin Whiskey seeks to break crowdfunding records
Nephin Whiskey Company is seeking to break the Irish crowdfunding record with a campaign with the Indiegogo platform. The family run distillery based in Lahardane, Co Mayo is seeking to raise $150,000, the largest crowdfunding project in Ireland to date. These funds will be used for the purchase of three to allow production to begin in 15August 2015, the same day as Lahardane’s fair. Funders will be able to reserve special edition bottles and other perks. See https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nephin-whiskey-company-ireland for further details
Day 138 N.Irish made seats rule the air
30% of the world airplane seats are manufactured by B/E Aerospace based in Kilkeel, Co. Down. Employing 800 people, the firm makes a large proportion of the world's first class and business class aircraft seats and with total market for airline seats is well over $4 billion it’s a lucrative business. So the next time you are on a plane you could be sitting on an Irish made seat.
Day 137 Record Whale Sightings to help the economy
Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have recorded record sightings of three separate whale species this year. Large numbers of humpback, fin and minke whales have been reported around the Irish coast. The IWDG predicts that there may be up to 300 humpback whales feeding around the Irish coast. These numbers are cementing Ireland’s reputation as one of the world’s best places to watch whales. Whale Watchers and tourists will bring much needed income to coastal communities. Read more here.
Day 136 Over 20,000 Americans flock to Dublin for Croke Park Classic
Tomorrow will see over 20,000 Americans in Dublin to watch the American football team of Penn State take on the University of Central Florida. The event will bring all the razzmatazz of cheerleaders, matching bands and halftime shows expected of a big college game. With attendance of over 60,000, the game is expected to bring over $35 million to the local economy.
Day 135 Celebrating Irish Craft Beers & Ciders
Next week sees the 4th Annual Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival being held at the RDS. Over 200 craft beer & ciders from all over Ireland will be on display and sampled by the expected over 10,000 attendees. Irish craft beers have seen a real revival in recent years and now own 0.4% of the market and this figure is set to increase as the industry is booming.
Day 134 Lisdoonvarna’s Matchmaking Festival, find love Irish style!
Europe’s largest matchmaking festival kicks off this weekend. Over 50,000 people are expected to flock to the small County Clare town to find their true love through a month long series of dancing, horse racing and traditional matchmaking. The potential couples are matched by fourth generation matchmaker Willie Daly. This year will also see the second running of ‘The Outing’ on 3-5th October for members of the gay community.
Day 133 CoderDojo, a global phenomenon from Cork
CoderDojo is a global non-profit movement. CoderDojo began life in Cork in 2011, when James Whelton set up a computer club at PBS Cork to help his fellow pupils to learn to code. Later that year, Bill Liao, the entrepreneur and philanthropist helped the organisation to expand nationally and international. At each Dojo, young people between 7 and 17 learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and much more. It is open source, volunteer led organisation and has now expanded to 480 Dojos across 48 countries.
Day 132 Welcome to Udemy
Udemy the world’s largest destination for online courses is setting up its European in Dublin at the Digital Hub. Their online learning marketplace currently has more than 10,000 instructors teaching 18,000 courses and company has raised over $48 million in venture capital and is headquartered in San Francisco. Read more here.
Day 131 Irish SMEs are most successful in obtaining Horizon 2020 EU funding
European Commission has announced the first round of its new €3 billion SME Horizon 2020 funding. The funding is targeted for innovative small firms to get their ideas to the market. 10 Irish SMEs out of a total of 155 SMEs from 21 countries will each receive €50,000 and business coaching to finance feasibility studies to develop their innovation strategy. 20% of applicant Irish companies are successful and we have the highest funding rate compared to size of population.
Day 129 Irish Bond Yields hit record lows
The yield on the State’s benchmark 10-year bonds dropped to 1.858%, the lowest since Bloomberg started tracking the bond data in 1991. Ireland’s borrowing costs are now below that of the US and UK. This shows the massive turnaround from the record highs of 14% in mid-2011.
Day 128 Statcounter, from teenager’s project to taking on Google
Statcounter was founded by the 16 year old Aodhan Cullen in 1999 now employs 10 people in Dublin. The company is taking on Google by becoming one of the world’s most respected web analytics firms. By tracking 15 Billion web views per month, the company provides an independent service assessing website performance and adword effectiveness. The company also has a free global statistics service and recently launched a feature integrating Google Webmaster Tools keyword data into its reporting. From Dublin, Aodhan and his team have created a global business with 60% of their customers being US based.
Day 127 The Little Milk Compnay, award winning organic cheeses
The Little Milk Company is a cooperative of 11 Irish organic dairy farmers which came together in 2011 to make organic farmhouse cheeses from their superior quality organic milk. After entering their first competition in 2013 they have gone on to win 17 titles including ‘Best Organic Cheese’ at the 2013 British Cheese Awards and ‘Best New Cheese’ at the 2013 International Cheese Awards. The cooperative aimed to sell €500K of their cheese in UK & Ireland last year and hoping for expansion this year.
Day 126 Viatel, Irish Telecom Co with Global ambitions
Viatel has just secured €125 million investment from Proventus Capital Partners to fund an acquisition spree of companies in Europe and far afield. Viatel has one of Europe’s largest networks of transcontinental duct and fibres as well as having an extensive portfolio of data centres. Headquartered in Dublin, the company employs over 170 staff in Ireland and has revenues over €100 million.
Day 125 Heartsine, saving lives
Belfast based medtech firm, Heartsine have been manufacturing automated external defibrillators since 1970s. The company’s portable devices can increase the chances of survival of a sudden cardiac arrest from 10% from using CPR alone to 70% by using CPR and Heartsine defibrillator. The devices can be found at sports fields across Ireland and their international customers include Los Angeles Lakers, the New South Wales Police Force and the US government. The company recently announced plans to double their workplace adding £1.3 million a year in salaries to the local economy.
Day 124 Broighter Gold brings in 2 hoards for N.Irish Farmer
Broighter Gold is the brand name of the Limavady based farmer producing award wining grapeseed oil. Their range has received several awards and has been selected to be stocked at La Grande Epicerie, one of Paris leading food stores and is part of Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the world's first department store. The name Broighter Gold comes from Iron age (1st Century) hoard of Gold artefacts found in the townland of Broighter on the shores of Lough Foyle. The hoard included a 7-inch-long (18 cm) gold boat, a gold torc and bowl and some other jewellery. A design from the hoard has been used as an image on British one-pound coins.
Day 123 Galway, home to new start up tribes
Galway is emerging as the new Irish hotspot ecosystem for Startups. The city allows for the mixing of big name multinationals with local Startups with Global ambitions. The lifestyle, infrastructure, access to stunning landscapes and culture is seen as a big pull. Barry O’Sullivan, former SVP at Cisco and now CEO at Galway software start-up Altocloud suggests that “If Ireland is Europe’s new Silicon Valley, Galway is its San Francisco”. Other successful Galway Startups have included Creganna, OnePageCRM, Duolog and Element Software. Recently, Game Golf based in San Francisco and Galway saw President Obama use their device on a golfing trip.
Day 122 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann lights up Sligo
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann or the Music Festival of Ireland is a weeklong festival happening this week in Sligo. A mixture of musician competitions and live performances of Irish traditional music will see over 400,000 flow into Sligo and bring over €40 million to the local economy.
Day 121 Rapid and Inexpensive Heart Attack Test
The Northern Irish lifesciences firm, Randox has came up with a cheap & rapid test for detecting heart attacks in A&E unit. The test is based on detection of HFAP (heart-type fatty acid-binding protein) in patients’ blood. This protein is released in patients’ bloodstream at the early stages of a heartattack. It can be detected after 30 mins after an attack while traditional test can take 6 hours. The test is likely to cost £10 ($17) and has already made it through its initially trials.
Day 120 ALISON – the world’s leading provider of free online learning
The Galway based firm ALISON (Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online) is the world’s leading provider of free online learning and certification for basic education and workplace. Offering over 600 courses, the platform has 3.5 million register uses and has seen 350,000 graduates worldwide. Using a free platform for users, ALISON has found that 14% of its graduates had found a job, received a promotion, or been offered a college placement after completed a free course. Read more here.
Day 119 Dublin’s Spire, the world’s largest sculpture
Dublin Spire is a steel artwork designed by architect Ian Ritchie and is the world’s largest sculpture located on Dublin’s O’Connell Street. Completed in 2003, it stands 120 metres high (400 feet) and 3 metres wide (10 feet) at the base and tapers to a 15 centimetre wide with a light beacon at the top. Like many of Dublin’s statutes and monuments the locals have given the Spire several nicknames such as “The Stiffy at the Liffey” and “The Erection at the Intersection” and “The Stiletto in the Ghetto”. Read more here
Day 118 Francis Ford Coppola’s underrated location
In a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal, Francis called Ireland the most underrated destination, stating “beautiful country, and the people are extraordinary. They have such a wonderful literary tradition, one of warmth and humor. Also, Irish ice cream is among the best in the world, which no one knows. Read the full interview here.
Day 117 Irish Women’s Rugby Abú
The Irish women’s rugby team are having a historic world cup in France. After been the first team to beat New Zealand in a world cup match since 1991 they now face England on Wednesday. The Irish team was formed in 2003 and over 3000 woman are involved nationwide. Read more here
Day 116 Dublin, 5th Friendliest City in the World
Dublin has proven its céad míle fáilte credentials by coming in fifth in Conté Nast Traveller list of friendliest cities of the world. This is vast improvement from last year’s 13th. The magazine describes Dublin as a green, lush, and vibrant city. Very walkable and the “kind of place you stop in for a drink in a local pub, only to end up chatting with the locals for the next five hours”. Read more here
Day 114 Home to the ‘Hottest’ male tourists
As the Irish holiday season is in full swing its worth noting for all those single men travelling abroad, a survey of 11,000 tourists by travel booking website HostelBookers has shown than women tourists find Irish men the most attractive with a 79% approval rating. Read more here.
Day 113 Ireland is Apple’s European core
Apple’s annual figures show that a quarter of its European workforce is based at its facility in Cork. 4000 staff employed directly with further 2500 indirectly. The Cork site was one of Apple’s first international offices opening in 1980. Orignally manufacturing the site now focuses on finance, supply chain management and customer support and is Apple’s only global corporate HQ outside the US. Read more here
Day 112 Companies are hiring at fastest rate since 2007
A KBC bank and Chartered Accountants Ireland report has shown that Irish companies are hiring has returned to levels last seen in mid-2007. The survey was carried out on 397 responses of chartered accountants working in senior positions in Ireland’s leading companies. Read more here
Day 111 Carlyle Cardinal to invest $350 million in Ireland
Dublin-based partner of the US equity firm Carlyle has raised €292M, including €125 million backing from the National Pension Reserve Fund, to invest in Irish projects. Their focus will be on technology, media and telecommunications sector, healthcare, clean-tech and consumer brands. Earlier this year the firm invested a reported €15M into the Kildare-based chocolate manufacturer Lily O’Brien’s.
Day 110 Dublin Whiskey Company, reviving spirits in the Liberties
Dublin Whiskey Company is opening the first whiskey distillery in the city for 125 years. Thirty jobs are expected in the distillery construction with a further 25-30 permanent jobs staffing the new distillery, visitor’s center, café and local gallery. The distillery was set up in 2012 by dentist Ed O'Flaherty and accountant Maria O'Brien and is currently aiming to raise funds from investors, check out their website for further details.
Day 109 Seesearch bringing libraries to your mobile
Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) lecturer, Dr Hilary Kenna working with lead developer lead David Garvan have launched See Search (www.myseesearch.com), online search tool with an advanced function allowing library customers 24/7 access to the libraries' resources from home or mobile. See Search have secured investment from leading start-up accelerator WAYRA and Enterprise Ireland and seen their product launched in Dublin libraries and hoping to expand their market in the coming months. Read more here.
Day 108 IBEC upgrades its growth forecast
IBEC now predicts the Irish economy will now grow by 3.1% (up from 2.9%) due to stronger than expected exports and show the recovery in the Irish economy is starting to gain momentum. IBEC also suggest that the only €200M of the €2BN of taxes and budget cuts are now required. Read more here.
Day 107 Disruptors gathering in Dublin
Many analysts believe that over 50% of today’s Fortune 500 companies will have disappeared in 10 years time. To see how companies and individuals can respond global leaders in innovation, business and technology will gather this September in Dublin for the Disruptors conference. This will be a one-day business conference that will examine how virtually every industry in the world is being disrupted. Speakers include Margaret Molloy (Siegel & Gale), Raomal Perera (Insead), Kelly Hoey (Cuurio), Clay Herbert (Spindows). Tickets and further info can be found at www.disruptors.biz
Day 106 Clonakilty Black Pudding turning tradition into sucesss
In recent years, Clonakilty in West Coast has became renowned for its Black Pudding. Using Johanna O’Brien’s recipe back in the 1800’s. Colette Twomey started to revive the recipe and tradition after taken over the family butchers in 1977. The firm has taken advanced of researchers at University College Cork to develop new products to allow the company’s products to be stock nationwide in retail giants such as Tesco and 10% of the puddings made are exported. Through Colette’s leadership has led to turnover of €13M and the employment of 42 staff. Read more here.
Day 105 Saying Fáilte to more visitors
Ireland has seen the best year since the recession in term of visitors a CSO survey has revealed. Stats for the first 6 month show visits from UK which grew by 13.6% (1.4 million), 10.6% increase in the number of visits by North Americans (574,500), a 6% (1.2 million) increase from mainland Europe and a 13.6%(425,000) jump in visitors from elsewhere. All major tourist centres are report a lift in activity. Read more here.
Day 104 Irish BioSalt: Healthy alternative to Salt
Entrepreneur John Thornton has came up with a low Sodium Salt alternative by mixing salt with Organic seaweed (kelp). Working with Bord Iascaigh Mhara researchers in Clonakilty, Cork they have came up with a formulation with 68% less Sodium. The company is looking to be able to market the product nationwide early next year.
Day 103 Bringing wearable technology to Golf
John McGuire founded Active Mind Technologies when he moved from Ireland to San Francisco in 2010. Their leading product Game Golf allows through a wearble device for players gather stats on their location of shots, the distance the ball travelled, and club used. This data can be loaded on the cloud and shared with friends. The firm recently had very successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and they also have gained investment from Adidas, Chamath Paliphaitya, Jerry Yang, Ed Colligan, Hosain Rahman, Seagate Technology, ACT Ventures, Enterprise Equity, Cross-link Partners, Moroda Ventures. Sports stars Graeme McDowell and surfer Kelly Slater have also invested. The company still maintains its Irish roots by having its R&D and manufacturing based in Galway.
Day 102 Linked Finance: giving SMEs a helping hand
Linked Finance is online crowd funding platform set up in 2013 in Dublin. Their platform allows person to person lending to Irish SMEs, allowing them access to capital while vetted companies to allow investors some comfort on the return. Some of Ireland's leading entrepreneurs have backed LinkedIn Finance such as Bobby Kerr, Senator Feargal Quinn, and Kingsley Aikins, as well as Irish American businessmen Carl Shanahan and Peter Hooper. The firm predicts that by the end of 2016, they will have lent €100M translating to 3,500business loans, 10,000 Jobs and €220M to the Irish economy.
Day 101 Keeping the world looking young
All the world supply of Botox is manufactured in Ireland. Allergan Pharmaceuticals employs 800 people at the Westport plant in Co Mayo and is responsible for manufacturing 100% of the global supply of Botox. The net worldwide sale of the treatment was worth £1.3billion last year.
Day 100 Confidence Surges amongst Irish CEOs
PwC's 2014 CEO Pulse Survey has shown a threefold increase in confidence in the Irish economy by Irish CEOs (86% up from 31% last year). The report also showed 9 out of 10 Irish CEOs of multi-nationals plan to maintain or increase their investment of the next year. Added to this 58% of companies are planning to increase their workforce.
Day 99 Ballymastocker Bay, Donegal 2nd most beautiful beach in the world
During this hot weather its best to head to Ballymastocker Bay, PortSalon on the Fanad Peninsula in Co. Donegal, which was selected as the world’s 2nd most beautiful beach by the UK’s Observer Magazine.
Clyde Hutchinson has a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and early stage enterprises. With his company NASC Connect (www.nasc.ie), he works with venture capital/investors, early stage entrepreneurs, incubation centres and universities providing mentorship, organisational development and business development services. He is also involved in developing strong links between Ireland and Israel through the leadership of the Ireland Israel Business Network and FWD Ireland, an organisation connecting Irish companies to top Israeli talent. Clyde is also the Chairman of Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland (www.wri.ie), a professional body that represents wildlife rehabilitators and the welfare of wildlife in Ireland.
Day 98 Supporting LIFE App, saving lives in rural Africa
Supporting LIFE is a project led by a team at UCC. Focusing on providing low-cost, effective and targeted information using mobile phones in remote & resource-poor areas allow local health professionals access to information. Siobhán O’Connor, a PhD student at UCC, recently has won a prestigious TEDMED Frontline Scholarship, US-based community of researchers, academics and entrepreneurs focused on using information and technology in the service of medicine and health (www.tedmed.com) for a smartphone app which gives “lifesaving support” to medical professionals in remote Africa and present the app at a conference in Washington DC in September.
Day 97 Shimmer, leading partner in wearable technologies
Dublin firm Shimmer Technology is focused in developing applications wearable wireless sensor technology. Use technology originally developed by Intel the company has been developing application for its sensor platform, which monitors movement and biophysical readings. The company focuses on using its technology for medical devices, neuro-marketing, and sport performance. It has been working in collaboration with companies such as Emerge Diagnostics, Kinesis and Telefonica. Shimmer is expecting its revenue to triple next year.
Day 96 Shellfish Butter, iASC provides a World First
Cork based, Atlantic Seafood Company of Ireland – iASC have launched the world’s first Shellfish butter made from Irish mussels, crabmeat and wild seaweed. Using patented pressure technology & process the company has been able to maintain protein structures allowing for the elusive umami flavour to be maintain. This will allow chefs and eager homecooks to enhance the flavour of dishes.
Day 95 Irish Film Industry, the emerging economy & Ardmore Studios
The film production industry is worth ~€170M to the Irish economy and saw 27,000 working on projects last year. Ireland has seen an increase from individual investors in films rise by a quarter, going from 3,372 to 4,217. The Irish government over the last year has given €73.1m in tax relief via its Section 481 vehicle. Ardmore Studios has been one of the key sites with Penny Dreadful, Tudors and Camelot being filmed there.
Day 94 Thinkvisual, a picture can be 1000 words
Cork based, Thinkvisual, led by Naomi Fein and her team of graphic harvesters are changing how companies learn and innovate. Using the art of doodling, they can help team’s visual learning and develop ‘crowd intelligence’ which can transcend differences cultural and language within team. Their clients include KPMG, Trend Micro, Qualcom, Amdocs, Stryker, IDA, Silicon Republic, Smarter Egg and SOS Venture Capital, plus numerous law firms and pharmaceutical companies.
Day 93 DotMed, interface of medicine, technology and the humanities
DotMed conference to be held in Dublin this December will bring together up to 175 healthcare, business and technology professionals, entrepreneurs and investors to expose them to ideas that take place at the interface of medicine, technology and the humanities. DotMed will also have a Start Up competition for early stage medtech companies pitch their business ideas to a global panel of experts and investors later for a €1,000 cash prize.
Day 92, PropelAd, democratising how stores advertise on Facebook
Irish startup, PropelAd has secured seed investment of $650K from Tribal VC and former Facebook vice-president of global operations, Colm Long. The company allows stores to easily and professionally advertise on Facebook allowing eCommerce access to all. They have currently 1,200 clients, including fashion retailer Laci Street, The Net Return and The Loop Loft. With bases in Dublin and Palo Atlo the company is looking to increase its staff from 7 to 15 over the next few months.
Day 91 Cork Foundation, empowering Female Entrepreneurs via using US Diaspora
The Cork Foundation, a unique fund dedicated to supporting local enterprise and communities focused on driving job creation and developing Cork as the best region in Ireland to start, locate, and grow a business. This December, they will bring together women from both sides of the Atlantic to assist collaboration and networking. Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland, will be the keynote speaker and the event with host of female leaders from multinational and indigenous companies as well as a delegation of entrepreneurs and business owners from the US.
Day 90 Ceramicx, keeping innovation in the family
Ceramicx, West Cork company founded by a family of innovators focused infrared heating, has now developed an Infrared energy mapping instrument aimed at the aviation, automotive, plastics and composites industries via its new Center for Infrared Innovation. This Center was set up by the founder’s son, Dr Cáthál Wilson and has successful established a partnership with Trinity College Dublin.
Day 89 LikeCharity, the startup which raised €2.5M for charities
LikeCharity was set up in January 2013. It provides a service where people can donate to charity by sending a text message and enables 100% of the donation to reach the charity. Over 150 charities already use its service to raise money. The company has helped Irish charities raise €2.5m over the last 18 months.
Day 88 SFI Attracting the World’s Top Research Talent
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has launched a campaign to recruit top international research professors to each of the country’s seven universities. The Targeted SFI Research Professorship Programme 2014 will provide research funding of approximately €5m for each successful candidate across a potential 47 research thematic areas. SFI director general, Prof Mark Ferguson sees “Attracting top-tier researchers will further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a destination of choice for world-class researchers, industrial partnerships and as a location for securing additional international funding,”
Day 87 Gaelic Escargot, Ireland’s only Snail Farm
Did you know there is a global edible snail shortage? In France, Italy and Spain appetites for Snails has created an industry worth ~€0.5BN as snail is low in fat and high in nutrients. Eva Milka from her small holding in Garryhill, Co Carlow is hoping to the first of many Irish snail farmers by exporting 95% of her 10 Tonnes of snails every year as she see Ireland’s climate as perfect condition for growing this delicacy.
Day 86 Translating your World Cup
Researchers at Dublin City University’s Centre for Global Intelligent Content (CNGL) have developed at automated Twitter language convertor which translates English tweets from 12 languages: Irish, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Croatian, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Farsi. Tweets in English can also be translated into these languages. The team have launched this service called Brazilator, in time for the FIFA World Cup’s final stages.
Day 85 Connecting Northern Ireland’s Diaspora powered by IDIRUS
Northern Irish Connections (www.niconnections.com) have launched a new initiative to connect its Global Diaspora to allow for Northern Ireland to take advantage of mentorship, opportunities and to build partnerships. This networking is made possible by new startup, IDIRUS. The company was formed last year by US-based Irish entrepreneur Niamh Bushnell and focuses on mentor matching solution that optimizes what's already in house: talented individuals with the skills, knowledge and motivation to help one another. Read more here
Day 84 Lauchbox.ie, Student Incubator with Global Impact
Today sees the launch of LaunchBox, a 3-month accelerator programme for teams of Trinity College Dublin students with an early-stage business idea. This unique incubator provides coaching, expert advice, seed funding and access to space and facilities needed to test out and launch new ventures. Now in its 2nd year, the programme is seen one of the Top 3 “Challengers” in the UBI Global Ranking of incubators.
Day 83 Best Golf in the World!
Ireland is home of some best Golf courses in the world with Royal Portrush, Royal County Down and Ballybunion regularly featuring in the Global Top 20. Ireland has >400 courses and has 30% of the world’s links courses. The Golf sector accounts for overseas spend of €202m for the Irish economy.
Day 81 Irish Peking Duck, SilverHill Farms, Europe’s largest Duck Exporter
Apart from Tommy Bowe, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan's other famous export is Duck. Silver Hill Farms have been operating for 50 years and employ over 150 people and produce over 60,000 ducks every week as well as duck related products. They have their own breed known for quality and taste allowing them to become the top exporter supplying 98% of all the Chinese restaurants in UK & Ireland.
Day 80 Happy 4th
The Ireland Funds founded originally as The American Irish Foundation in1963, by John F. Kennedy and Éamon de Valera and merged with the Irish Fund in 1987, it has became the world's largest private organization funding constructive change in Ireland and has raised over $450 million for worthy causes in Ireland and around the world. So on Independence Day we celebrate the help and support from our American cousins.
Day 79 Bank of Ireland Accelerator
Bank of Ireland has launched a new National Accelerator Programme based in Cork starting September 1st 2014. The programme ran as nont for profit by Start Planet will offer up to ten Start-ups, nationwide & internationally, €10k funding, access to Europe’s leading mentors and coaches from a network including Bill Liao and Sean O’Sullivan from SOSventures and Gavin Duffy of Dragon’s Den as well being involved in the new Founders’ Co-op initiative. Application due by 25th
Day 78 Ireland in the Top 10 Global Cleachtech Innovation Index
Ireland has enhanced its reputation in Cleantech by maintaining its Top 10 position in the WWF index. This index highlights Ireland early-stage investment and high-impact cleantech start-ups with companies and organisations such as Mainstream and The Green Way being shining examples.
Day 77 Lusca, Ireland’s only Wine producer
Lusca, Irish for Lusk, meaning 'vault' or 'cave' is a suitable name for Ireland’s only wine produced in Lusk, Co. Dublin. Growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dunkelfelder, and Rondo grape for red wine, and Sauvignon Blanc, Schoenburger and Gewuerztraminer grapes for the white. At present they have a very tiny total production of around 350 bottles per year, and they are hoping to increase that to around 1000 bottles over the next few years.
Day 76 Investing in Diversity, Female Founders Forum
A study by the Kauffman Foundation has found "Women-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieving 35pc higher ROI, and, when venture-backed, bringing in 12pc higher revenue than male-owned tech companies.". Today in Dublin will see a sold out Female Founders Forum organised by Silicon Republic, looking at the future of investment in female-led high-potential start-ups in Ireland. Speakers include Julia Hartz, co-founder and president, Eventbrite, Anne Ravanona, founder and CEO, Global Invest Her and Grainne Barron, CEO and founder of Viddyad.
Day 75 Second home to Silicon Valley companies
Dublin is twinned with San Jose and increasing numbers of Silicon Valley companies are finding their second home in Ireland. Companies such as AirBnB, Zendesk, Yelp have all step up shop in the last year. Attracted by the young, educated English speaking population based within the Eurozone.
Day 74 Celebrating Diversity, 31 years of Dublin Pride
Over 40,000 people are expected to match and join the Dublin Pride festivities today. The organisers see the parade as “a celebration of the rich diversity of the LGBTQ community in Dublin, Ireland and the world, with an expanded arts, social and cultural content”.
Day 73 NDRC, leading incubator on a global scale
The NDRC has been listed in top 25 of global business incubators on the UBI Index. NDRC is in the top 2.5% of the 800 incubators across the world. The NDRC was also named last year as World’s Top IT University Business Incubator proving to live up to its logo #bestplacetostart. They are currently seeking Female Founders for their next programme. Read more here
Day 72 Brown Bag Films carries off 3 Emmys
Dublin based animation company; Brown Bag Films has just received 3 Emmys for its Peter Rabbit animation series shown on Nickelodeon. Brown Bag was established in 1994 by Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O'Connell and have successful gathered a number of awards, including nominations for Academy Awards and a host of BAFTA, Emmy and Annie nominations for their shows.
Day 71 Irish Diary Board –Ireland largest food exporters expands
Irish Diary Board (www.idb.ie), Ireland’s largest food exporter. IDB is headquartered in Dublin, the board employs some 3,100 people globally. It is responsible for exporting >60% of Ireland’s dairy products to over 100 countries. The company has just announced further US expansion by opening a new $12 million cheese manufacturing facility in Wisconsin.
Day 70 Most entrepreneurial country in Europe
In a survey, Oracle Capital Group shows that Ireland No.1 in Europe and is the seventh most entrepreneurial country in the world. The survey focused on measuring opinions, attitudes, experiences and acitivities that contribute to entrepreneurial activity.
Day 69 Irish firm scores at World Cup
Despite not qualifying for the World Cup Finals, one Irish firm has ensured an Irish presence at the finals. Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath based Mergon have supplied the seats for Rio's Maracana stadium, where the World Cup Final is to be played.
Day 68 Irish Beef, Everyone’s Sunday Roast
Ireland is the world’s 5th largest Beef exporter. With over 100,000 Beef farms with significant number of specialist suckler beef herds, the industry is worth almost €20 Billion to the Irish economy. It is predicted this week, that the US government will overturn its export ban brought in using the BSE crisis.
Day 67 Most generous country in Europe
Despite economy crisis Ireland has remained the most generous country in Europe and 5th The World Giving Index looks at three measures of giving: the percentage of people who give money to charity, volunteer their time or help a stranger in a typical month.
Day 66 Go on, have a 99!
Irish people are in the top 10 global consumers of ice cream at 8.4L per person per year which is higher that the ice cream loving Italians. This makes the industry worth approx €200M and increasing numbers of artisan Irish producers such as Murphy’s and Boulabán Farm. So during this hot weather go on have a 99! Read more here
Day 65 Chuck Feeney, My Hero
Chuck Feeney, the Irish-American businessman and philanthropist was presented with the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Warren Buffett. Warren cites Chuck as his hero and example for future generations. Through his Atlantic Philanthropies organisation, Chuck has pledged more than $6.5 billion in grants to good causes in Ireland and internationally.
Day 64 Harnessing our Ocean’s Wealth
As an island nation surrounded by ocean, Ireland can use this resource for economic recovery and sustainable growth. Conference today in Dublin has 3 goals in developing strategies for thriving maritime economy, health ecosystems and engaging with the sea.
Day 63 Leading Europe in Entrepreneurship
Ireland has come 2nd in Europe for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs have increased by 9.2% up from 6.1% in 2012 according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Report. Also the gender gap has decreased and levels of Women starting businesses in Ireland higher than the EU average.
Day 62 Happy BloomsDay!
Every 16th June, Ireland celebrates the literary legacy of James Joyce. The date was chosen due to Joyce’s character, Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses, who spends 16th travelling through the characters and sites of Dublin. This year is of particularly significance due the 100 year anniversary of the publication of his novel, Dubliners.
Day 61 Special Olympics Ireland
The Special Olympics Ireland Games 2014 draw to close today in Limerick. Special Olympics Ireland is a year-round sports training and competition programme for people with an intellectual disability. Over the last few days, 1500 athletes have competed in 14 different sports aided by their 500 coaches and 3,000 volunteers. Read more here
Day 60 Irish Medtech cluster: 2nd
Ireland has the 2nd highest number of 15 Top medtech firms and over 250 firms in total employing 22,000 people.
Day 59 Wyldsson, turn adversity into success
Dave McGready has overcome unemployment and cancer to succeed with his sports nutrition start up, Wyldsson (http://wyldsson.com). Solving the problem of snacking for athletes, the company now has contracts with LA Lakers, Munster, Leinster and the Irish and Scottish national rugby teams, and professional golfers Shane Lowry, Thor Bjorn Olefen and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano as well as Rory Mcllory has been photographed with their products.
Day 58 Open Innovation 2.0
Dublin will host today the second Open Innovation 2.0 Conference. The European Commission/Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group - OISPG, Intel Labs Europe, and Dublin City Council are jointly organising the conference. The conference focus on encouraging innovation through integrated collaboration, shared value, new innovation ecosystems and rapid adoption keynote speakers include Martin Curley, Bror Salmelin and Dan Marom.
Day 57 Ryanair-the world’s favourite airline
Ryanair carried more international passengers than any other airline globally. IATA figures show Ryanair had 81.4 million passengers last year which was nearly 30 million more than its closest rival Easyjet. This makes Ryanair the world’s most popular international airline.
Day 56 Eco-friendly 3D printing technology firm MCOR raises investment
MCOR Technologies is a Co. Louth based manufacturer of eco-friendly 3D printers. Set up by the McCormack brother in 2005, the company has an alliance with retail giant Staples to provide 3D printing services and has just secured €6.6M equity investment from London and Munich-based WHEB Partners.
Day 55 Irish Seaweed is Big in Japan
Donegal based firm Algaran Seaweed has taken advantage of clean waters surrounding Ireland to produce seaweed for the Japanese food market. Even since the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, Japan’s production of this foodstuff stable has been seriously affected.
Day 54 Slieve League, Europe’s highest marine cliffs
Often forgotten, Slieve League in Co. Donegal has the highest marine cliffs in Europe. At a elevation of 601M the cliffs face the Atlantic Ocean in West Donegal.
Day 53 Europe’s only Toy Soldier Factory
In the village of Killnamartyra in Co Cork, Prince August, Europe’s only Toy Soldier factory has been operating since 1976 and specialises in the production of cast metal toy soldiers. The company’s visitor centre received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the second time. Read more here
Day 52 Yelp rates Ireland
Yelp is following the growing list of companies setting up their European Headquarters in Ireland. The “online urban guide” is planning to create 100 jobs when the open their offices in Dublin.
Day 51 Jameson and rise of Irish Whiskey
The value of Irish whiskey exports will double over the next five years and Irish whiskey accounts for 6% of the global whiskey market. Jameson sales are set to reach €1bn by 2020 with the number of cases sold worldwide each year having risen 1,000% since 1988 and Jameson accounts for almost seven out of every 10 bottles of Irish whiskey sold worldwide.
Day 50 Booming Digital Economy
150,000 jobs are predicted to be created with a value to economy of €22BN by 2020 according to a second UPC Report on Ireland’s Digital Economy released today. This is a massive increase from the current €8.4BN.
Day 49 Year of Manufacturing Growth
Irish manufacturing activity has grown for every month for the last year and companies are taking on staff at the fastest rate in 15 years according to Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index. Manufacturing accounts for about a quarter of Irish gross domestic product, according to World Bank figures.
Day 48 Nation of Tea Drinkers
Ireland drinks more tea than any other EU nation and has the 2nd 4.83Kgs per person. The industry is worth €78 Million in retail sales and is dominated by two iconic brands, Barry’s and Lyon’s. Read more here.
Day 47 Aircraft Leasing- Ireland's flying advantage!
Ireland is the global headquarters of the aircraft leasing industry with 9 out 10 of the largest companies being based here such as AWAS. Over half of all aircraft leased globally are managed out of Ireland and the industry employs over 2000 people in Ireland.
Day 46 Only the 80th
On a bank holiday weekend it’s good to point out that Ireland is only the 80th wettest country the world and due to the Gulf Stream we are able to enjoy a temperate climate all year round. For further facts on the Irish climate read here.
Day 45 AirSpeed: European Entrepreneur of the Year
AirSpeed Telcom, the business broadband services provider with a focus on rural areas has scooped up the Entrepreneur of the Year at the European Business Awards. AirSpeed founder, Liam O’Kelly will fly to Athens to accept the award after being selected over 17,000 applicants and 17 finalists.
Day 44 Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), first in Europe!
The Irish Government has launched Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) online programme, the first programme of its kind in Europe - aimed at commercialising state-funded research from all third-level institutes across the country and the Irish Government has committed €22m up to the end of 2016 to increase the capacity of the knowledge transfer infrastructure.
DAY 43 Come & See 5 Nobel Prize Winners in Dublin!
This July will see 5 Nobel Prize Winners speaking in Dublin. This will be a part of the first Joint Symposium of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute and The Weizmann Institute of Science with the focus Medical Research at the Cutting Edge Progress in the fight against Inflammatory Diseases and Cancer.
DAY 42 FoneSense and Sedicii –Flag bearers for Irish Start Ups at SV Forum
The World Cup Tech Challenge, organised by the SVForum took place in Microsoft’s head offices in Silicon Valley last week, with 30 companies from 15 countries represented across five categories including medical, educational and mobile technology. Ireland was represented by two exciting start ups FoneSense and Sedicii as examples of the emerging startup ecosystem here in Ireland.
DAY 41 Castle Martyn, welcomes celebrity honeymooners
Irish hotels are renowned with celebrities for their high degree of privacy. This week sees Castle Martyn in Co. Cork welcomes the celebrity honeymooners of Kim Kardashian as they spend this week in Ireland.
DAY 40 Decawave, EU top Angel investment
Startup company, Decawave, producer of location chips which allows for the precise device detection within 10cm has been selected as EU top angel investment. Decawave received over €25M from since its founding in 2007, from US and Irish angel s and investors including Dermot Desmond's IIU, Kernel capital and Enterprise Ireland. The company is expected to have a value of €250M when it goes public in 2017.
DAY 39 Enduring Appeal of Riverdance
Over 23 million people have watched the Riverdance stage show since 1994 when it was shown as a Eurovision interval act. The creative team of McColgan and Doherty behind show have earned €75M alone since 2000.
DAY 38 Ireland’s Strong Culture of Corporate Giving
Employees of Ireland’s Top 50 firms clocked up 166,000 hours of volunteering and raised over €3M for local causes. Microsoft was the most generous with a total of €8.8M in cash and other service donated to the voluntary sector. Both MSD and Bank of Ireland workers brought in €1.8M each, while Intel workers donate over 66,000 hours.
DAY 37 Ireland moves up to 15th
Ireland has had another strong showing moving up 2 places to 15th in competitiveness. Ireland outranks the major European economies such as Germany, France and UK.
DAY 36 Welcome to Lightstone Ventures
US venture capital firm Lightstone Venture to set up a €125M (€170M) lifesciences fund for novel breakthrough medical devices and biopharmaceuticals. The company will open their European operations office in Dublin this summer.
DAY 35 Go nude on some of the world’s top beaches
Despite less than tropical weather, several of Ireland’s beaches are amongst the top global nudists beaches in the world.
DAY 34 Cider, the national drink?
The Irish drink more cider per capita than anyone else in the world (16L per person). Ireland is home to a number of internationally recognisable brands such as Bulmers/Magners as well as a growing number of artisan and craft ciders. The industry in Ireland is worth >€80M in excise duty alone.
DAY 33 TAYTO, the world’s first flavoured potato crisp
Potato crisps were unflavoured until Joe "Spud" Murphy, owner of Tayto, developed a technology in 1950’s to add seasoning during manufacture leading to the production world's first seasoned chips: Cheese & Onion, Barbecue, and Salt & Vinegar. This led to this innovation to be licensed to other manufacturers.
DAY 32 Moody’s gives Ireland its second upgrade of 2014
Moody’s has upgraded Ireland’s credit rating by two notches to Baa1 from Baa3, with a “stable outlook” and this comes after returning Ireland’s credit rating to investment four months ago.
DAY 31 Ireland’s Sport Tourism set to double to €600M
Former rugby player Keith Wood is spearheading a campaign to double sport tourism from €300M to €600M. The sports tourism industry is worth an estimated €450bn globally – and is the fastest growing tourism sector.
DAY 30 Radisens, Space Age Diagnostics
Cork firm, Radisens has just signed another deal with the European Space Agency to develop blood testing kits for use by astronauts. This is the second deal with the ESA and allows for the further development for real time testing of astronaut’s blood in space.
DAY 29 Ireland’s Geospatial Information Industry
There’s money in maps! 1677 people are directly employed in the Geospatial Information and it’s an industry worth €280M in Ireland alone. With the increasing digitalisation of the industry its is expected to continue to grow.
DAY 28 Sonru, Disruptive Technology for Talent Wars
Wexford based Sonru (www.sonru.com), uses disruptive technology to allow candidates based anywhere in the world to complete automated video interviews using their own computers. Popular which many multinational and recruiters alike, the company has offices around the world and has been recently covered by Forbes Magazine.
DAY 27 Best for Angel Investment
Ireland has a sophisticated Angel Investment network for the investment and European Business Angel Network last year selected HBAN as the top federation. HBAP has seen notable returns of up to 700% from the recent exits of ActivationEnergy, Storyful and 20 20 Insights.
DAY 26 Giro d'Italia and the World’s Largest Online Bike Retailer
This weekend saw the launch of Giro d’Italia premier cycle race in Ireland for the first time. Making its path from Belfast to Dublin, the race will pass the HQ of Chain Reaction Cycles (www.chainreactioncycles.com), the world’s largest online bike store in Antrim.
DAY 25 Masters of the Eurovision
Despite not qualifying for the finals this year. Ireland is most successful nation in the Eurovision Song Contest winning the competition 7 times and Johnny Logan winning 3 times (twice singing and once as a writer).
DAY 24 World’s Sexiest Accent
OnePoll of 5,000 women from around the world revealed that Ireland has the sexiest accent.
DAY 23 MasterCard’s opens new European Commerce Startup Accelerator in Dublin
MasterCard has launched a commerce focused accelerator for innovative early stage European startups with direct involvement from leading partners including ASOS, Capital One, amongst others. Application close 16th May.
DAY 22 Global FDI Centre
Ireland is ranked 10th in world by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) think tank, with total of $46B invested here last year.
DAY 21 Service Industry back on track
The Investec Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of activity in the services sector shows highest employment in the sector since 2006 and highest output since 2007.
DAY 20 Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland is home to the World’s Largest Designated Coastal Route. A 2,500KM route running from Cork to Galway and up to Donegal. Taking in all the natural wonders of Ireland.
DAY 19 Dublin and Limerick leading investible cities in Western Europe
As Ireland retains its position in Site Selection magazine’s Best Place to Invest in Western Europe. Both Dublin (3) and Limerick (9) are in the top 10 investible cities making Ireland the own country to have 2 cities represented.
DAY 18 Rapid Expansion of Irish Tech Start Ups
Over the last year, there has been 122 new tech start ups or a 47% increase. This is further evidence of Ireland’s place as a leading global hub for technology.
DAY 17 Dublin, Global Hotspot for Human Capital
Dublin according to the Economics Intelligence Unit is the top global hotspot for human capital.
DAY 16 Largest Pool of Graduates
Ireland has the highest proportion of young people who have successfully completed third-level education in the EU with almost 36% of young people completing a 3rd level qualification. Read more here
DAY 15 Funding World Class Research
Irish Government through Science Foundation Ireland will pump €47m into scientific research to support 200 researcher positions across 36 research positions involving over 62 companies. This will help ensure Ireland’s place as one the leading Horizon 2020 participants. Read more here
DAY 14 Google’s continued faith
Google will create up to 350 new construction jobs as it is building a second data centre at Grangecastle, Dublin. Read more here
DAY 13 Anatomy in your pocket
Galway based medical education software application, Pocket Anatomy has won the “Boost” award at the The Next Web (TNW) Conference. The app allows for both professionals and the public have a better understanding of the body and healthcare. Read more here
DAY 12 Munster Abú
Ireland shares the most wins in the Heineken Cup with England & France but considering our population we are leagues ahead! Munster Abú! Read more here
DAY 11 Dream Destination
In a TripAdvisor poll of over 60,000 Americans, Ireland has came in the Top 3 Dream Destinations. Read more here
DAY 10 Best place to Invest in Western Europe
Site Selection magazine stated in 2011, that Ireland is best European location to invest measured in terms of business environment, business risks, foreign direct investment and infrastructure. Read more here
DAY 9 Warm welcome to International Skilled Workforce
Ireland has now streamlined its work permit system to allow the country to access top international talent to allow the country to become the “internet capital of Europe”. Read more here
DAY 8 Return of Employment
Ireland now has the fastest OECD growth rate of employment with 60,000 jobs created in the last year. Read more here
DAY 7 Dublin, visit by yourself
The Huffington Post rates Dublin as one of the top destinations for solo travellers due to the friendly pubs and helpful to tourists. Read more here
DAY 6 Fine Horses
To celebrate the Irish Grand National! Ireland is the third largest breeder of thoroughbreds in the world. In excess of 40% of the EU output of thoroughbreds and 11% of the total worldwide are produced in Ireland. Read more here
DAY 5 The Land of Chocolate Lovers
A nod to all those enjoying their Easter Eggs today. Ireland is the land of chocoholics; we have the highest consummation per capita, with 11.2 Kg consumed per person/year. Read more here
DAY 4 The World’s favourite butter
Kerrygold sold over 350 million packets last year. It’s the Number 1 brand in Germany and the top imported butter into the US. Read more here
DAY 3 Irish Biotech leads the way
Heart Metabolics completes $20M Series A funding to bring drugs on the market for Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and other cardio-metabolic diseases. Read more here
DAY 2 Has the World’s Most Flexible and Adaptable Workforce
The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012 ranked Ireland in having most flexible and adaptable workforce with is seen as key in attracting the FDI and companies to set up their bases here. Further info here
DAY 1 Best Place in the World to do Business
According to Forbes Magazine article published in Dec 2013, we are leaders in terms of property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance. Read the article here