Roisin Lyons, who is a professor in entrepreneurship at DCU, has no time for the mindset that says, in effect, ‘Innovation? Oh that’s just for innovators’. “Everyone needs to be innovative”, she believes, “everyone needs to be enterprising, particularly with growing issues of sustainability in Ireland. People have to be more inventive about solutions”.
With a healthy community of entrepreneurs, suppliers, distributors and consumers positioned in Dublin, investing in the city has never been a better opportunity.
Zendesk is a software as a service (SAAS) company that specialises in helping companies’ customer care operations. The company was founded in Copenhagen 10 years ago and has grown massively since then. With six products and over 100,000 customers worldwide, it has come a long way. “The initial concept was making life easier for customer support engineers,” says Colum Twomey, Zendesk Vice President. “We developed a customer support platform, a software as a service product, and that’s where we came from. Since then we’ve developed more products and addressed a broader market.” Zendesk now offers a voice channel product, chat services, data analytics pro
Innovation is what has brought the human race as far as it has come… Because of innovation, we have tackled disease; we have navigated the globe by land, sea and air; we have sent men to the moon. Soon we will have driverless cars. Innovation, in many ways, defines us. But it also has its limits and drawbacks. There is an innate impulse to push things as far as they can go. At times you wonder why innovation has taken us in this peculiar direction. What is the need for this device? Why has this phenomenon taken over? This is when innovation becomes irresponsible. That innate drive to push boundaries can have consequences for the environment, commerce and social well-
I came over to Dublin from Edinburgh in 2005. I suppose it was bang in the middle of the good times. Back then, the atmosphere here was insane; there was so much going on, it was so busy. Ireland and Dublin were really riding the wave at that time. Employment was high, everyone was well paid, everyone had nice cars, you could get a loan if you wanted. Then we moved into hard times, and it’s changed a lot in that regard now. I think people are more grounded; there’s a sense of reality now. I don’t think the ordinary man is as tempted to get carried away. People are more concerned with value and being sensible. I think that’s a positive that can be taken out of the recession.
The Guinness Enterprise Centre, on Taylor’s Lane in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties, is managed by Dublin Business Innovation Centre and has been named the no.1 university associated business incubation centre in the world. In the first of two articles about the GEC, Dublin.ie talks to Eamonn Sayers, the centre’s manager since 2011. Dublin.ie: I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve got an idea. What can the GEC do for me here? Eamonn Sayers: The first step here is that we’ll try and put you in front of an entrepreneur who’s in the same industry. We’ll say have a chat with this person, see what they’re thinking. If you’ve identified your target market, again we’ll say we know someone here who’s in the same market and they’ll have a coffee with you too. Dublin.ie: Then what happens? Eamonn Sayers: Our role here is to help your company grow and scale. We help to make it become better and we help to make you a better entrepreneur. We create an environment and a community and a sense of belonging that makes entrepreneurs very comfortable, makes them enjoy the fact that this is their office, this is their workplace, so that both the entrepreneur and their teams are in the best place to grow their businesses.
It’s been going on for a while. You might call it a movement - a revolution of sorts – but it’s certainly a good idea. It’s the pop-up. Pop-up shops and pop-up spaces have become an increasingly common sight. At Dublin.ie, we wanted to know more. First things first: they don’t go pop, and they’re not inflatable. The term pop-up can cover a lot. But in essence, we’re talking artists, designers and businesses getting the chance to make use of premises they wouldn’t otherwise have access to – all those shops and work spaces that closed during the recession because their tenants couldn’t afford the rent anymore.