Today, we finally arrived in Dublin! Although we were all very tired and jet-lagged after a 7 hour flight, we attended our first site visit at Enterprise Ireland with a positive attitude. Enterprise Ireland is a government organization that helps the development and growth of Irish startups in a global, world market. They partner up with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales. Now, in one sentence: they provide financial support and advice to Irish technology companies to succeed in foreign markets.
During the presentations, I had five take-aways from the presentations that jumped out at me the most. It includes: 1. Enterprise Ireland values domain expertise and field experience very much. In fact, the average age for the CEO of the startups they fund is 39 years old. With that being said, I learned they are very cautious when dealing with young entrepreneurs. 2. They very much emphasized the ideas of customer focus and product market fit. This is interesting, because I kept learning these ideas in my business classes back at Pitt, and now a real company has confirmed these concepts! 3. The last lady, Helen, said that the most important skill in the workforce now is adaptability and showing that you have high potential to quickly learn new things and adapt to different situations. She appeared to be very trustworthy and knowledgeable, so I’m going to take her word on this! Also, adaptability has been beat over my head at Pitt Business, and now it has been confirmed by Enterprise Ireland. 4. There is so much more to technology startups than I thought. I usually just think of software and artificial intelligence, but Enterprise Ireland supports a myriad of different technologies including: immersive virtual reality, databases, consulting, graphic design, donation-service apps, blockchain, IoT, robotics, and more! There is a lot to the tech world than we think! 5. They also noted that startups are more likely to be successful when there are a team of co-founders instead of just one. This was very interesting to me as I never knew a detail like this mattered that much.
Okay, now lets move on to three things that I felt went over my head and left me clueless. 1. The stages of development really confused me. There were four staged, including new terms like HPSU (High Potential Start-Up) and SME (small and medium sized) enterprises. Each stage of development had different specific funding needs. I would love some clarification on what exactly each term meant and what different resources each stage needs. 2. I got very lost when they started talking about management development programmes and university partnerships. I originally thought this was more of a funding organization, but the fact that they focused so much on running leadership development workshops and mentorship programs confused me as to what Enterprise Ireland actually does. Do they do everything, as long as the service supports and helps the startup succeed?? 3. Do they focus only on foreign markets and winning export sales in global markets? They seem to emphasize that a lot and I know that global market success leads to a return in the future, so it helps in stimulating the domestic economy. I want to know more if they care about domestic funding as well, or is it all global?
Enterprise Ireland is a very complex organization that provides a lot of services. They do a lot, period. This was new information too. I am not ashamed to say that not only was I extremely tired and fatigued because of the plane ride, but I was confused half of the time during the presentations because of the complex content. I tried my absolute best to stay alert and pay attention to everything the presenters were saying. I felt very flustered, and honestly incompetent compared to the presenters. However, I pushed through the uncomfortable situation and did my own research on the side to make sure I understood what Enterprise Ireland does. Overall, I learned much more about this unique organization and the details behind how they support and grow startups.