First Day in Dublin (finally!)

We finally made it to Ireland! We landed around nine in the morning and then went right to our apartments. Although it was raining and cold, and I only got roughly two hours of sleep, that was not stopping us from enjoying our first day in Dublin after losing three days from the cancelled flight. We went to brunch and then had our first site visit at Enterprise Ireland!

Going into the site visit, I had a brief understanding of Enterprise Ireland from researching basic material about the company and from the information on their website. Enterprise Ireland is a government agency that helps develop startup companies in hopes that they can gain a return in the future. 

Helen, the last speaker, gave advice that really jumped out at me. In college, it is easy to assume that we should only focus on the hard skills, or quantifiable skills that relate to specific tasks of a job. That is not necessarily true because we need to focus on the soft skills as well, which are more personable. Helen also told us that when people do not only look at what skills you already have but also the skills that you will be able to pick up along the way. The ability to adapt to change is very important in the business world, and Helen stressed that. A third piece of advice that stood out to me was when she said, “education does not finish when you end college.” That is a valuable lesson that every college student needs to realize. We will never stop learning and we should always try to grow our knowledge in any way we can. Also, the Mentor Network Program that Karen talked about was very fascinating to me. The goal is to give back to Irish companies by advising, guiding, and offering solutions to the company to grow the business faster. I also thought that the fact that software startups made up 62% of the startup activity was interesting and also that consumer startups are becoming less and less each year. This past year consumer startups only made up 5% of the startup activity.

Although this site visit was very informative, there were some topics that I did not fully understand. Something that I would have liked them to go over in more detail was how they decided which companies to fund for startups and which ones they felt needed more time to progress and flourish. When Niall, the first speaker, was presenting some companies (such as Data Chemist and Aid Tech) he only briefly mentioned each one on a surface level basis. I wish he would have gone into more detail so that we could have fully understood what the companies do and how they are efficient. The last part of the presentation that went over my head were some technical terms that the speakers would mention that none of us knew. They would assume we knew what they meant and would continue saying them in their speeches.

When listening to the presentation, it is obvious that those speakers are very intelligent and love what they do. It was very professional, and I definitely think that being in that setting made me want to be more of an attentive listener and make eye contact with each speaker. Some of the content was difficult to comprehend and we all would have understood it more if they went deeper into some concepts; it also did not help that we all were exhausted from getting very little sleep the night before. But I made sure to keep taking notes as best as I could and try my hardest to understand those difficult topics. Overall, the site visit was a valuable experience and I learned a lot from it!

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