We made it!

Well, I finally made it to Dublin! After another two hour delay and an eight hour flight, we landed in Dublin and wasted no time getting right to work. After stopping at our apartments for an hour to put our stuff away and freshen up after such a long flight, we headed to Chorus Cafe for orientation, and then straight to our first site visit- Enterprise Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland is a government agency that focuses on facilitating entrepreneurial business in Ireland. From providing seed money for new startups to having an extended amount of resources for entrepreneurs to take advantage of, there’s no government equivalent to EI in the states so it was really interesting to hear about the organization and learn from its staff.

Our presentation consisted of four parts: they explained who EI is and what it does, got into the nitty-gritty policy aspects of the agency, went over the client management development program, and detailed their GradStart program.

Here are five takeaways that I received from the presentation:

  • Ireland is invested in their entrepreneurs
    Whereas in the US, where entrepreneurship is viewed as a very personal endeavor, in Ireland the government is invested in their entrepreneurs in a very hands-on way. It’s interesting to see the contract between how the government views entrepreneurship in the US versus Ireland.
  • They have great resources to set businesses up for success
    From a program to help companies grow internationally to a mentorship match program, Enterprise Ireland has a variety of resources that help businesses grow and expand.
  • With age comes experience
    When it comes to American entrepreneurship, my mind always goes to Shark Tank and I tend to picture entrepreneurs as being young and alternative. Enterprise Ireland made it a point to say that they tend to invest in entrepreneurs who are very experienced, especially in management. This means that the average age of a business owner they invest in is 40 years old, quite a difference from the 20-year-old college dropout image I have in my mind.
  • Brexit is impacting all aspects of Ireland, especially the business
    If you thought that Brexit is affecting only certain aspects of the Irish ecosystem, think again. Brexit has major implications when it comes to different functions in Ireland, but especially business.
  • Business mentors are extremely important
    If Enterprise Ireland has a whole program dedicated to finding mentors for entrepreneurs, then it’s extremely important. I know that, especially after this presentation, I am going to make it a point of finding a business mentor.

Even though I found a lot of the presentations interesting, there were still a few things that I struggle to wrap my mind around.

  • Policy
    The policy presentation was intense and dealt with a lot of details. It would be a lot of information to take in at any point, but especially when your jetlagged and sleep deprived.
  • Brexit
    Brexit is having a huge impact on Irish business, but it’s very complicated, and there’s still a big question mark when it comes to exactly how it will affect entrepreneurship.

When there is a topic I don’t understand, specifically one that’s explained by incredibly smart and accomplished people, I just try to learn all that I can about the topic in hopes that next time it comes up I will be more educated about it.

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