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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 18 September, 2019
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U2 and Denis O'Brien back new network to support Irish entrepreneurs on both sides of the border

Endeavor will offer mentoring, support, and financing to four to six Irish entrepreneurs each year.

The Edge, board chair, and fellow board members Mark Roden, Ding; Elaine Coughlan, Atlantic Bridge and Anne Heraty, CPL Recruitment.
The Edge, board chair, and fellow board members Mark Roden, Ding; Elaine Coughlan, Atlantic Bridge and Anne Heraty, CPL Recruitment.

U2 HAS BACKED a new all Ireland business network aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, on both sides of the border, in growing their businesses.  

Endeavor, a not-for-profit organisation, will offer mentoring, support, and financing to between four and six Irish start-ups each year with the support of U2 and other board members, such as businessman Denis O’Brien.  

The company’s Dublin office will aim to work with Irish companies who have passed the initial start-up phase and who demonstrate that their business has the “potential to scale at least 10 times beyond their current size”. 

Successful businesses will then be provided with access to mentoring, educational programmes, and capital. 

Endeavor’s Irish arm of operations will be funded by its board of directors, with a long-term funding plan in place.

Along with U2 and O’Brien, the board is made up of Elaine Coughlan founder of Atlantic Bridge, Ann Heraty of CPL Recruitment, Mark Roden founder of Ding, and StarBlue’s CEO Alan Foy. 

The inaugural meeting today was chaired by The Edge who said the aim of Endeavor is to enable homegrown entrepreneurs, “and to ultimately provide a societal benefit for the island of Ireland”. 

The Edge, David Howell Evans, told reporters that U2 had been exploring how it can use its influence to do something positive in this particular area, adding that he came across Endeavor during his own research. 

After discussing it as a band, he said they all felt that Endeavor’s model was “the best fit to deliver for Ireland”. 

Ireland is a country steeped in entrepreneurial and creative energy and talent. In these increasingly uncertain times, it’s all the more important that homegrown enterprise is supported to advance to the next level in terms of scale, impact, and sustainability

PastedImage-61713 The Edge with Elaine Coughlan (Atlantic Bridge) Anne Heraty (CPL Recruitment) and Mark Roden (Ding) speaking in the Docklands today. Source: TheJournal.ie

In the face of Brexit, the U2 guitarist said that there is no reason why it can’t be an all-island programme. 

“People are very resilient and I’ve no doubt that they’ll work it out. One of the great dividends of the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement, is trade between North and South. I don’t think that will stop. We’ll figure out a way around it. 

The entrepreneurs of this country will find a way around whatever challenges come their way. 

“We’re interested in supporting entrepreneurs, North and South of the border. But also the opportunities that Endeavor offers are beneficial for the people outside of Dublin, so we are urban and rural, north and south,” he said. 

The office, Endeavor’s fifth in Europe, is set to be opened in November, headed up investment director Rory Guinan. 

Founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, Endeavor says it had helped 1,930 entrepreneurs to build more than 1,200 companies in 35 markets throughout North America, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, generating combined revenues of $20 billion in 2018.

“As part of Endeavor’s global support network, Endeavor Ireland will help the country’s highest-growth companies scale up and expand internationally, while providing a platform for entrepreneurs to pay their success forward locally, furthering the entrepreneurial ecosystem and enabling future generations of Irish founders,” Rottenberg said. 

Entrepreneurs who are interested in finding out more can visit Endeavor’s website here. Calls for applications will be open in December. 

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Adam Daly

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