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Niamh Bushnell, Dublin's first commissioner for startups.
Niamh Bushnell, Dublin's first commissioner for startups.
Image: Twitter/NiamhBushnell

Irish startups need to 'get better at talking and thinking big'

But our tech entrepreneurs are already punching well above their weight, according to Dublin’s first commissioner for startups.
Sep 14th 2014, 9:15 AM 7,213 13

IRISH ENTREPRENEURS HAVE the talent and the ideas – they just need to get better at talking themselves up.

Dublin’s first commissioner for startups, Niamh Bushnell, has delivered that frank assessment of the city’s startup scene a few weeks ahead of officially starting the new job.

“I think there is a lot more talent out there than we even know about,” she told

“We are punching well above our weight already, but the big thing is to let people know what we are doing, to start talking big and thinking big. I think, culturally, we’re not great at that.”

Back when startups were called something else

The self-described “serial entrepreneur” has just returned to the city where she founded her first startup, Pan Research, in 1996 – back before startups were called startups – after 16 years in New York.

Bushnell Source: Twitter/NiamhBushnell

There she jointly founded mentor-matching service IDIRUS, as well as serving as “entrepreneur in residence” at Talent Tech Labs and helping Irish startups launch into the lucrative US market.

The big question

Her current role was spawned in response to the question: what more can be done to make Dublin the place for startups?

“The objective was to create a single voice for Dublin as a great startup city,” she said.

“There are a lot of things we can do to make it easier for startup founders to connect with eachother and share knowledge with eachother.

“I think bringing the community together will help people not feel shy about talking big and thinking big.”

Bushnell 2 Niamh Bushnell, Dublin's first commissioner for startups. Source: Twitter/NiamhBushnell

And three tips for startups? Well, one really…

“Focus, focus, focus; that means: don’t get distracted by customers and don’t get distracted by other ideas,” she said.

“If you believe in something and believe you have the solution to a problem, do nothing else but sort out how to deliver that.

“This is something I have been challenged with as a serial entrepreneur myself.”

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Peter Bodkin


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