3 events, 4 days, 1 weekend of startup innovation

Startups, Investors, Seasoned Entrepreneurs – they’re all headed for Cork, Ireland!

Startup Island Brand Final
Can you survive?

Want to know how to survive in business? Push yourself outside your comfort zone at Ireland’s newest and most extreme startup bootcamp.

Combining a disused former prison on an island off the coast of Cork, Ireland and 150 startups who want to learn the real hard truths about making it in business, Startup Island is a gritty, two-day, overnight bootcamp that will challenge the way you think.

Leading experts will put startups through their paces and host workshops to help you break out of the ordinary and develop extraordinary business models. A night in the cells will give you plenty of time to think, while networking with your ‘inmates’ could open up some unique business opportunities.

Investors, entrepreneurs, startups and experts will be thrown together on Spike Island with no escape. It’s survival of the fittest. Not everyone has what it takes. Do you?

Ireland hosts first European Startup Nations Summit

This November, Ireland will host hundreds of policy makers and global startup community leaders at the Startup Nations Summit, as it comes to Europe for the first time in its history.

From 17 – 20 November, international attendees will come together to understand and share international best practices for high impact entrepreneurs to start and scale new enterprises.

By attracting global players in the startup community to Ireland, organisers hope to push the national agenda to further support startups and scaleups, as well as raising international visibility of Ireland’s startup sector and significantly accelerating Ireland’s ambitions to become a major European startup destination.

Cork will set the stage for this four-day gathering, giving international visitors the opportunity to experience the best of what Cork has to offer, including the chance to indulge in Cork’s food culture hosted by Taste Cork.

Winning Startup receives prize to the value of €50,000

Shortlisted Irish and international entrepreneurs and startups will battle it out at regional heats in five locations across Ireland as part of the Global Investor Challenge, before ten finalists will go through to the grand final on Saturday 19 November. Entrants have the opportunity to win a €50,000 prize fund, comprising of a cash investment as well as support services for the winning startup.

Led by Cork BIC and the International Network of Business Innovation Centres, the competition is open to all startups that are ready for, and seeking, investment. The regional finals will take place in Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Belfast on Friday 18 November, with international entrants invited to take part in an innovative online pitching contest, before finalists are chosen to go through to the grand final in Cork the following day.





Keynote speakers

Meet our most valued speakers

Brian Caulfield


Partner at Draper Esprit. Previously founder at Exceptis & Similarity Systems. Sold both. VC at Trinity Venture Capital. Angel investor and business advisor.

Sean Mitchell

COO @ Movidius

Sean has spent over 25 years working in the semiconductor industry in various technical, business, marketing and general management positions. In November of 2006 he joined Movidius, which was recently acquired by Intel.

Renn Vara

Founder, SNP Communications, San Francisco

Master story crafter, and marketing guru, Renn travels the globe working with multinational companies & startups, worked for four years on Capitol Hill and even ran for Congress

Jan Rutherford

Ex Green Beret

Jan Rutherford is the author of The Littlest Green Beret. A former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and successful business executive, he knows the value of overcoming challenges to strengthen resilience and lead more effectively.

Elizabeth Gore

Entrepreneur in Residence, Dell

Elizabeth Gore is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell, where she drives initiatives that support Dell’s goals around helping small and medium businesses scale and prosper

Philip Moynagh

Former VP of IOT @ Intel

The former general manager in charge of Intel’s Quark platform, Philip Moynagh says the world heralded by the internet of things (IoT) will be one that will see vast revolutions occur in everything from medicine and transport to farming and manufacturing.


2pm onwards
Delegates arrive

Delegates from over 120 countries will begin to arrive in Cork for the Summit

12pm onwards
Regional heats begin

Startups will begin their pitching journey in Bank of Ireland branches around the country. They will have their eyes firmly fixed on the €50,000 prize.

Reception and Networking Event

Delegates meet and greet their fellow GEN memmebr nations

Jonathan Ortmans
12pm onwards
Regional Heats continue

Startups will continue their pitching journey in Bank of Ireland branches around the country. They will have their eyes firmly fixed on the €50,000 prize.


"Inmates" are ferried to Spike Island. Can they survive the next 48 hours?

Gala Dinner and Awards

Event in City Hall Cork

Grand Final

Finalists battle it out for the Grand Prize in front of a large audience

Prison Break

Day 2 of incarceration concludes with ferry back to mainland

09:00 am onwards
Final conference

Conclusion of the summit with a closed session for all members

Newsletter signup


Event tickets

As spaces on Startup Island are limited and to ensure we have a diverse crowd for the startup sessions, please select the type of ticket you would like below and tell us in 200 characters why you’re suitable for the island.


  • Ferry
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Masterclasses
  • Bootcamp
  • After Party

Apply Here

Eligible for Parole
  • Ferry
  • Food
  • Masterclasses

Apply Here

On Remand
  • There will be a limited number of free passes for Spike Island.
  • Make your pitch – why you?
  • Successful applicants will receive a reply from the Governor

Apply Here

Title sponsors


these awesome companies support us



  • Cork, Republic of Ireland
  • contact@startupireland.ie
  • +353 56 779 7422
  • 7:30 - 20:00