Global gathering of startups a huge success in Cork


More than 1,000 delegates from over 60 countries attended events across the Global Startup Gathering in Cork this November.

The event, generously supported by Bank of Ireland, saw international delegates attend the Startup Nations Summit, which was held in Europe for the first time, as well as Startup Island, an intensive two-day business bootcamp for startups on Spike Island. Irish and international startups also took part in the CorkBIC Global Investor Challenge, which saw the winning startup awarded a €50,000 prizefund.

The Startup Nations Summit delegates attended over 15 meetings and events across Cork with the focus on better enabling high impact entrepreneurship. As well as addressing global issues facing startups, the event gave a key insight into Ireland’s startup environment, particularly locally in Cork.

Medical devices startup, Skellig Surgical, fought off stiff competition in the CorkBIC Global Investor Challenge to win the overall prize, with ComfyLight and FruitCubed narrowly missing out on the top spot. Skellig Surgical is focused on the design and commercialisation of user-centred, minimally-invasive technology. Its flagship product is SecuRetract, a disposable bowel retractor.

Meanwhile Startup Island brought 150 global startups together for an intensive business bootcamp on Spike Island, off the coast of Cork. The two-day event saw participants pooling their knowledge and sharing their experiences of the startup journey, as well as receiving first-hand insights from seasoned mentors, investors and business leaders. The agenda focused on developing resilient business models, self-reliant leadership, marketing and networks. The unique event also saw attendees pushed outside their comfort zones by Spike Adventure.

Cork tech startups to connect at Ireland’s first Talent Jam


Talent Jam Cork is taking place this Saturday 19th November during Global Startup Gathering 2016. The event is being held at the newly-opened Bank of Ireland Workbench, Patrick Street and will be the first time it is held outside the US. It promises to connect up to 20 Irish tech startups seeking talent with local professionals interested in working with them.

For those who don’t know, Talent Jam is a one-of-a-kind, hyperlocal event for individuals, businesses, and organisations to share and find great local talent. This Saturday’s fun-filled event will feature one minute ‘open mic’ pitches, where presenters describe their talent needs to a live audience followed by impactful networking.

Since it was founded, Talent Jam has gone on to help entrepreneurs find star employees, co-founders, consultants, advisors, and even investors.  Talent Jam launched and has grown rapidly in the United States as an entrepreneur-friendly alternative to traditional networking events and job fairs.

For anyone looking for an opportunity to connect with businesses looking for talent, this is the perfect event for you to attend. Many of Ireland’s best tech startups and talented professionals will connect in a truly authentic way.

Attendance at Talent Jam Cork is free for all to attend and the more support there is the better!  Irish tech startups seeking talent with local professionals interested in working with them should register online for the event by clicking on  Stay connected with Bank of Ireland’s startup outreach by following @BOIstartups.

How to tell your story and get noticed with a press release

Sharing your business idea with the relevant target audience is crucial to business success. Without a specific market, and a message to target them, generating sales will be an uphill struggle.

The importance of marketing and PR is one of the topics up for discussion on Startup Island. Through collaborative discussion, startups can tackle head on the best ways to get their message out and create awareness and a buzz about their business.


Simon Cocking, senior editor at Irish Tech News and freelance writer for a number of regional and national publications, will be on hand on Startup Island to help tease out what makes a good story and how businesses can get column inches for free.


Once such tip is to create a press release. Below, Simon shares his tips for writing a strong press release.


  1. Yes to great images, at high resolution. No to pixelated, pdf embedded images. If you can’t be bothered to promote yourself well, why should anyone else?
  1. Answer the ‘who, what, why, when, where and how’ questions. We have had press releases that leave more questions unanswered than a murder mystery book.
  1. No caps in title, IT’S SHOUTING, if your title and story are compelling enough you will entice people’s interest. Not by shouting at them.
  1. No long, boring, quotes from politicians. If your product is good enough, then you tell us why. Politicians are always going to say nice, long, roundabout things about everything; you, your product, everything and the weather too.
  1. What problem have you solved? Tell us please. You launching a startup or a product is not actually that interesting to anyone else. Unless you can tell me why you’ve done something interesting / helpful / useful to me, or someone I care about, somewhere in the world.
  1. Use simple language. You may want to show how smart you are, but using jargon, and TLAs (three letter acronyms, or 2 or 4 LAs) just loses your audience. It’s actually smarter to be able to explain your product in plain English. If you can’t, then …
  1. Less is more. 500 – 700 words is plenty. Possibly even too much.
  1. Give us a headline. We may not use it, but at least you’ve given us an idea of what your 3 second pitch is, yes our attention span is getting shorter and shorter.
  1. We like explainer videos. So do our readers, include links to them. And if you don’t have them, point that smart phone back at yourself, and make even a basic 60 second one. You never know, it might just go viral.
  1. Please give us your social media details, and for accounts that you actually still use and care about. People will read these articles about you, and some will even click on the links. It may sound weird, but we have the data to prove it.
  1. If you hadn’t guessed already, humour is great too. Don’t sweat it, better to be clear, but if you can be funny, you might just make our day too. Thanks.

Startup Stock Photos

For more details on how to write a press release for your business, click here.

Follow Simon on Twitter (@SimonCocking) for more marketing insights and tech news.


Startup Island Brand Final



Startup Island brings together the brightest startups to fast-track business success. Startup Island, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, takes place on Spike Island, Cork 18-19 November. For more information, log on to

Physical endurance benefits business resilience

Working the body is as important as flexing the mind if you want your business to succeed. At Startup Island, entrepreneurs will be put through their paces, both physically and mentally, to help them achieve real business resilience.

Over the weekend, startups will discuss their business strengths and weakness and work with facilitators and mentors to address them. But the learning won’t stop there, as Spike Adventure will push startups to dig deep during training at their purpose-built facility on the historic Spike Island.

Spike Adventure Photo Joleen Cronin
Spike Adventure. Photo Joleen Cronin

Derek Binchy, Manager of Spike Adventure, explains to us just how valuable physical activity is for business.

“There are the obvious benefits to the individual employee of increased blood flow and reduced stress, leading generally to a healthier life. This results in improved company performance as lower stress levels combined with an increased cardiovascular rate, increase the capacity to learn. Apart from the increase in singular performance, physical activity in teams builds awareness, trust, improved communication, competition, creativity, social interaction, morale and cooperation. Companies that improve the health and wellbeing of their staff members benefit by improved company performance.

Spike Adventure is a personnel development company. With tailored experiential learning specific to each client, whether that’s groups or individuals, Spike Adventure combines Lean 6 Sigma with Military Training Academy for a newly evolving ‘best practice’ in personnel management strategy.

With packages for corporate groups or one-man bands, Spike Adventure offers an intensive and rounded business development training programme.

“We will train you on what is relevant to you and your business. Your outlook on objectives, goals and procedures will become part of your business strategy. What you learn with us will correlate directly to your business to make the implementation plan clear, defined and attainable,” adds Derek.

Designed to be mentally testing and challenging, the core elements of the bootcamp are to develop leadership, confidence and communication skills, while ultimately fostering teamwork and camaraderie.

“Everything we do is focused directly on implementation into your business. Learning for the sake of learning is wasteful. Experiential learning, deployment of your new skill set and planned implementation is our product. We use a common sense approach and the examples we use will be relevant to your business. Our courses are designed to impart Lean and Six Sigma skills as part of your everyday life.”


Think you have what it takes? Register for Startup Island at

For more on Spike Adventure, click here.


Deserted prison to host Startup Island bootcamp

Investors, entrepreneurs, startups and experts will be thrown together on Spike Island with no escape. It’s survival of the fittest.

  • Startup Island Bootcamp is part of the Global Startup Gathering, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, which is taking place in Cork from 17 to 20 November, 2016



As part of this year’s Global Startup Gathering in Cork sponsored by Bank of Ireland, organisers have launched an intensive startup bootcamp with a twist – on the site of a disused former prison, on an island off the coast of Cork.

Spike Island will play host to a gritty, two-day, overnight bootcamp that will challenge the way startups think. With a host of leading entrepreneurs set to offer key business insights, as well as those sharing their own startup stories, Startup Island promises to be a startup event like no other.

150 startups who want to learn the real hard truths about making it in business will report for duty in Cobh on Friday 18 November before making their way across to Spike Island for a rigorous debriefing.

Startups will be pushed outside of their comfort zones with a physical, army-style bootcamp putting them through their paces. Business masterclasses will cover a range of important topics, with everything from pitching to raising capital on the table.

A night in the ‘cells’ will give startups plenty of time to think about their business models, while networking with fellow ‘inmates’ could open up some unique business opportunities.

Startup Island is being run on the 18-19 November, as part of this year’s Global Startup Gathering. Bank of Ireland is the lead sponsor for the second year, having been a major supporter of the Startup Gathering 2015.

David Merriman, Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland said, “This unique event will challenge participating startups to hone their skills in an intense, high pressure weekend, and is one of the flagship events of the Global Startup Gathering which Bank of Ireland is proud to sponsor. With a strong track record in supporting enterprise activity, Bank of Ireland is delighted to be involved in this year’s GSG2016 which takes place during our 15th National Enterprise Week. We are very focused on creating opportunities for startups to build strong networks.  Through the Startup Island bootcamp participants will not only get the chance to meet their like-minded young startup companies, but will also gain invaluable insights and learnings for business success.”

RTÉ is proud to support the Global Startup Gathering, as the official media partner for the event.

“Supporting Ireland’s startup community and our shared ambition to position Ireland as a global startup hub is important for the economic success of the country, now and into the future. RTÉ’s partnership with the Global Startup Gathering is part of a range of initiatives that we are undertaking to support the startup community in Ireland and ensure greater, more meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration”, said Múirne Laffan, RTÉ’s Chief Digital Officer.

Andrew Parish, startup facilitator, Startup Ireland added: “Ireland has a vibrant startup community, as evident by the enormous engagement with Startup Gathering 2015, which saw over 400 events held throughout Ireland across one week. This year we want to offer something completely different for startups; a gritty bootcamp that looks at the harsh realities of making it in business. We have an exciting lineup of speakers, with some truly amazing and inspiring stories of success, as well as how to bounce back from failures. It’s definitely a startup event not to be missed.”

Tickets for Startup Island are priced at €50 per person for an overnight experience or €25 for those not brave enough to stay on the island. A limited number of free places are up for grabs for startups who can tell us in 200 characters or less why they deserve it. Applications for tickets are now being accepted on

Have you got what it takes?

Running in parallel with Spike Island is the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Startup Nations Summit, which will bring together leaders of national entrepreneurship initiatives from over 80 countries. This will be the first year that the Startup Nations Summit will be held in Europe.

The Global Startup Gathering, hosted by Startup Ireland and Cork Innovates, is taking place as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.



**Applications for tickets are now open. Closing date for applications is Wednesday 26 October. Apply now at Watch the trailer here.

Inspirational Quotes from Women in Business

One of the major themes the Global Startup Gathering will explore is women and entrepreneurship. Here are some top inspirational quotes from some iconic women innovators, pioneers and trailblazers about leadership, entrepreneurship and success. 

albaYou may know Jessica Alba from the likes of The Fantastic Four and Honey. But did you know that the film star has built a billion-dollar business empire with The Honest Company?


 Estée Lauder was a trailblazer at a time when the options for women in business were very limited. Lauder co-founded her cosmetics company, named after herself, with her husband in 1946. Lauder was the only woman on Time’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.


Sheryl Sandberg is the author behind the controversial best-seller, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.  She is also the COO of Facebook and was appointed the first female board member of Facebook in 2012.

roddickAnita Roddick opened the first Body Shop in 1976, 40 years on and there are more than 3,000 stores in over 60 countries. Roddick firmly believed in the power of businesses to do social good and this resulted in the development of a business that dedicates itself ‘to the pursuit of social and environmental change.’

HuffingtonArianna Huffington is the founder of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Huffington Post. Three years after its launch, it was ranked by The Observer as the most powerful blog in the world. Huffington is also a prolific author and has written 15 books.

Become a Networking Pro with these 5 Tips

Despite innovations in social networking, the old-fashioned business card and a friendly handshake will never go unnoticed. There’s no denying that networking is absolutely essential for success. If the idea of walking into a room full of influential strangers terrifies you, here are some helpful tips to help you overcome that fear and start getting results. 

1. Remember, Networking is all about Relationship Building

Networking as Relationship Building

Networking is all about building meaningful and authentic relationships. As Entrepreneur magazine point out: “The best networking comes from genuine relationships, not a business card exchange.” So rather than treating others just like potential business contacts, treat them like you would a friend.

2. Setting Goals, Objectives and TargetsNetworking Goals, Objectives and Targets

Goal-setting is a great way of enhancing the effectiveness of your networking. Before attending an event, reflect on why are you attending the event by asking yourself “What business goals can networking help me to achieve?” Then identify the objectives needed to achieve these goals – think about who you want to meet, what you wish to learn and what you need to know. Finally, give yourself a target about how exactly many people you want to talk to. Be strict with yourself and don’t leave the event until you meet that goal.

3. Do your Homework

For the socially-awkward among us, networking can seem quite daunting but a little research can go a long way. Firstly, find out who will be attending the event, then research those you want to meet by looking them up on Google or LinkedIn. Then spend a little time preparing ice-breakers and questions. Here is a useful link to get you started.

4. Listen

Listening is absolutely crucial if you want to create a meaningful interaction with someone. Ask questions then rather than turning the conversation back to yourself dig a little deeper by asking more questions. Listen with the goal of learning something. Showing genuine engagement and interest is one of the best ways of making a good first impression.

5. Stand Out from the Crowd with a Unique Business Card

Want to make a lasting impression? A quirky business card is a surefire way of grabbing people’s attention. Express your company’s true personality with something funny, unusual, clever or totally and utterly different. See here for some great examples.


A look at Ireland’s Competitiveness

Ireland jumps to 7th place in latest World Competitiveness Yearbook ranking compiled by IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland. The results show a rise of nine places from 2015 and a record performance since 2000.

The IMD research is based on analysis of criteria from four principle factors: economic performance, government efficiency business efficiency and infrastructure. According to Irish Times, “Ireland’s rise in the rankings was linked to its economic performance, which was ranked 6th out of 61.”graphs_press-release-graph

Ireland scored strongly in business efficiency, which includes productivity and labour market flexibility. The country has also seen an A-grade on Irish debt from credit rating agency S&P, re-entering the A scale for first time since 2011.

In a statement released by S&P, “We expect the Irish economy to stay resilient enough to withstand the negative impact of Brexit.”

Taking a further look at the Irish economy and competitiveness, we found the following highlights:

  • Ireland now enters into its 5th year of economic expansion, remaining the fastest growing economy in Europe.
  • The Irish government is implementing its Capital Investment Programme to rapidly expand the capacity of the economy in areas such as infrastructure, commercial real estate and housing.
  • FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) continues to grow in Ireland directly and indirectly accounting for one-fifth of private sector employment in Ireland. In fact, 10,000 jobs came from FDI in 2015, a 47% rise from 2014.
  • Ireland is a multicultural dynamic workforce with over 11% of people employed from other EU countries. An overall decline in unemployment continues in 2016, down to 7.8% from its peak of 15.1% in 2012.

For an opportunity to see all Ireland has to offer, The Global Startup Gathering, a celebration of the global startup community, is set to take place in Cork, Ireland from 18th – 20th November 2016.