3 events, 4 days, 1 weekend of startup innovation

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

Startup Island Brand Final
18 -19 November

As part of this year’s Global Startup Gathering, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, organisers will host an intensive startup bootcamp on Spike Island, off the coast of Cork.

Startup Island is about bringing together the brightest startups and putting them in a challenging environment to fast track business success. Ireland’s newest unconference will connect startups with seasoned mentors and international VCs to challenge the way startups think.

Leading entrepreneurs will offer key business insights and share their own startup stories with a choice of topics up for discussion. Attendees will drive the discussions around five key themes: business model; people and networks; marketing; selling; and scaling and funding.

With an adaptive agenda and hands-on approach, startups will pool together their knowledge and draw on real life experiences to provide practical solutions.

Collaborate – Some of the best startups and entrepreneurs will come together to share their own startup journeys and experiences.

Participate – Real entrepreneurs sharing real stories of success and failure. You determine the discussions, so get involved.

Activate – Startup Island is not an ordinary conference. Be part of it and obtain practical actions that you can activate within your business.


Build your resilience on Startup Island and learn how to survive the startup journey.

17 - 20 November

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.

See the full agenda here

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

Shortlisted Irish and international entrepreneurs and startups will battle it out at regional finals as part of the CorkBIC Global Investor Challenge. Up to fifteen finalists will go head to head on Startup Island on Friday 18 November, with 3 finalists pitching at the Startup Nations Summit Gala Dinner 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 CorkBIC, the competition is for startups that are ready for, and seeking, investment and there are a limited number of places available at the Dublin and Cork regional finals. All finalists will have a unique opportunity to receive clear advice and guidance on how to improve their investor proposition from Investors and Seasoned Entrepreneurs at the CorkBIC EBAN Invest Horizon Venture Academy® on Nov 17

Applications for the CorkBIC Global Investor Challenge have now closed. Best of luck to all entrants!

Mentors @ Startup Island

Brian Caulfield


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

Chris Paton


Chris is one of the world’s premier exponents of Business Wargaming; stress testing plans to identify risks and opportunities.

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.

Simon Cocking

Irish Tech News - Senior Editor

Simon Cocking is Senior Editor at Irish Tech News, and freelances for the Sunday Business Post, The Irish Times, Enterprise Ireland, The Southern Star, and Dublin Globe among other publications. In 2016 he was been named on 3 lists of global influencers to follow for fintech, blockchain, and data security.

Frank Walsh

Enterprise Equity

Joined EEVC in March 2006 and his investee companies include: Swrve, EpiSesnsor, StoryToys, SensL, Ferfics, NitroSell, Gameyourgame, Metabolomic Diagnostics.

As an Analyst, Frank was involved in several technology IPOs, Secondaries and PIPEs (Private Investment in Public Equities). He was also responsible for the firm’s thematic research and publication in the enterprise software space.

Dr. Val Cummins

IMERC Director

Dr Val Cummins, Director of the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource and Cluster (IMERC), Ringaskiddy promotes Ireland’s marine profile by marrying the best of academic research to commercial development in the context of sustainable development of our coastal communities.

Ciaran Flanagan

Founder, IDEA.ie

Ciaran is a Brand and Marketing Expert with significant experience in tech companies and startups, as well as general consumer goods and services. IDEA has achieved
the ultimate Creative and Marketing Award for its Sector. He is marketing chair of
the Docklands Business Forum, the past-chairman of the GDBA, and founder of Design Business Ireland.

Heather Stafford

Assistant Director, Business Oregon

Heather Stafford is the Assistant Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Business Oregon, the State’s agency for economic development. Heather has been a passionate advocate for local investment strategies and an avid coach for entrepreneurs and start-ups in various capacities for the better part of her career.

Fergal Kelly


Joining MTT in October 2015 as Chief Commercial Officer, Fergal holds responsibility for sales, customer engagement, product, marketing and professional services.

Toby Scott


While a director of the British Design Council, Toby co-designed the double-diamond innovation framework – a globally adopted innovation tool. He’s also a co-author of IDEO’s method cards. Toby has more years of storytelling experience than he’d like to admit to: from working in theatre, crafting large scale festivals, to driving storytelling approaches to business in some of world’s smartest organisations – such as the BBC, the UN, and Barclays.

Morgan McKeagney


Morgan is an entrepreneur, passionate about design, business, creativity and innovation. He is co-founder of FRAMLABS, a user experience pioneer, passionate about how great design and a relentless focus on the user can create business value. Morgan is a mentor on four of Europe’s best startup accelerators: Wayra (UK),
NDRC & Propellor (both Dublin), and Startup Sauna (Helsinki).


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 member 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.

Day 1

Startups are ferried to Spike Island, where they will learn how to survive the startup journey.

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

Day 2


09:00 am onwards
Final conference

Conclusion of the summit with a closed session for all members

Newsletter signup


Startup Island tickets

Startup Island is about bringing the brightest startups together, and putting them in a challenging environment to fast-track business success.

With an adaptive agenda and hands-on approach, startups will pool together their knowledge of specific themes and draw on real life experience to provide practical solutions which they can activate in their own business.


Startups willing to collaborate, participate and activate should apply below for tickets.





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


Apply Here

1 Day
  • Ferry
  • Food
  • Masterclasses


Apply Here

  • There will be a limited number of free passes for Spike Island.
  • Make your pitch – why you?


Apply Here

Title sponsors


our awesome supporters