Creating space is key for new entrepreneurs, conference told

Dr Patrick Collins speaks of the importance of place at the Galway: Today and Tomorrow Conference in NUI Galway. Photo: Eibhlín Seoighte.
Dr Patrick Collins speaks of the importance of place at the Galway: Today and Tomorrow Conference in NUI Galway. Photo: Eibhlín Seoighte.

The founder of the hugely successful boards.ie and adverts.ie has said that events and spaces for entrepreneurs to collaborate are key to the nurturing of Galway’s start-up community.

At the annual conference of the Social Sciences Research Centre at NUI Galway, Dr John Breslin said that while many call on local and national government to create an environment to incubate business, it is actually entrepreneurs that are best placed to do this because of their vested interest.

“They want to get very skilled people – they want to have the opportunities to grow and they have a long-term vision,” said Dr Breslin. “I’m not saying that public service people wouldn’t have a long-term vision but the entrepreneur should have a 20-year plan or a 10-year plan of where they want to be and how they want to get there.”

For a thriving start-up community, he believed that all those who wish to be involved should be able to do so – and crucial to this is the involvement of the local community.

“You want to involve the whole community as much as possible so whether it’s the service providers, universities, corporate, start-ups – there’s a whole bunch of people you want to get involved,” he said.

For Dr Breslin, events and one-off networking opportunities were great. However, providing a place where key people can be located is an imperative part of the process.

PorterShed was opened in May of this year in the Galway City Innovation District – with Dr Breslin heavily involved in its creation.

“The PorterShed is our new co-working space – we set up a non-profit company about two years ago called the Galway City Innovation District and we rented the building from CIÉ which is behind the train station and was an old Guinness supply building.

“Bank of Ireland have Workbench and the Startlab incubation space on Eyre Square – people are bouncing off each other – there’s a lot of knowledge exchange and opportunities to find out what’s going on.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.