The arrival of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Startup Nations Summit to Cork later this year will further solidify Ireland’s reputation as a nation that is committed to supporting, growing and driving entrepreneurship and innovation, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Startup Nations Summit 2016 will be the cornerstone of the Global Startup Gathering 2016, which will showcase Ireland’s startup sector to a global audience. Driven by Cork innovates and Startup Ireland, the Global Startup Gathering 2016, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, was officially launched today (Tuesday) at Cork Airport by Minister for European Affairs, Dara Murphy, T.D.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for European Affairs, Dara Murphy, T.D. said, “I am delighted to officially launch the 2016 Global Startup Gathering today in Cork Airport. The 2016 Gathering will build on the success of Ireland’s national celebration Startup Gathering 2015 which engaged over 18,000 individuals across 22 counties in five days. In addition, Cork is the first location in Europe to host the international Startup Nations Summit which brings together policy makers, influencers and leaders in the startup arena. The startup spotlight will certainly be focused on Ireland, and particularly Cork, in November 2016.”

Taking place over 3 days, the initiative aims to attract hundreds of international and national business people, entrepreneurs and those thinking of starting up across a number of sectors from biotech to food, manufacturing, ehealth, nutrition and technology.

“Celebrations will take place across the country with Cork setting the pace as the hub region over the three days. The programme of events will include debate and discussions, pitches, workshops, immersion labs, networking opportunities, mentoring all with the aim of promoting entrepreneurship and showcasing Ireland’s startup sector to a global audience,” said Siobhán Finn, Project Director of Cork innovates and the Global Startup Gathering 2016.

Speaking about Bank of Ireland’s involvement as title sponsor of the Global Startup Gathering 2016, David Merriman, Head of Enterprise Development said, “As Ireland’s No. 1 Enterprise Bank, we are delighted to be sponsoring the Global Startup Gathering 2016. Since last year, when we were title sponsors of the Startup Gathering 2015, the event has grown and evolved at an incredible pace. The superb entrepreneurial energy behind the event is a credit to those involved and we are thrilled to be involved in this next phase aswell. The start-up community is a strong priority for the Bank and we are very committed to supporting new and emerging entrepreneurs as they grow and develop. Bank of Ireland recognises how important it is for entrepreneurs to have opportunities to connect and learn from one another and GSG2016 offers an ideal platform for Ireland’s innovators to engage with peers and industry experts from across the globe. At Bank of Ireland we are proud to play our part in supporting entrepreneurship in Ireland.”

One of the competitions announced today as part of the Global Startup Gathering is the Global Investor Challenge. The competition, which will be run by Cork BIC and the international network of business innovation centres (BICs), is for startups and entrepreneurs who are seeking investment and are investor ready. Judges will seek to find the most investible business from a global audience. There will be regional finals held across Ireland in the week leading up to the summit with the Grand Final held in Cork on Saturday 19 November.

“This is a huge opportunity for Ireland given that it is the first time the GEN Startup Nations Summit has come to Europe. CorkBIC are delighted to support this initiative with the Global Investor Challenge and look forward to welcoming Entrepreneurs and Startups from across the world,” said Michael O’Connor, CEO, CorkBIC.

“The Global Investor Challenge is a really exciting addition to the Global Startup Gathering. The winning entrepreneur (s) will receive a €30k+ prize fund which will include cash and international services which will include coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs and investors,” added Siobhan Finn.

The Startup Nations Summit 2016 will take place on Saturday 19 November as part of the Global Gathering and will bring together the leaders of national entrepreneurship initiatives from over 80 countries. Delegates including startup community builders, policy makers, advisors, public and private representatives in the Startup Nations global network, will convene in Cork as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week – which will be celebrated in over 160 nations in November 2016. This will be the first year that the Startup Nations Summit will be held in Europe.

More than 1,000 visitors are expected to attend the 2016 Gathering in November. A programme of activities has been designed to offer exciting opportunities to network, build links, foster relationships and negotiate deals between entrepreneurs and innovators from startup communities’ right around the world.

“The 2016 Gathering will broker thousands of interactions over the weekend events by bringing together startup pioneers, investors, policy makers, startup promoters, educators and representatives among global and Irish visitors,” added Siobhan Finn.

It was also announced today that ConnectIreland is to assume control of Startup Ireland, paving the way for an exciting new era in the ongoing evolution of Ireland’s startup ecosystem. ConnectIreland has seen a significant upsurge in International companies wishing to start in Ireland as well as expand to Ireland and see this a very natural next step building on the success of the Startup Gathering. By absorbing Startup Ireland, ConnectIreland has strengthened its commitment to Irish and international startups, and will continue to work tirelessly on their behalf.

Speaking at the announcement in Cork Airport today, Joanna Murphy, CEO of ConnectIreland welcomed the announcement: “This is a very innovative development for both ConnectIreland and Startup Ireland. Given the skillset that currently exists in ConnectIreland, this union will integrate seamlessly into what we do while also offering new opportunities and areas for growth. We are committed to helping startups to succeed and we thank Eoin Costello for his vision, leadership and passion to date, and wish him well in his new role with Digital Dun Laoghaire.”

Cork was chosen by GEN as a location for the Startup Nations Summit due to the cohesive vision of local authorities, business support agencies and educational institutions in the Region. For the last number of years, through the Cork Innovates Partnership, the agencies have been working together to drive and nurture entrepreneurship and innovation in Cork.

Previously, the Startup Nations Summit has been held in Ottawa (Canada), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Seoul (Korea) and Monterrey (Mexico).  The 2016 Startup Nations Summit will be held in Cork from the 18th – 20th November as part of the 2016 Global Startup Gathering.

A full schedule of events planned for November are listed on the website www.startupgathering.ie

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