By @SimonCocking

Your background / what led you into what you are now doing? 

For over three years now I have worked as Project Director of Cork Innovates @Corkinnovates  and more recently I was appointed the Cork Open City Region Coordinator for the Startup Gathering 2015 by the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation.

I have worked with Startups and SMEs in a variety of roles and I also co-owned and managed my own business from 2002 – 2010.

I’m a member of the Advisory Group for Small Business to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation; a board member of the Startup Ireland Partnership; a member of the National Steering Group for the 2015 Startup Gathering and a member of the EU MYBusiness Regional Assessment Team for Ireland with Cork Institute of Technology.

 How was 2014 for Cork innovates? What was good, bad, anything do differently?

Really busy and really positive! By 2014, after just two years of activity our efforts were recognised as a model for collaboration with awards including being the National Winner of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards; the European Shortlisted National Recipient of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards and the Irish Public Sector Magazine Excellence in Business Awards.  This was on foot of receiving the 2013 Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Award.

What would you like to see in 2015 to enable even more Irish startup successes?

  • More practical measures to activate the unemployed into entrepreneurship
  • Additional measures to reduce the admin burden on SMEs
  • The introduction of additional measures to success access to non-traditional sources of finance
  • A focus on rural community economic regeneration to support startup communities in rural areas

What tips would you give to new startups?

  • Celebrate your successes and learn quickly what you could have done differently
  • It’s ok to ask for help
  • Put a value on your time
  • Find a mentor
  • Take advantage of social media
  • There are no mistakes, only learnings
  • There are no shortcuts
  • Be smart enough to listen
  • Be prepared to fail and better to fail fast

Any trends you think they should be considering?

  • Emergent sectors including the ‘sharing economy’
  • Emergent trends including agri-tech
  • Emergent markets such as Asia

What does the roadmap look like from here till October for the Cork aspect of the Startup Gathering?

There is so much involved in the coming months to get ready for the October 7th Cork Open City Region Gathering Expo including working with a multitude of organisations who have come forward to volunteer events and activities as part of our celebrations here in Cork on the 7th of October.  We have a Vision2020 Forum planned for that day in Vertigo, County Hall as well as a series of widely distributed events throughout the city region and concluding that night with regional recognition awards for the startup sector in each city.  And of course the business of Cork innovates continues side-by-side with these activities!



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