On their historic visit to Ireland today The Duke and Duchess of Sussex met a number of young coders, female and social entrepreneurs representing a cross-section of leaders helping to shape Ireland’s future.

The Royal couple visited Dogpatch Labs, one of Europe’s leading startup hubs based in the iconic CHQ building in Dublin’s Digital Docklands. Having learned about Ireland’s history and experienced its rich culture at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, the Royal couple’s focus moved to meeting some of the innovative people who are shaping the country’s future including members of CoderDojo, the global coding movement for young people.

Dogpatch Labs is home to over 80 startups and over 350 members. It supports the tech community by providing a space to grow, share knowledge and form connections. It hosts the most amount of free events for the tech community of any Irish entrepreneurial hub and provides a platform for organisations like HackAccess, PyLadies, ChangeX and Social Innovation Fund to accelerate positive impact and foster diversity and inclusion within the tech sector. Dogpatch Labs is also a founding patron of CoderDojo, the global movement of volunteer-led programming clubs for young people who are headquartered at the hub.

“True innovation comes from divergent thinking. We’re fostering an environment where people from different backgrounds are shaping the future. The Duke and Duchess’ visit to Dogpatch Labs as we launch new Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, is a significant validation of our efforts to develop a more inclusive technology ecosystem for the future”, said Patrick Walsh, Managing Director of Dogpatch Labs.

Pictured above, Aisling Cowap (L) and Aoibheann Mangan (R) Guistina Mizzini of Coderdojo H.R.H. The Duke of Sussex and H.R.H. The Duchess of Sussex being given a tour of Dogpatch Labs, CHQ Building.JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY. NO FEE

The Royal couple participated in a Diversity Roundtable focusing on specific commitments to empower and invest in women and girls in tech. The couple heard about commitments made, including Dogpatch Labs’ pledge to host a major female-focused Global Investor Day in 2019 and CoderDojo’s commitment to recruit 5,000 new female volunteers and youth mentors to the global movement by 2021.

“The fact that influential figures like The Duchess of Sussex are engaging in the topic of women in tech can really help elevate the conversation. Further, having The Duke of Sussex at the table sends a strong signal that men can play a valuable role in amplifying women’s voices”, Liz McCarthy, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Dogpatch Labs who led the Roundtable.

To ultimately change the structural systems causing the tech gender gap the full entrepreneurial stack needs to engage in the issue. With this in mind, the Diversity Roundtable was made up of a cross-section of the tech ecosystem including female entrepreneurs, champions of women role models in media, academia, youth, the meetup community and investors.

During the visit the Royal couple also visited a ‘Dojo’ where they met children learning programming skills for free from skilled volunteers. Giustina Mizzoni, Executive Director of CoderDojo said “increasing the number of female role models is one of the most effective ways to increase the participation of girls in CoderDojo and we are calling on women from all walks of life to get involved in inspiring and supporting the next generation of female tech creators and entrepreneurs.”

“CHQ today is a building where culture meets innovation and history meets the future. Neville Isdell’s unique and forward thinking patronage has enabled the mission-driven nature of the entrepreneurial hub and as Chairman of Dogpatch Labs, Mervyn Greene has contributed and guided its rapid evolution over the past four years. The partnership has been fundamental to our success and has enabled the uniqueness of what the Royal couple have come to experience”, said Patrick Walsh.


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