Home > DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, Propeller Venture Accelerator > Why there is no ‘Irish Google’: Reason No.1

Why there is no ‘Irish Google’: Reason No.1

So, sick as I am of the ‘where is the Irish Facebook/Google/Nokia’ etc that we tend to hear in the media and amongst the chattering classes, I decided to work out exactly why this might be. OK, so we have 4-5 million people only, compared to even mid-sized global cities, this is a small population. But it is highly educated. And we have a lot of corporates here (who do tend to take a lot of the potential entrepreneurs into their ranks).

But there are some fundamental, almost cultural reasons why the number of entrepreneurs, particularly in the tech sector, is likely to be lower than one would expect.

So, Reason Number One: The Irish family and Emotional Support.

I know a number of younger entrepreneurs (mid to late twenties) who have been working on a startup in the last year. One of the issues they face, like all entrepreneurs anywhere, is ’emotional support.’ Yet, they are getting a chorus of ‘when are you going to get a REAL job’ or ‘when are you going to stop this nonsense/hobby/gap year and get a career.’

Yes, I am afraid a lot of this flak is from the fabled ‘Irish Mammy’. Compare this to younger entrepreneurs in the US, where friends and family not only offer an emotional blanket for their offspring (for the most part) but often raise money from family and friends to help their kids be ‘the next Steve Jobs.’

I suppose this goes back to Irish history and the old days of getting a ‘solid job’ in a bank, civil service or the police (nursing if you were female). This has been replaced now with the solid corporate job. Of course many of these jobs are no longer available, so we end up with a potentially lost generation, going overseas to escape unemployment.

I know a couple of guys who have gotten some funding and publicity in the ‘serious’ papers recently, and when I asked them at an event recently if things were better with their family, they admitted that their families were now just about starting to take their new ventures seriously. Hopefully things are changing. Otherwise a potential Irish Mark Zuckerberg might be forced to take a job with the real Facebook in Dublin…..

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