Dublin’s strong local accelerator and investor ecosystem has helped to establish the city as one of Europe’s central GovTech hubs: a position that could be strengthened further by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Launched in 2016, Dublin’s dedicated smart city innovation initiative, Smart Dublin, allows the city’s four local authorities to set innovation challenges and fund pilots for new technology startups. Recent campaigns have included challenges to make Dublin, more cycle-friendly, more resilient to urban flooding. Funding for projects has increased in 2018, with €900,000 of investment for five critical urban technology projects. Dublin’s size makes it the perfect candidate to be a testbed for new urban innovations: it is ‘big enough yet small enough to be the ideal location to pilot new city services and solutions’.
The smart city agenda is driven by a vast government open data store, Dublinked, which allows developers and entrepreneurs to use local data to create smart public sector solutions. Digital Initiatives such as these have resulted in the city is currently being ranked 8th (out of 60) in latest the European Digital City Index (EDCi).
The startup ecosystem in Dublin is thriving and only set to grow. In 2017, Irish tech companies raised almost €1 billion in venture funding, and Dublin receives more venture capital funding per capita than any other European city. Despite much of this coming from foreign investment firms, the city also has a strong local investment community, as well as almost 90 accelerators and incubators, including NDRC Launchpad, Startupbootcamp Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland – a government-run organisation fostering innovation.
As Dublin’s former Commissioner for Startups, Niamh Bushnell puts it:
‘Dublin is the city of “the 3 Forces”: world-class startups, a strong local ecosystem, and the most innovative multinationals on the planet’.
The city also has a talented local workforce, with top universities producing research (and people) capable of driving public sector innovation. Over 40% of Dublin’s population is under 30, making it a city filled with potential and home to the youngest population in Europe. Indeed, on a global level, the World Bank ranks Ireland as 4th in the world for availability of skilled labour and openness to new ideas.
Finally, London’s uncertain future as Europe’s leading tech startup hub after Brexit may strengthen Dublin’s position for attracting startups and investors. English-speaking, right next to the UK, and offering pro-business tax policies to new startups, Dublin represents an attractive proposition to global startups and investors. The future looks bright for Irish GovTech.
Top 10 GovTech Startups
Full Health Medical is a health platform that automates the process of creating a doctor’s report following a health screening, and converts this data into easy to understand green, amber and red indicators and a personalised health action plan.
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