Unlocking Potential: The Value of an All-Island Startup Ecosystem

Gareth Quinn

In a world where collaboration fuels innovation and economic growth, envision an island where innovation knows no borders, collaboration sparks ground-breaking ideas, and entrepreneurship leads the charge for economic growth and reconciliation. Picture this: entrepreneurs, businesses, universities, research institutions, and government agencies from both sides of the border converging to exchange ideas, pool resources, and drive innovation. This collaborative spirit is not merely an abstract ideal—it is the tangible reality of the all-island startup ecosystem actively envisioned and cultivated by Gareth Quinn, co-founder of Kairos, recently acquired by Teamworks.


Enhancing Collaboration

From Kairos’ extensive international business experience, Quinn recognises collaboration’s pivotal role in achieving success. “By uniting diverse stakeholders, we can facilitate the seamless exchange of knowledge, expertise, and resources. This collaborative effort transcends individual business objectives—nurturing the growth of innovative technologies, products, and services that benefit us all. Whether through joint research ventures, cross-border partnerships, or collaborative funding initiatives, fostering cooperation can propel progress and guide the island towards a future filled with promise and prosperity.”


Attracting Investment

A cohesive entrepreneurial ecosystem spanning the entire island of Ireland has the potential to be a magnet for investors. Domestic and international investors are drawn to our highly educated entrepreneurs, innovation promise, and exponential growth potential. With a unified approach to entrepreneurship, startups will have access to a larger pool of domestic and international funding opportunities. This influx of investment is not just about financial gain—it is about fuelling economic growth, driving job creation, and catalysing the development of critical infrastructure.


Fostering Peace and Reconciliation:

Beyond economic benefits, an all-island startup ecosystem is pivotal in fostering peace and reconciliation. Economic collaboration and integration break down barriers, bridge divides, and promote community understanding. By focusing on shared economic interests and opportunities, entrepreneurs become agents of change, driving social cohesion and mutual respect. For the past 12 years, IDEATE Ireland, formerly The Ireland Funds Business Plan competition, has brought individuals from diverse backgrounds together around a common goal of entrepreneurship, transcending political differences and building enduring relationships and networks. As Quinn reflects, “I have been proud to support the initiative over this time.”


A New Era

As we stand on the threshold of a new era, the opportunity for young entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland has never been greater. IDEATE24 beckons, offering a platform for students in colleges, universities, or research centres, undergraduate, postgraduate, or recent graduates (<2 years), to turn their innovative ideas into reality. “Now is the time to seize the moment, to join forces with like-minded visionaries, and to shape the future of entrepreneurship on the island of Ireland. Together, we can unlock the full potential of a dynamic all-island startup ecosystem and chart a course towards a brighter tomorrow,” says Quinn.

IDEATE Ireland is open for applications from undergraduate and postgraduate students, recent graduates (within two years), and researchers in colleges, universities, and research centres across Ireland. Applications close on Tuesday, 19 March 2024.

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