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August 2015
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October 2015

September 2015

#StartupGathering in Stephens Green

ConnectIreland offers a big event in Dublin that promises powerful networking for startups as part of #StartupGathering. The centre city Dublin event kicks off at 2PM on Friday, October 9, 2015 at 14 Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.

Focusing on the three important themes of the Startup Gathering – Start, Scale, Succeed – ConnectIreland’s event draws on the experiences of companies that have navigated this space.

Startup Gathering

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Startup Gathering and Irish Entrepreneurs

STARTUP GATHERING, one of the biggest start-up festivals in the world, features more than 350 events across Ireland in October. I have heard several really great entrepreneurial stories in Ireland but those stories need greater coverage if Ireland wants to be known as a hub for entrepreneurship.

Old Heads Chat at WASupKerry
Snap by @topgold from gathering of entrepreneurs in Kerry.

The Start-up Gathering should help encourage people to take the plunge because meeting up to trade ideas is one proven way of gaining self-belief. The rate of new business ownership in Ireland has dropped from 3.8% in 2013 to 2.5% in 2014 and is now below the European average (3.2%).

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Personally squeezed by false credit rationing

I HAVE A FULL-TIME job with a pension paid by the government of Ireland, have owned a home, have 10,000 euro in savings yet I cannot qualify for a mortgage because of rules set by the Central Bank of Ireland. Consequently, our two-income family now blocks lower income families who may have a greater need to rent the bungalow we occupy. Our annual household income tops €150,000 yet because our monthly commitments include €1050 of childcare and €250 for a car payment, we fail a litmus test put in place by mortgage regulators. We need to get a banger of a car when both kids get into primary school plus we need another €10,000 of spare change to climb back into the property market. In the meantime, “the mortgage market is poised to grind to a halt as banks run up against Central Bank limits on lending to home buyers,” writes Emma Kennedy on the front page of the Sunday Business Post. [1] We discovered some Irish banks can breach rules set by the Central Bank but each of the banks appear to have different mechanisms in place when underwriting property loans. In our experience, EBS has the tightest rules (and the lowest interest rates). The Bank of Ireland has several instruments that can encumber future assets as a method of reducing the immediate need for real cash on hand. It is also apparent that you can get a more flexible mortgage arrangement at the beginning of the year. The Central Bank knows these things, telling the SBP it was “continuing to monitor the implementation of measures on an ongoing basis”. That means no hope for us this year. 1. Emma Kennedy – “How the banks face a mortgage lockdown” on the front page of the Sunday Business Post, September 20, 2015. [Sent to Typepad via Outlook Mail for Windows 10 using Three Ireland on Lumia 1520.

Cherishing the Spirit of Collaboration

Paul Sweeney Explains
Photo of an OpenCoffee session by @topgold.

ONE OF THE GREATEST force multipliers I enjoy occurs when I share and share alike. The concept is part of the ethos I observed during many OpenCoffee sessions in Limerick, such as the one in the photo.

I remember the open conversation that powers the start-up community in Limerick and think it should be recognised by government ministers who are trying to foster creativity and growth among Irish entrepreneurs. The collaborative ethos that so often pores from many of Ireland's start-up clusters is often at odds with the precious (and damaging) attitude that reigns supreme in many of Ireland's educational institutions.

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Following the smugglers' money trail into territorial waters

IN THE 80S, I knew friends who flew into Libyan waters fast enough to create rooster tails of spray as they locked onto targets a few miles inland. Today, I'm walking the streets of Cork next to Irish sailors who may be plying those waters in search of smugglers carrying migrants.

Migrant Boat

Ireland's national broadcaster is carrying stories about an initiative in the European Union that will expand the naval mission to permit the Irish Navy interception rights. The plan, outlined by the Wall Street Journal, involves stopping smuggler ships carrying migrants from Libya to Europe.

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Fixing This Device is Not Configured Correctly

I HAVE A SURFACE Pro 2 that occasionally loses its ability to see WiFi and Bluetooth. I’ve fixed the problem by purchasing USB accessories that allow me to see wired connections. The problem with my Surface Pro 2 (a tablet loaned to me by a colleague) is its Marvell Avastar Wireless Composite Device often fails. I follow Microsoft’s advice and use various steps to disable, uninstall, power down, reinstall and enable the driver. Sometimes that works. When it doesn’t, I now use a Manhattan USB Hub with gigabit Ethernet adapter to connect to our campus network where speeds normally exceed 100 megabits per second. I still need to get a cabled mouse because when the Marvell driver fails, Bluetooth is inoperative. The Microsoft USB Ethernet adapter is smaller and less expensive than the USB hub version. The USB hub recognises everything I throw at it. It is the fastest way I have discovered for swapping files between the Surface, my phones and OneDrive. That ease of file maintenance has improved my workflow and enhanced collaboration. So from the headache of “this device is not configured correctly” came a better and faster way of managing my collaborative workflow. The Surface Pro 2 headache was worth it. [Photo of two Ethernet adapters snapped with my Lumia 1520 and sent from Outlook Mail for Windows 10.]