There's a lot to get excited about for young people living and working in Dublin. The capital city of Ireland is famous for many reasons and being a major hub of Europe's technological activity is fast becoming one of them.
From tech start-ups to multinational corporations
The sector accounts for more than €50 billion of exports from Ireland per annum, with top dogs like Facebook, Google and Microsoft taking residency in the capital city. Google employs approximately 2,888 people on its Dublin campus, Facebook employs 382, and Apple, whose Irish office is based in the south of the country, employs 4,000. Dublin is also Europe's leading hub of innovative games companies with Big Fish, EA, Havok, DemonWare, PopCap, Zynga, Riot Games and Jolt all having a significant presence here.
Dublin plays host to an array of international tech companies at the annual Web Summit. First held in 2010, the Summit is now regarded as perhaps the best technology conference on the planet. It sees speakers such as Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox and Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, take to the stage and is expected to attract more than 10,000 people in 2014.
In terms of job creation, the innovative IT sector is flourishing, this is in no small part due to Dublin boasting some of the world's most coveted incubator spaces. These include the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), Dogpatch labs (which once housed Instagram) and Teléfonica's Wayra. Internationally, Irish tech startups are gaining much acclaim, KonnectAgain and HeyStaks for example are making waves in Silicon Valley.
It's no wonder IT courses have seen a rise in popularity in higher education in Ireland. Technology courses now account for 20% of all first preference applications and computing accounts for 6.6%.
Women in tech
A recent survey indicated that just 3% of technology companies were started by women. In Dublin, steps are being taken to address the severe lack of women working in the sector. Initiatives such as the NDRC's Female Founders Programme and Enterprise Ireland's Ambitious Women's Programme are expected to vastly increase the number of female tech entrepreneurs in the country.
Another significant move for women in technology in Ireland was the appointment of Niamh Bushnell as Dublin's first Commissioner for Startups. Her goal is to "take strategic responsibility for making Dublin the best place in Europe to start and grow a tech and innovative business". This is a clear indication that IT features prominently on the government's action plan for jobs.
Technology for good
IT and innovation are proving to be an invaluable tool in influencing social change. This potential is being fostered with annual conferences such as Technology for Wellbeing, the most recent of which took place on the 25th September in Croke Park in Dublin. One Young World Ambassadors are also using technology to make an amazing social impact, Iseult Ward's social enterprise FoodCloud for example has enabled the redistribution of 176,000 meals across Ireland.
Breakout Session: Stimulating Economic Growth through Technology
With Dublin's tech pedigree in mind we are eagerly planning a technology-focused Breakout Session in the Wayra Academy, which overlooks the Convention Centre Dublin. Wayra is a start-up incubation space run by Teléfonica that has invested in numerous technology start-ups over the last two years.
This interactive Session will seek to give delegates an insight into how start-up communities evolve and how they can play a part in developing them in their home nation.
Our first speaker will be Mary Moloney from CoderDojo, a global volunteer-led community of free programming clubs for young people. CoderDojo was founded James Whelton who started his first school computer club after gaining international recognition for being the first person to 'hack' the iPod Nano. Interest continued to grow so James built an open source technology platform to enable other technology 'Champions' to teach coding as well. Over the last three years, over 480 'Dojos' have been set up in more than 48 countries. We hope delegates will be inspired by this phenomenal youth-led global movement.
The Session will involve a panel discussion and will be led by us (Patrick and Richie). This panel will include leading figures from Ireland's start-up world and we will focus on how Ireland is striving to increase the breadth and depth of its technology eco-system to establish its position as a leading start-up hub in Europe.
Whether you are involved in the tech scene, want to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur or even none of the above, we can't wait to welcome you to Dublin and show you the vibrant industry that's here.