Ireland's Life Raft for Entrepreneurs: Seed Funding and Corporate Mentorship

Bank of Ireland

The EU has bailed Ireland out of its massive debt crisis with a $112.53 billion aid package, in the midst of an increasingly desperate situation. And yet the country's startup scene appears healthy and growing--the country just wrapped the Bank of Ireland's National Enterprise Week, Silicon Valley is solidifying its mentorship and exchange programs, and the country is trying to brand itself as a "startup nirvana" in hopes of attracting international talent.

Ireland has a long history of nurturing entrepreneurs and startups, and it appears the country doesn't want to let that go in the wake of the financial mess--indeed, innovation may be its only way out.

Silicon Valley's interest in the country is long-standing and lucrative. The Valley plays host to entrepreneurs and offers mentorship to visiting innovators, much as it has in other regions, such as Chile. The Bank of Ireland's enterprise week is also an effort to nurture entrepreneurs and offer financial guidance to startups.

But it is the government's startup-investing agency, Enterprise Ireland (EI), that indicates the most aggressive push for startup expansion and retainment--EI is to announce within a couple of weeks a plan to use the appeals of funding, feasibility, mentoring, and access to attract international entrepreneurs to its shores.

"The future will be based on indigenous companies exporting out of Ireland, so it's important that we do continue to proactively invest in Internet companies. Internet and games area we've seen huge growth in and it is important we keep the momentum in that space," said EI manager, Tom Cusack, in a Guardian report.

EI will soon be launching a seed fund for entrepreneurs and the agency wants to continue to keep taxes low for companies. Their main concern is to maintain Ireland's image as international and startup-friendly.

Follow me, Jenara Nerenberg, on Twitter.

[Image: flickr user infomatique]

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