Doing business in Dublin - what to expect

As the Virgin Media Business VOOM Tour continues next week, the big red bus will be crossing the Irish Sea to head to Dublin. 

Population: 1.3 million

Pros: Ireland is a member of the EU, but also benefits from close links with the UK, it's home to more than 1,000 multinational companies

Cons: Competing with the multinational companies for talent can be a challenge, rent and housing can be expensive

Costs: Low corporate tax rates make Dublin a tempting place to launch a start-up

What to expect: A friendly, young population and a thriving start-up scene

To find out more about what it's like to run a business in the Irish capital, we spoke to Oisin Kim, founder of WebDoctor, and Jette Virdic, founder of homeware range Created + Found.

What are the best things about doing business in Dublin?

Jette Virdi: The best things about doing business in Dublin is that it's a very supportive creative community here. I’ve found that it was easy to collaborate with people, get help from your peers and take your work to new levels because people are so willing to help you here. It's really lovely as I'm a big believer of raising your community up.

Oisin Kim: The best thing about Dublin is our people. I truly believe we've the friendliest and most supportive people in the world. Our community is so supportive. I have multiple seasoned, successful mentors who provide me with guidance, support and a sounding board, people who have done it before and help us from making mistakes.

What are the downsides?

JV: I haven't had that much support from the governmental bodies or councils around to be honest. I find that they're still stuck in an old way of thinking and so can't see the potential, I'm still hoping to be proven wrong!

OK: I'd echo a lot of what Brian Caulfield from Draper Esprit said in an Irish Independent op-ed a couple of years ago. Although there were minor improvements in last year's budget, Irish entrepreneurs are exposed to one of the most putative and negative personal tax systems in Europe from Capital Gains to Share Options, for example our system is seriously behind the UK. 

How would you describe the business culture of Dublin?

JV: Exciting and open.

OK: We're used to punching above our weight. Businesses in Ireland have a can do attitude and are always willing to take on new challenges. It's one of the main reasons innovative companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Daqri have launched and grown their presence here.

What tips would you have for anyone thinking of starting a business in Dublin?

JV: Get to know your peers and work with them, don't believe that people who are doing similar things are competition, the marketplace is huge and there's room for everyone, plus people will remember you for being kind and helpful over competitive and in sharing. Working with your competitions creates a better industry and raises everyone's game. Don't be afraid of it!

OK: Focus on selecting a good market and then having a good product market fit. If you have a good market and product-market fit, everything else will follow. This advice came from Gavin Bourke (a successful Irish Entrepreneur who helped me in our early days at Webdoctor).

Find a mentor or if you are really lucky, mentors. This advice that came from a number of successful entrepreneurs, like Johnny Walker, Ronan Perceval and Justin Quinn.

Build a team of people that you want to work with and respect, then let them do their job. You can't do everything on your own, so find people that are better/smarter/nicer than you, and then trust them to deliver and empower them.

Virgin Media Business will be taking the VOOM Tour bus to TechConnect Live in Dublin next week (May 31st). Sign up for your free priority pass now to make sure you don't miss out on the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs, master the art of pitching, and be in with a chance to meet Richard Branson.


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