Dublin’s startup scene is going from strength to strength, with many of these small ventures holding the potential to become global successes.

GROWN

GROWN is a tiny Dublin company that prints beautiful simple designs on ethically-sourced, environmentally friendly shirts and t-shirts from a shop on Francis Street in Dublin’s Liberties. Its origins lie in conversations between three friends as they journeyed back and forth between Dublin and the West of Ireland, on swimming, surfing and scuba-diving trips. The ocean-loving friends were Neil McCabe, Stephen O’Reilly and Damien Bligh.  They’d noticed rubbish in the water and on beaches. It made them think about the ecological impact of plastics and modern fabrics, and how we produce and consume everything from food and drink to coffee and clothes. That got them rese

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Meet a Dubliner – Ailbhe Keane, Izzy Wheels

When Izzy was little she always said that her favourite thing about being in a wheelchair was that her shoes never got dirty. They looked brand new every day and the lights never ran out in her favourite light-up runners. However, her real shoes were her wheels. I remember we used to decorate her wheelchair for birthday parties and Halloween. We filled them with fresh flowers once when she was a flower girl for a wedding. At Christmas, we used to put tinfoil and lights around the wheels and lots of tiny Christmas decorations for the Xmas family show.

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Meet a Dubliner – Chris Flack, UnPlug

I used to work in very tech heavy jobs, consulting with big tech companies like Capgemini and Avnet. Back then I was one of the first people amongst my peers to get an iPhone and iPad for use with work. I enjoyed the luxury of being able to follow up on emails from the comfort of my home and get the updates about ongoing projects instantly; but after a while realised that overuse of tech was having a serious impact on my productivity and wellbeing. As the borders between ‘at work’ and being ‘off’ began to vanish I started having issues with sleep and my relationships as I spent too much time online. I needed a change so badly that I decided to move sectors just to

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Sprouting up

There are literally hundreds of young entrepreneurs launching their start-ups in Dublin, hoping to climb the precarious ladder in the tech, food and pharma sectors. Many of these companies will go on to achieve greatness; some will be quietly successful, others will become well-known names across the globe. Others, sadly, will perish under the immense pressure of starting and running a company from scratch. Dublin.ie caught up with Jack Kirwan (pictured above right), founder and co-owner of Sprout & Co. restaurants, which are, well, sprouting up all over the city, to find out what it takes to get from that init

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Fenu Health: From School Room to Startup

Secondary school is a time to hang out with your friends, do some study and grow as a person. But two teenage sisters at Loreto College on Stephen’s Green in Dublin have also found the time to found and develop Fenu Health, a thriving, multi-award winning equine health business with a worldwide customer base. Annie and Kate Madden, aged 15 and 16, are the eldest of four children. Annie is in third year and Kate is in fifth year. They live in Summerhill, Co Meath, with their parents and younger brother and sister. “We grew up with horses for sport, not business, and we’ve been riding since we

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How Dublin Works: Nobó

Dublin company Nobó launched its ‘Frozen Goodness’ dairy-free and gluten-free ice cream four years ago. It’s gathered a bunch of prestigious awards since then and is distributed nationwide in Ireland. You’ll also find it in stores across the UK – and in Waitrose in the Dubai Mall. Dublin.ie talked to the husband and wife team behind the brand, Rachel and Brian Nolan. Dublin.ie: Nobó isn’t some marketing gimmick, is it? It’s a real innovation. Rachel: Definitely it is in terms of the ingredients. There are other dairy-free ice-cr

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Cutting A Fine Figure

From one chair to three shops – the success of Cut & Sew Barbershop culture is on the rise in Dublin. Barbershops are becoming cultural hotspots. Places you can go not only for a haircut, but for music, design or even a whiskey. By taking the best of New York’s barbershops and adding a touch of creativity and an Irish welcome, Sean Bryan of Cut & Sew has built his business from one chair in the basement of a record shop to three stores in Dublin’s city centre. And he isn’t finished yet. Dublin.ie caught up with Sean to see what’s behind his success. Sean left school after

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Talking business

You’re the HR manager at a Dublin-based corporate. Your new hire has everything you need. Well, nearly everything. All they lack is the conversational English they’ll need for you to get the best out of them. Which is a pity – because that vital project starts in two weeks’ time. You need to talk to Salvatore Fanara and Rosanna Fiorenza of Travelling Languages. But first, romance. He was an engineer from southern Sicily. She was a banker from Turin. It was 2006. Salvatore: We met in Turin a few weeks before we moved to Ireland. Rosanna: He told me that he was planning to go somewhere to improve his English. Salvatore: We were looking to do something different, to make a big change. Rosanna: I decided: look, I’ll quit my job, we’ll pack and we’ll go. Salvatore: London, Dublin, Edinburgh…? In the end we just packed the car and we drove from Turin to Dublin. Rosanna: I worked in banks for another 7 years here. But I‘d had enough of banking, finance, I wanted to change, I wanted to do something else. So we brainstormed. Salvatore: I remember thinking that if I wanted to scale up my own working life I really needed to get up to speed properly from a language perspective with someone who’s not Italian. The starting point was when we realized that a lot of people weren’t satisfied in terms of the results they were getting from traditional language programmes: we’d identified a gap in the market. Rosanna: We came up with the idea for Travelling Languages in 2011 and I finally quit my job in 2013.

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How Dublin Works: Stephen Quinn, Jobbio

In that famous TV ad for Donegal Catch, the hapless trawlerman’s recipe ideas are kept ‘on file. In a filing cabinet’. And that’s exactly where they’re going to stay. It was the realization that so many CVs suffer a similar fate that got Stephen Quinn wondering if there wasn’t a better way to organise the world of recruitment – and, he says, ‘bring an old-world industry to life’. Stephen is the CEO of Jobbio and established the company with his brother John Quinn in 2013. His idea was a digital platform that enables people to apply privately to companies they want to work for – with what Jobbio calls a ‘live bio

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NovaUCD: Cool Ideas, Hot Tech

It’s an economic truth, universally acknowledged, that innovation is at the core of most successful businesses. Actually being innovative, however, is easier said than done. Which is why centres of incubation are so necessary. Ireland can proudly boast nine university incubation centres, six university bio incubation centres and 15 Institute of Technology incubation centres, all contributing to making this country one of the globe’s most exciting places for both research and development, and in which to do business. At the heart of all this, you’ll find NovaUCD. Located on the

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How Dublin Works: DCU Alpha

If you’re not entirely sure what the Internet of Things (IoT) is, or if you haven’t even heard of it yet, that’s alright. Essentially, the IoT is a connection of devices to the internet, whether that’s your washing machine or your house alarm and everything will be ‘talking’ to the other. On a micro level, that might mean that your alarm clock will tell your coffee machine that it’s time to start brewing a pot when you get up; on a macro level the possibilities are infinite, including making cities smarter.

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