networking west

Top 5 Networking Events in the West this Spring

It’s the new year and it’s time to get out there and promote your business, get inspired and expand your network.

There are so many great networking and business events taking place across the West of Ireland; we’ve rounded up our list of the ones not to miss.

1. Leveraging Ireland West Airport, How can your Business Benefit? BOI Workbench, Galway, 18 Jan 2018

Ireland West Airport had a record-breaking year as the airport’s passenger numbers increased by 7pc or 48,000 to 733,869. How can your business benefit from that, and even create more demand for those routes?. Join an interactive talk with Donal Healy, Head of Marketing & Route Development. This event welcomes hoteliers, tour companies, local business owners and anyone who can add value to the west region’s airport. Learn about the routes in place for 2018, the demographic of people through the airport into the west region, and how you can target cities of origin. All welcome!

Register at

2. Hackaholdem, The Building Block, Sligo, 03 & 04 February

sligo hackathonHackahold’em – a gamified version of a hackathon is set to take place in The Building Block, Sligo on February 03-04 2018.
Bringing together up to 40 programmers, designers and product developers, the event will take place over a 24 hour period with 5- 7 teams set to participate.

The event is for developers, designers and all-rounders in the digital space and our aim is to bring the fun and community feel back into hackathons, while providing a space for participants to network and build something cool together.

Sign up now!

3. Digital West, GMIT, Mayo, 30 January

Emerging trends and careers in Digital Media and how companies can stay competitive will be the focus of a public seminar in GMIT Mayo on Tuesday 30 January, delivered by leading professionals and academics in digital media, marketing and technology.

Organised by the Mayo campus academic staff in collaboration with the Innovation Hub, the “Digital West” event will include topics on Digital Media Strategies, Bots & Automation, Google Analytics, Automation of Digital Media, Blockchain, and more.

This Dynamic FREE event will focus on emerging trends in Digital Media and how they will affect companies and individuals in 2018 and beyond.
As the digital media landscape rapidly evolves with the introduction of new technologies such as AI, analytics, automation and a movement towards high definition video communication, companies are finding it increasingly hard to attract and maintain talent.
More at

4. Open Talent Speed Dating, Galway, 06 April

Open Talent Galway

Open Talent is a two-part event where people of all backgrounds come to Galway city over two days in April for a sweep of 1-1 interviews, and speed dating events with local businesses. Want to get straight to interview?

Register at

5. Startup Weekend West (Ire): Future of Towns, Achill Island, 27 April

Keel Beach

Keel Beach, Achill

Achill Island, Co. Mayo is the destination for the upcoming Startup Weekend West taking place on Friday, April 27, 2018. The theme is the future of towns.

This unique Startup Weekend will bring together designers, developers, county councillors, urban planners, founders, and much more to conceive ideas and build solutions that will bring life and economic vitality back into Irish towns.

The weekend costs just €60 to attend, and that includes all meals each day, a t-shirt and some cosy accommodation.

On Friday, some of the attendees will pitch an idea for 60 seconds. The best ten ideas (voted for by attendees) will progress to build a team and then through to pitch at the final. On Saturday, mentors and coaches (who are established business owners or experts in their area) will be brought in to help guide the teams through execution. On Sunday, the event will finish with the final pitches and winners announced. There’s also a cracking after-party.

TechStars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

Full details on how to get involved at


One Region One Vision Conference Video Highlights

For 2018 the Western Region will be recognised as European Entrepreneurial Region.

Recognising the success of our indigenous and small enterprises. Our commitment to innovation will see us become one of the most resilient places in Europe.

The One Region One Vision Conference took place in Galway on November 28th.

The Western Development Commission was delighted to collaborate on this conference with the North Western Regional Assembly.

One Region One Vision celebrated achievement, whilst also promoting investment in our competitiveness through Structural Funds and launching our Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy.

So get your 2018 moving by watching the One Region One Vision inspirational speakers including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Harry Hughes of PortWest, Mary Rodgers (Portershed), Adrian Weckler (INM) and many more.

the building block

Bank of Ireland’s Startlab goes deep in the West.

Startlab, Bank of Ireland’s unique startup incubator is looking to extend its reach into the West region with its newly formed “startlab remote” programme. Originally based in Galway, the programme runs over a 6 month period and helps fledgling tech startups to scale by providing complimentary facilities including desk space, high-speed Wi-Fi, conference rooms as well as one to one sessions with key coaches and mentors, introductions to investors and support from Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Team. Startlab remote will see Bank of Ireland link up with the growing number of coworking spaces opening in the region such as the, The Leeson Enterprise Centre in Westport and The Building Block here in Sligo. Successful applicants will benefit from the suite of supports the programme has to offer as well as desk space in their locality.

Tracy Keogh, Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Manger for the West explains, “Our startlab remote programme came about from listening to the community and our customers. A move to Galway simply wasn’t on the cards for some of our candidates so we needed to explore how we could still support them. Successful applicants will have their desk space funded and will have access to everything the programme has to offer such as mentoring and access to our network. I would encourage any tech startup with global ambitions to apply”.

Startlab Galway is one of 3 incubators run by BOI with a Fintech focused programme in Dublin and a startlab space in New York to help companies tackle the U.S market.

The Building Block’s Community Manager Karen Foley commented, “Bank of Ireland’s startlab is a fantastic initiative for startups in the West of Ireland and The Building Block, a hub for entrepreneurs and startups, are looking forward to welcoming the successful candidate to join our growing community here in Sligo.”

Head of Bank of Ireland Sligo, Tara Rodgers offers, “Sligo is the major urban settlement in the Northwest after Galway and we’re delighted that the startlab programme is expanding. The student population that the 3rd level institutes attract here make it a breeding ground for innovation and the startup community here is really taking off”. “All aside Sligo is a great place to live and is a must see on the West Cost, according to Vogue magazine no less”, laughs Rodgers.

Applications are open until the 30th of November on

For more information: You can arrange a 1 to 1 meeting with Programme Lead Graham Clarke on the 27th November in The Building Block


Inventor of Baileys Keynotes at Congregation as Mayo Tourist Village Turned into Innovation Centre

The quite tourist village of Cong will be turned into a buzzing centre of Innovation as 100 experts converge on the town for a three day unconference.  Taking place from Friday Nov 24th to 26th the event will see all attendees present their views and thinking on Innovation from the Curse of Innovation, untold consequences of innovation to Innovation and Faith.

Congregation kicks off with an evening of personal ‘Innovation Stories’ in Ashford Castle on Friday 24th from the inventor of Bailey, David Gluckman (which has sold over 1.25 billion bottles), Tom Murphy the founder of (community of over 300,000 Irish people), Niamh Bushell CEO TechIreland (and ex start up commissioner), Alessandro Prest, CTO, LogoGrab (augmented visual search) and Gerry Duffy, global speaker who ran 32 marathons in 32 days.  Following the evening of talks the attendees will be treated to an Art Pub Crawl where they will learn to draw in a fun workshop.

The following day 80 speakers will converge on Cong Village where each of them will present their ideas on Innovation in small huddles spread through the village in cafes, galleries, bars and restaurants.

While the adults will be reenergizing their minds in Cong Village, their children will be experiencing science and rocket making workshops in the Crossroads Community Centre.

The day of ‘unconferencing’ on Saturday will finish off with a Blues Harmonic workshop where over the course of 2 hours, attendees will learn to play basic Chicago Blues harmonica and collaborate to write the lyrics of “Leaving Congregation Blues”.

How To Congregate?

In order to secure a ticket each attendee produces a 600 word article on their topic which is published on

Commenting organiser Eoin Kennedy said “This year’s Congregation has attracted people from a very diverse range of backgrounds from academics, psychologists, business owners, teachers and nurses to farmers with an equally varied spectrum of perspectives on innovation.  Although many speakers fly in for the event it is designed to be accessible and inclusive day of sharing, discussing, connecting and reenergizing.  Attendees propose a topic, research it and produce a paper and in essence pay with their insights.  Rather than the normal conference format of one speaker presenting to many people, we break the sessions into group of 12 people in multiple venues that randomly rotate and change 4 times during the day.  This format replicates real world roundtable coffee chats where some of the best conversations and ideas are born.”

There is no charge to attend Congregation and submissions will be considered until the end of 20th November.  In particular the organisers are looking for contributions in Innovation in Art, Music and Living with special consideration given to younger participants.

More Info:

Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to send in a one liner/synopsis on their suggested topic area to or submit a full article via the website

The free eBooks from 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 are available as a download on

The event is proudly sponsored by (, Bank of Ireland, MKC Communications ( and


export summit

Export Summit 2017 – Taking you from Local to Global

Ireland’s leading new one day event for businesses seeking to expand internationally, export products or set up overseas operations, will take place on Thursday, November 9, 2017.

This event will give you valuable insight into current trends and best practices. As a delegate you will gain valuable, practical insights which will assist in driving your business to a global market. There will be an emphasis on innovation, competitiveness and talent development plus vital financial and logistic advice.

Is it your ambition to grow sales and develop new markets?

Save the Date in your diary now and join us on Thursday November 9 for what promises to be an unmissable event on your annual business calendar. Inspirational Keynote Speakers will include Damien Costello, Head of Innovation, Synecco; James Murphy, CEO and Founder of Lifes2good and Colm Feeney, CEO and Founder of SSL Logistics. Also in attendance and sharing their expertise will be overseas and International trading experts from Enterprise Ireland.

Breda Fox, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Galway outlines the importance of this event for any West of Ireland business considering immediate or eventual growth into overseas markets. “This event is a wonderful opportunity for small and established businesses to meet experts and businesses who are successful in overseas markets. It will help those attending on the day to gather the knowledge and information about the supports available to help themexpand into ever-expanding and increasingly competitive overseas markets. We offer many different types of client supports including mentoring, training, networking, special seminars and events, such as this Export Summit. Growing business overseas brings a unique set of challenges for our clients. We want to give them the best possible chance of success by introducing our clients to business leaders who have invaluable expertise in this area.”

Enterprise Ireland Regional Director – West Region Barry Egan said: “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy aims to support more Irish companies with global ambition to achieve greater scale and expand their global footprint. Our strategy aims to increase client company exports to 26 billion per annum by the end of 2020 with an ambitious target to growthe level of exports to over two thirds outside the UK over the period. The‘Export Summit’ will provide companies from across the West of Ireland with a valuable opportunity to examine the potential of a range of new markets and new strategies for growing their business. This is an important event in the Region’s business calendar for 2017.’’

Identify the ideal market for you.

Current leading sectors in the export market include Medtech, AgriTech, Pharma, Engineering, Manufacturing and International Services. These sectors are chiefly targeting developing markets in UK, Germany and France for expansion. Enterprise Ireland and experts will deliver an overview of specific markets including, size, profile, culture, localisation and accessing local European markets.

Benefits of Export Summit 2017

150 delegate businesses fromthe Medtech, AgriTech, Pharma and Engineering sectors will develop insight into current trends and best practices fromexperts and keynote speakers; benefit from workshops aimed at driving their business fromlocal to global, covering innovation, competitiveness, localisation and logistic solutions; gain access to support fromagencies including: Lean, HR and Financial experts who are focussed on increasing export sales growth and network with Irish companies in each key targeted sector.
Attendees will have an opportunity to gain access to a showcase of the many agency supports available to Irish companies.

Keynote topics

Export business challenges and solutions will be addressed in keynote topics including‘Global Sales through Innovation, Design & Supply’ (Synecco), ‘Growth through process & people, challenges of scaling & growing an export business’ (Lifes2good) and‘Global Market access through Smart Supply Chain Practises’ (SSL Logistics).

Explore developing markets in the UK, Germany and France

Speakers include Marina Donohoe, UK & Northern Europe  Director,  Enterprise Ireland; Eddie Goodwin, Enterprise Ireland, Manager, Germany, Switzerland and Austria and Susanne Dirks, Founder & CEOe-Vorsprung Consulting, who will address the issues associated with localising communications for export markets.

This one day event takes place at the Clayton Hotel on Thursday, November 9. Places are limited so register now.

For additional details, registration and booking, visit or contact Local Enterprise Office Galway on (091) 509090


mayo ideas week

Mayo Ideas Week focuses on ‘the challenge of change’ for businesses

MAYO Ideas Week – which will take place from September 25 to 29 – takes the theme of The Challenge of Change for 2017.

Mayo Ideas Week is a week-long series of idea generation, entrepreneurship and business events hosted by the development and enterprise support agencies and organisations in County Mayo.

Running every September since 2010, Mayo Ideas Week is very much a collaborative initiative, with more than 30 organisations and agencies co-hosting events over the years.

The well-established business week offers quality events for a broad range of business sizes and sectors. All events are specifically targeted and feature expert speakers, facilitators and presenters.

Mayo Local Enterprise Office (LEO) have been involved with Mayo Ideas Week since its inception.

The ‘Spirit’ event in GMIT has been part of Mayo Ideas Week since the beginning, and this year it shares the theme of the week – the Spirit of Change. Hosted by Mayo LEO in association with AIB, and supported by GMIT, WestBIC, Enterprise Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Mayo Ideas Lab, it presents a range of agencies and organisations supporting innovation. To register, see the website

Events across the county include seminars and workshops in Castlebar, Ballina, Belmullet, Westport and Claremorris.

The full schedule of events and information on booking is available at The social media hashtag is #MayoIdeasWeek. Numbers are limited for most events and advance booking is essential.

Most events are free of charge.

Sprit of Change Mayo Ideas Week

Don’t miss the Spirit of Change Seminar opening at Mayo Ideas Week

The Spirit of Change seminar, the opening event for Mayo Ideas Week 2017 will be held on Monday 25th September 2017 (5.30pm – 8.00pm), St. Mary’s Hall, GMIT Mayo Campus, Castlebar.

Now in its eleventh year, the “Spirit of” event has become a regular on the annual calendar of business events in Co. Mayo. The Spirit of Change seminar will explore the challenges and opportunities arising across the changing international, political, social and business environments. We will feature a series of speakers outlining their vision for the future and their strategies for managing change including: Yvonne Holmes, Head of Business Performance & Analytics at AIB, Willie Ruane, Chief Executive Office of Connaught Rugby, Dr. Mark White, Manager of Marine Development Team at Marine Ireland and Fiona Slevin, Chief Operating Officer at Orreco. The event is designed to provide inspiration for a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs across the West Region, to spark discussion on the opportunities arising from a period of change, and the potential for diversification into new products and markets.

The chairperson for the evening will be Tommy Marren, Station Manager with Mid-West Radio, and the event is being hosted by Mayo Local Enterprise Office in association with AIB, and supported by WestBIC, Enterprise Ireland, the iHub at GMIT Mayo Campus and Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Places for the event are limited and are filling up fast as the event is fully attended each year. Register now for free at the website or

This event is being held as part of Mayo Ideas Week 2017, which runs from 25th to 29th September. Mayo Ideas Week is a series of idea generation, entrepreneurship and business events hosted by the development and enterprise organisations in Co. Mayo.

Full details on all events available at

Follow us on social media at #MayoIdeasWeek

Networking Masterclass with Kingsley Aikins in Sligo

“Your brand is so much more than what you sell or what you do, it’s who you are” – Richard Branson

We live in a rapidly changing world where technology and globalisation are transforming whole industries and creativity and innovation have replaced raw materials, labour and capital as the key source of economic value.

Success in the past is no guarantee of success in the future and the strategies that got us to where we are today will not get us to where we want to go tomorrow.

This Masterclass is designed to encourage behaviour change through the gradual adoption of a series of networking skills, which will give each participant a distinct competitive advantage in today’s changing business world.

  • Event: Networking Masterclass with Kingsley Aikins
  • Date: 12/09/2017
  • Time: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Venue: Radisson Blu Hotel Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
  • Price: €100 – Members
    • €130 – Non Members

This Masterclass for the Sligo Chamber Skillnet will cover the following areas:

  • Why networking is critical in a changed business world
  • Characteristics of great networkers
  • Harsh realities of business
  • Social Capital
  • The 4 step networking process
  • The myth of individualism
  • Funnels of serendipity
  • The power of attention
  • Hi tech and hi touch
  • Personal branding
  • Attitudes and behaviour

Each participant in the Sligo Chamber Skillnet Masterclass will receive a Networking Resource Booklet

About Kingsley Aikins

Kingsley Aikins is founder and CEO of Diaspora Matters, a Dublin based consultancy company that advises countries, cities, regions, companies and organisations on how to develop strategies to connect with their Diasporas. He is a recognised expert on Networking and has written and spoken extensively on the topic and has run workshops and online/offline Networking Training Programmes for Google, Linkedin, Accenture, Intel, PwC, KPMG and a number of the leading law firms in Dublin. He is an Economics and Politics graduate of Trinity College Dublin . In his career he worked for 10 years for the Irish Trade Board and IDA Ireland and was based in Sydney. He then led the Ireland Funds for 21 years, mostly based in Boston. In his time with the Funds over a quarter of a billion dollars was raised for projects in Ireland. He was awarded a CBE for his work on British-Irish issues. He represented Trinity College, Irish Universities, Vichy (France) and Leinster at rugby. He is married with 3 children and lives in Dublin.


SeaFest Industry and Research Events

SeaFest includes a range of industry events which focus on research, the marine industry and marine technology.

BIM National Seafood Conference – Winning in a Changing Environment

 Date: Thursday 29th June
Location: The Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway

“Winning in a Changing Environment” is Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s 2017 national seafood conference. This one-day seafood industry meeting takes place on Thursday 29th of June in The Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway. A must-attend event for Ireland’s seafood professionals, this conference will offer:

  • a speaker line-up of leading seafood industry experts and commentators;
  • a dynamic conference programme with a strong focus on sustainability;
  • the latest thinking and policies shaping Ireland’s opportunity in the global seafood industry;
  • a range of practical workshops where knowledge will be converted into real action for industry.

Registration for this event is now open.

Digital Ocean: Ireland’s Marine Engineering and Technology Conference

Date: Thursday 29th June
Location: NUI Galway

The Digital Ocean – Ireland’s Marine Engineering & Technology Conference will take place in Galway this year as part of SeaFest 2017, on Thursday 29th of June at the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway. The event is being organised by IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Irish Maritime Development Office, Marine Institute, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.

The event will comprise of a morning session focused on Ireland’s internationally recognised capability in ICT and engineering, and how these skills are being used by international companies in the development of digital marine technologies. The afternoon session will focus on Ireland’s indigenous industry, and how Irish based companies are making waves in the marine digital, technology, devices and engineering space.

Both sessions will feature expert speakers, panel discussions and provide attendees with networking opportunities throughout the day. A provisional programme is available here.

To register please click here.

Marine Industry Awards

Date: Thursday 29th June
Location: Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway

Now in its third year, the Marine Industry Awards are the premier event in Ireland to showcase on a national scale the excellence and innovation within Ireland’s marine sector.

Taking place as a significant event during the SeaFest, the awards ceremony on Thursday, June 29th at the Radisson Blu Galway, offers a unique opportunity to celebrate industry excellence and network with its most distinguished figures and leading organisations.

There are a number of categories in areas from marine renewable energy, seafood, shipping, to marine technology, research, safety and more. The event promises to be an excellent networking opportunity with an expected attendance of over 400 at the black-tie gala dinner.

Fore more information visit or email

Marine Trade Show

Date: Thursday 29th and Friday 30th June
Location: NUI Galway

The Marine Trade Show will take place in a purpose-built marquee on the grounds of NUI Galway on Thursday 29th and Friday 30th June, to coincide with both the Digital Ocean Event and Our Ocean Wealth Summit.

The Marine Trade Show will provide a unique opportunity for companies from across the marine economy to showcase their products and services to an audience of 600+ attendees across two days at the Digital Ocean Event and Our Ocean Wealth Summit. If you are interested in exhibiting and for further information, please contact

ndrc at portershed

NDRC at PorterShed – New Digital Startup Accelerator Programme in the West of Ireland

NDRC at PorterShed

Entrepreneurs with a digital technology focus to their business can now apply to participate in a leading accelerator programme in the West of Ireland –  NDRC at PorterShed.

This new initiative between Enterprise Ireland, NDRC and GCID (Galway City Innovation District) aims to drive the growth of digital startups nationally.

NDRC’s accelerator model is ranked no.1 in Europe and no.2 in the world by the UBI Global Index.

The Programme

Based in the PorterShed in Eyre Square, the NDRC team will work intensively with each company, over a short time frame, helping them to understand what value their company can offer customers, their strategy for growth and getting them ready to meet the demands of both investors and the marketplace.

NDRC portfolio companies include Boxever, Logentries and Nuritas who have all went on to obtain millions of Euro in follow on investment.

NDRC at PorterShed will provide startup teams with:

  • Investment of €30k per venture and space for your team at PorterShed in Galway City
  • Expert mentorship in areas such as Company Financials, Investor Readiness, Marketing, Creative Strategy, Pitch Coaching, PR and Business Model Innovation.
  • 12 weeks working alongside a broad spectrum of start-ups, innovators and investors.
  • Weekly workshops and networking with acknowledged thought leaders.
  • The opportunity to pitch to investors at the end of year Investor Event.
  • Access to NDRC office space in Dublin

What are we looking for?

We invest in exceptional startup teams who are at the early stages of developing a business proposition of global scale.

We define “early stage” to mean a project which is addressing a clearly identified problem, and has either outlined steps to developing a viable solution to this problem, or already has a minimum viable product (MVP) in the market.

If you are at idea or concept stage with your project, and have not yet validated these key aspects of your venture, there are other supports available locally such as Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers or Enterprise START programmes, which may be a better fit.

A digital technology focus does not necessarily mean a founder has to have a background in technology, it means they have a digitally based solution to a problem. As a result we are looking for founders from a variety of backgrounds – industry, corporate, research etc.

How to Apply

If you would like to discuss your startup company or idea with a member of NDRC’s Venture Investment Team, you can request a call back here.

Register for the Open Night in PorterShed on 24th May.

Apply to the programme here by the deadline of 29 May.