This month’s guest blog is an Insider’s Guide to the burgeoning Galway Start-Up Ecosystem by Donncha Hughes and John Breslin.
Introduction to Galway
To set the scene for Galway’s vibrant startup ecosystem, one needs to appreciate Galway’s geographic, cultural and business landscape. Galway is located in the West of Ireland, approximately a two-hour drive (200 km) from the capital, Dublin. The population in the greater Galway hinterland exceeds 250,000 people, making it the island of Ireland’s fourth largest centre of population after Dublin, Belfast and Cork. For many Irish and international visitors, Galway is synonymous with the Galway Horse Races. For over 100 years, the Galway Races has gone from strength to strength with now in excess of 150,000 people attending the week-long festival every July. Recognised as the greatest midsummer festival in Ireland, the ‘Races’ is known for attracting people from all walks of life with a broad appeal beyond traditional race goers. Complemented by other cultural experiences such as the Galway International Arts Festival, it is indicative of the standards of excellence that Galway strives for – recognised recently with the city’s designation as the European Capital of Culture 2020.
Galway was named as the top microcity in Europe in 2014/2015 by the Financial Times fDi magazine (for cities less than 100,000 people), and the top microcity in Europe in 2016/2017 for both business friendliness and economic potential. We are also the world’s friendliest city according to Travel & Leisure Magazine.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has played a significant role in the development of Galway’s business landscape, as facilitated by IDA Ireland. Since the 1960s, companies in sectors such as medtech and life sciences, ICT, food and engineering to include: Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Fidelity Investments, SAP, Cisco, Avaya, Aviva, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Valeo Vision Systems and many more have operated successfully in Galway. The importance of this multinational base has also laid the foundations for the development of a vibrant indigenous sub-supply and logistics sector.
Galway is Ireland’s medtech capital, with a third of Ireland’s medtech workforce in one of Europe’s if not the world’s top medtech hubs, with a density of companies and medtech research institutes only rivalled by Minnesota. Just take a look at the Galway Tech Map and Galway Medtech Map and you’ll get a good overview of the companies based here.
Over the last decade, Ireland has attracted a new wave of global brands such as Facebook, Apple and Google to base key European operations here. Galway has also benefited from this trend. 100 jobs were recently announced by Australian hotel cloud giant SiteMinder, and 200 more by MetLife. Like Dublin and Cork, this has boosted the startup ecosystem as personnel emerge with key skills gained at these multinationals.
Galway MedTech map via Technology Voice
Read the rest of this article on StartupBlink.com.