We believe in people that are dynamic, entrepreneurial, talented, self-motivated and dedicated. People who have bright ideas and are motivated to follow their dream.
People like Simon Dempsey, founder and CEO of LikeWhere, a Dublin-based company focused on helping independent hotel brands drive more direct sales from their own websites, by engaging with guests across the full cycle of the user’s digital journey.
Innovative ideas for solving problems
LikeWhere was an innovative business idea, brought to life by a digital entrepreneur solving a concrete problem: the problem hotel brands have generating curated, meaningful content.
Simon and his team help create ‘destinations’ of hotel websites. Through LikeWhere integration, users no longer leave a hotel's website to find relevant content elsewhere, where holding onto a direct sales lead becomes almost impossible.
Matching young talent to needs on the labour market
Simon chose to base his business in Dublin.
“Ireland has the highest number of graduates in the fields of engineering and science in the world, which ensures there is a huge talent pool from which to draw,” he says.
“There are also numerous networking and graduate events which are incredibly helpful in building a team."
The role of EU governments in fostering entrepreneurship
Ultimately Dempsey was swayed by the strong eco-system that Dublin boasts for startups.
In addition to policies that help to generate a young, dynamic and well-educated labour force with the skills needed on the market, Ireland boasts a multitude of organisations dedicated to supporting business.
Enterprise Ireland plays a prominent role in this. As the government arm for supporting new business, they have established a wide range of programmes designed to support entrepreneurs and companies from their early stages through to growth.
Enterprise Ireland have offices and a dedicated staff situated in the EU and throughout the world. “This makes entering new markets that bit ‘softer’,” says Simon Dempsey, “and that kind of assistance is invaluable.”
Where the EU adds value
The EU plays a strong role in supporting the work of its Member-State governments when it comes to creating the right environment for new businesses to flourish.
EU programmes under the Erasmus+ umbrella allow Europe’s youth to gain invaluable experience in other EU Member States, learning not just new languages, but also garnering insight into different cultures – political, professional, social. These qualities are valued by employers looking to hire young talent.
The EU also ensures the best possible business environment - across Europe - for the over 20 million SMEs that represent 99% of businesses and drive Europe’s growth, innovation and employment.
In fact, all new EU legislation must now pass an ‘SME test’, with the EU committed to limiting the negative impact on SMEs as much as possible.
Part of this involves removing barriers to cross-border trade by SMEs within the EU – something that is, as Simon says, invaluable. This includes reducing red tape, helping SMEs find partners abroad and financing innovative cross-border projects.
EU rules also prevent late payments to SMEs by setting limits to the number of days customers have to pay invoices. This tackles what is a make-or-break issue for many SMEs.
Simon’s tips for budding entrepreneurs
“The challenges facing entrepreneurs today are numerous and can seem insurmountable. But don’t let this deter you! If you’ve got a great idea, spend as much time as possible validating it with your users/customers before taking the leap.
If your venture still looks viable, identify a location that offers excellent support and real grass-roots community for startups, both in terms of other startups in the area and an active investment scene.
This level of support is key and can often be the decisive factor in taking your idea from dream into reality.”