When you’re engrossed in a startup community, it’s easy to get myopic about the world in which you live.
It’s easy to get caught up in the exciting things happening around you and the growing number of people doing interesting work. At times, the world becomes very focused on what’s happening in your own backyard. The exception to the rule is Silicon Valley, the epicenter of the high-tech and startup world that is always in the spotlight.
It is eye-opening to visit other cities and discover thriving startup scenes around the world. It can be a wakeup call: there are entrepreneurs working away everywhere.
A good case in point is Ireland, which is teeming with entrepreneurs and startups looking to establish themselves as the next big things. The community – collectively trying to help resuscitate the struggling domestic economy – is receiving huge amounts of support from the Irish government.
Through various departments and agencies, including the 700-person Enterprise Ireland unit, the startup scene is being bolstered in a variety of ways, including cash pouring into venture capital firms.
A good example of Dublin’s vibrant startup community is an event called Open Mike Idea Jam, in which entrepreneurs or wanna-be entrepreneurs get three minutes to pitch their ideas. Many of them are idealistic, half-baked or flawed, but it illustrates the grassroots enthusiasm for startups and entrepreneurs.
What you discover after a few days in Dublin is how the rise of entrepreneurialism is part of a global wave, stretching from North America and Europe to South America, Asia and Africa. One of the most interesting angles is the way it provides young people with a sense of hope and a belief that the possibilities are endless. At a time of economic volatility, uncertainty and troublesome unemployment numbers, startups are a way to channel youthful enthusiasm and energy.
A lot of people will never create or work for a startup but they can still get excited by the fact that it’s possible. The other fact is the vast majority of startups will fail, regardless of how unique or well executed they are, or the quality of the people involved. Startups are high-risk propositions that, like lottery tickets, seduce you with the slight possibility of success.
And yet, we’re living in the midst of a startup tsunami. It might be creating too much hype, exuberance and irrational behaviour, but it doesn’t appear the startup bubble will burst any time soon.