Itera’s Lana Liubetskaya: “Use tech for good things”

This article was originally published on and has been republished here with permission.

Svetlana Liubetskaya is a tech professional with over 15 years of experience in computer science and artificial intelligence, and she has recently arrived in Ireland from Ukraine, looking to make a new start.

Our conversation starts with Lana telling me that her decision to move country was forced after her house in Ukraine was destroyed because of the war being waged by Russian forces.

Having spent a number of years in project management and software management, Lana currently works for Itera Research, a full-stack web and mobile development firm in Ukraine that is focused on helping businesses grow. In spite of the ongoing war, the company remains in operation, and amazingly they are focused on keeping their clients satisfied.

Life in Ukraine is continuing for many – somehow. Like her father and her mother. Lana tells me that she regularly phones them to find out how they are. She speaks about her father who is in his 70s; their phone conversations focus on how he is taking care of his garden. Now and again, the sound of rockets will interrupt their conversation, but her father tells her not to worry.

“For sure, I am worried about it a lot, and I cried a lot for sure, but it is what it is, and now let’s continue doing something good in this world.”

Now, Lana lives in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, with her son, and she is keen to make the most of a new beginning. Lana is enjoying life in the west of Ireland. Her son has already made so many friends, and she has had the opportunity to go surfing in the sea during her down time.

Lana with her son

In her professional world, tech has been something Lana has always been profoundly interested in, and having run a successful light business for a time, she returned to that first love.

“I came back to IT because it was my passion, actually since childhood, because I started coding when I was around 12 – just for fun with my cousins. We played games with random numbers and I created code for these games to show people pictures, just for fun. I didn’t play games a lot, but I liked it for creating something, and that’s why I came back to this industry,” Lana explains.

She also says that she has been particularly focused on the digital transformation of companies throughout her career – helping organisations to embrace technology.

“I personally participated in the digital transformation of a factory – their processes. I also did this in the governmental sector which is a big challenge because they are very slow, they don’t want to change everything. They like to sign papers – keeping pen and paper – and they would do this for the next 20 years if they could, but we found a way, though it was not easy!”

Indeed, Lana is focused on how the tech industry can solve problems, not only through start-ups but through communities keen to harness the power of tech for broader, inclusive missions.

In Ukraine, Lana explains that this pursuit is becoming increasingly popular, through the likes of Unit City [] which gathers start-ups together to drive innovation, create a comprehensive mission, and build an environment that helps the community, the city, and the surrounding areas to solve broader problems that affect lots of people.

Lana points to the notion that it is too easy for people to concentrate on just the tech, without realising that the tech is simply a means to and end.

“The technology is just a tool. If you know how to use it, that’s great, and you can spend less money, using the money [you saved] to do something else, to support the business, and grow the business. The most important thing is to solve the problem, the main problem of the business.”

And Lana is keen to tackle one big challenge throughout her career in tech – how to make sure that we harness its power for good and not for bad.

“It can be a medicine, or a treatment, or a system, and it can be a weapon…our human challenge is to find a way to use it for good things,” she says.

Exclusive Interview: Real Engineering’s Brian McManus

This article was originally published on and has been republished here with permission.

Brian McManus sat down with the PorterShed to discuss his journey from an engineer to a successful YouTuber with over 3.5 million subscribers on Real Engineering – and why he feels the content creation field is one that is only just taking off.

Brian’s Real Engineering channel launched in 2016 after Brian decided to leave his 9-5 engineering job. Since then, the channel has witnessed enormous success, been followed on by a sister channel, and Brian has also co-founded Nebula, the smart streaming service. Whereas once, Brian was being inspired by people making content that interested him, now he is the one leading the way, making in-depth, one-of-a-kind content that is consistently viewed millions of times around the world. 

When Brian started, there were very few outlets producing the type of content that Brian wanted to make and share with a large audience, which meant that he had to write his own playbook as he went. Today, there are hundreds of channels in the same category, but Brian is at the forefront of it all, producing, scripting, and editing detailed videos on space, energy, engineering, materials, and so much more.

Weaving intriguing narratives into each production, he’s been able to hook readers with captivating content. 

Staying on top of his game

“There’s an army of 15-year-olds that want our job, so you have to be continually improving your craft and making yours the best possible,” he says when asked how he plans to remain one step ahead of the competition.

“Because anyone can upload on YouTube and there’s a lot of talented people who now see the value in it, that it is a potential career option. You have to stay on top of your game.”

Indeed, Brian has been striving hard to help ensure that what he’s doing is cutting edge. Having invested a lot of time and energy into his craft and production values, he is certainly blazing a trail – especially when it comes to his video animation.

“Our animations are quite high-quality now. There were one or two news stations that took our footage from the Perseverance Rover and I assume they just thought it was NASA animation because they looked fairly similar to the quality that NASA were making,” Brian explains.

One animation even included an easter egg of Grogu (more widely – if incorrectly – known as Baby Yoda) getting abducted in the background. The perks of being a content creator mean that Brian gets to have fun with even this side of his job, underlining just how passionate he is about making material that is playful, engages his audience, and stands out from the crowd.

Irish economy

Indeed, while most of Brian’s audience is based in the United States, he does cultivate his content to be as appealing, as educational, as informative, and as inclusive of diverse regions as possible. This drive to create the best content is certainly a key factor behind his continued success – and a couple of recent studies, one from Google and another from Oxford, boldly underlines just how the likes of Brian and his fellow Irish YouTubers are having a directly positive impact on the economy. The former of these studies indicated that YouTube contributes to 1,600 Irish jobs, contributing €30m to GDP, but is there more to those figures?

“For what it’s worth, I don’t think those numbers are right – I think it’s much higher,” Brian explains.

“People like Jacksepticeye, alone, is making more than €30m a year, but he lives in Britain so I’m not sure exactly how they’re measuring all of that.”

It’s a testament to the growth of the Irish content creation scene, where entrepreneurially minded professionals are making viral content that appears in many guises. And does Brian believe that Irish Youtube content creators can reach even loftier heights?

“I think if more Irish people were willing to put themselves out there, we could be, because we’ve historically punched above their weight in cultural stuff – I don’t even know if [the Google study] is counting musicians like Hozier in their calculations, I’m not sure. I think Irish people have a stigma against looking for attention online, but there are ways to do it in non-cringey ways.”

Next chapter?

Brian’s Real Engineering channel was the first one he launched, and it gained traction pretty quickly, ensuring that Brian didn’t need to return to the 9-5 circuit. The next channel launched – Real Science – has become enormously popular, too, with over 747,000 subscribers already. Many of their videos, including their ‘The Insane Biology of’ series, garner over a million views apiece, and since Jun 2019, the channel has attracted almost 44 million views in total. Stephanie Sammann is the host, narrator, editor, and producer of this channel, and she has certainly made light work of attracting a dedicated audience.

And that’s not all. Plans are afoot to add another channel to the ‘Real’ family, as Brian explains.

“We are looking to start another channel in the next year or two, and it’s just a case of finding producers capable of handling it because scaling is difficult because there’s no college course for making YouTube videos. You kind of look towards the film industry; there are very few people who can do everything, like film, animate, write, and all that – and we need all of that. Every single one of our shows is handled by someone who can do everything, so that’s difficult – the writing, in particular, is difficult. 

“We’re just figuring out what the next thing is going to be.”

Improvements and developments are an everyday part of the Real Engineering and Real Science stories, and the same can be said of the smart streaming service, Nebula, that Brian helped co-found together with dozens of fellow creators and Dave Wiskus. Already, the platform has 435,000 paying subscribers.

And while lots of positive change and growth is a positive for Brian and his audience, one thing that remains a constant is the draw of Galway. Although based in Texas – which is quickly becoming the new playground for tech experts to experiment and have fun – for Brian, there is always time for the City of Tribes, especially at the PorterShed.

“For me, the community here has always been really nice, even though I’m pretty quiet and keep to myself for the most part. I have a co-working space in Austin, Texas, and the co-working space there is completely different; very segregated, no-one really talks to each other, whereas [the PorterShed] offers a nice way to come in and separate my work and life,” he says.

Undoubtedly, Brian is the definition of an entrepreneur. Having struck out on his own, he has now built a legacy that continues to grow today, and he has made new strides with Nebula, too. A testament to what can be achieved when you reach for your goals, Brian has also been diligent in his efforts to succeed by creating high-quality content that filled a gap in the market – and the real results speak for themselves.

MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 Europe Festival to Take Place in Donegal

For the first time, Ireland has been chosen as a location for the Innovators Under 35 Europe Festival

Connla McCann, Director, IU35 Europe, Cllr Jack Murray – Cathaoirleach, Comhairle Condae Dhún na nGall, Anna Ní Ghallchóir, Chair, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Natasha O’Hea, Community Manager, Catalyst.

MIT’s Innovators Under 35 Europe Festival, one of the world’s most distinguished events honouring young technology pioneers, is coming to Ireland for the first time. On May 19-21, Europe’s brightest innovators will gather in Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal, to showcase their work and meet other visionaries who are shaping the future and transforming lives through their technological advances. European and global leaders in innovation will also speak at the festival focusing on the transformative power of tech in creating a better world for all.

Since its creation, MIT Technology Review has been publishing an annual list of the most brilliant Innovators Under 35. Notable alumni include Google Founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, CRISPR Technology Pioneer Feng Zhang and Tesla Motors Co-Founder JB Straubel. The Innovators Under 35 Europe Festival is sponsored by Údarás na Gaeltachta, North West City Region Councils of Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council, NUI Galway, Catalyst, Open University, Unosquare and Atlantic Technological University.

The Innovators Under 35 Europe award unites Europe’s community of young technological leaders and provides them with a platform to showcase their achievements in biotechnology and medicine, computer and electronics, hardware, software, Internet, artificial intelligence, robotics, telecommunications, nanotechnology and materials, energy and transportation.

Located at the edge of Europe and nestled beneath the Errigal Mountain, Gaoth Dobhair is a fitting location for rebooting the Festival after a two-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The 2022 Festival will celebrate a new generation of changemakers who are striving to solve society’s most pressing challenges as we begin to emerge from the COVID pandemic. These pioneers are thinking differently about the future. They’re reimagining technology and re-evaluating traditional workplace models, recognizing that distributed technology means that cutting edge innovation is no longer limited to urban centres.

Speaking on the announcement, Mat Honan, Editor of MIT Technology Review said “Innovators Under 35 honorees continue a tradition of mentorship, collaboration, discovery, and purpose that began in 1999. We call all of these honorees “innovators” because no matter their field, each is doing something original and impactful. We unpack not only what they are doing, but help people understand its relevance not to the world at large. I’m really looking forward to hearing from this year’s European honorees.”

As Ireland and other European countries seek to build upon the benefits provided by remote working and support the opportunity to further develop a distributed workforce, the Innovators Under 35 Europe Festival aims to showcase the potential to lead, command, innovate and build a more connected world and society from the edge of Europe. In addition to showcasing the innovations, the event will highlight the Gaeltacht as a place increasingly being discovered by entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors, including the more than 175 anticipated attendees who will be invited to explore and experience the local area.

“Exposure to high quality and innovative projects being led by Under 35s from our European neighbours and indeed other parts of Ireland will help to animate and inspire innovators in our Gaeltacht regions.” said Údarás na Gaeltachta CEO Micheál Ó hEanaigh. “We look forward to collaborating with MIT Technology Review and all of the other partners to welcome the extremely talented young innovators, the excellent panel of judges and other contributors to the event being held in Donegal in May.”

The call for applications is now open. Applicants must be from Europe and under 35 at the time of the event and have an innovative project that will transform the world. A committee of judges made up of experts from leading universities and companies will select the 35 winning candidates. The competition also recognizes five different categories of innovators: inventors, entrepreneurs, visionaries, humanitarians and pioneers who will partake in networking events, local activities including hiking and surfing, culminating in an awards gala.

“By choosing this location, we wanted to demonstrate that in our connected world, no location is off-limits when it comes to innovation. The Atlantic edge– and places like it– will be the Centre of the new world,” said Connla McCann, Director of Aisling Events, which is hosting the festival. “This is a rare opportunity to show off the phenomenal success of the Gteic hub network which is home to hundreds of entrepreneurs and innovators across the Gaeltacht. We will gather the young visionaries, humanitarians, entrepreneurs and innovators whose work today can make a real difference to the world we live in. Fighting climate change with revolutionary green-tech, harnessing the power of AI to improve the lives of millions, finding new ways to tackle Covid in low-income countries and building smart cities are all fields which will be featured in the 2022 Innovators Under 35 listing.”

QTales Launches Platform for Authoring and Curating Interactive Ebooks for Kids


QTales, a project to develop a collaborative ecosystem for European SMEs to create and exchange multi-plot interactive ebooks/multimedia apps for children, has recently released a new version of its QTales social platform for ebook co-authoring at

The QTales project began in early 2015, and was established to build a set of multi-platform editing/authoring tools along with players for interactive ebooks developed using the QTales framework. QTales has been designed with young creators in mind, allowing them to foray into a creative domain typically dominated by adults.

“The QTales platform is a great opportunity for young authors, illustrators, etc., to promote themselves and their work,” according to QTales Project Manager Delia Petacchi from Forma Camera, an Italian partner in the project.

After signing up for QTales at, users begin by creating a new ebook and then editing it in the QTales authoring application (also downloadable for Windows and Mac), adding various multimedia elements including images, audio, mini games and more for a more captive interactive experience. Users can then choose to submit their ebooks for further curation, inviting those with complementary skills to enhance their ebook further.

“QTales is not [just] another social platform, it is a social platform for professionals who wish to join a new era for the traditional second generation book industry,” said Constantine Abazis, Chief Project Manager with Publisto in Greece.

The eventual aim is to establish QTales as a known brand for next generation ebook production within the European publishing industry. The ebooks can be interacted with using a set of easy-to-use QTales players for popular mobile devices and operating systems.

Dr Tony Hall, Lecturer in Educational Technology at NUI Galway, highlighted the importance of QTales for both literacy and creativity: “QTales will support children’s literacy and reading development, by encouraging them and supporting them in the development of ebooks, authoring them and sharing them through the QTales portal.”

The authoring portal is at QTales is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme (ICT-18-2014 645588), and will produce its final version of the QTales platform this summer. You can find out more about QTales in this recent video on YouTube or by visiting the project site.

The Yield Lab Announces the Launch of the Yield Lab Galway

Agri Tech Conference at The Portershed, Galway, IRL. Photograph by David Ruffles

Thad Simons (Managing Director, The Yield Lab) makes the announcement at the Agriculture Technology and Innovation Seminar in the PorterShed (photo by David Ruffles).

The Yield Lab, the United States’ first food and agriculture technology (AgTech) business accelerator, announced the launch of the Yield Lab Galway, in the PorterShed on Friday, 15 July. The Yield Lab Galway is a food and AgTech venture fund and business accelerator, located in Galway, Ireland. The Yield Lab Galway is a significant boost to the investment opportunities available to emerging AgTech and agriculture innovation spinouts and startups from Galway.

The Yield Lab is an early-stage venture fund and business accelerator that invests $100,000 in early-stage food and AgTech startups, provides one-on-one mentorship, free workspace, and networking opportunities supported by agriculture-focused organisations and businesses from the St. Louis region.

Agriculture is a leading industry in the US Midwest, with extensive business connections to the St. Louis region and beyond. The diversity, central location, and solid business community support makes the St. Louis region a leading market for AgTech expansion. St. Louis is a sister city with Galway, which has an emerging and vibrant agriculture innovation system.

“We believe finding innovative solutions to sustainably feed the world’s rapidly growing population is the biggest problem facing humankind today,” said Yield Lab Managing Director Thad Simons. “The launch of the Yield Lab Galway is the appropriate next step and will provide greater access to financial and strategic opportunities for both our St. Louis- and Galway-based investments.”

The Yield Lab Galway has been established on the same building blocks and strategy of sourcing, transacting, and mentoring as the Yield Lab in St. Louis. The fund plans to invest in 8-12 companies over the next two years. Each Galway-based food and AgTech startup will receive up to €100,000 and participate in a twelve-month accelerator program.

Professor Charles Spillane, Head of the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at NUI Galway highlighted that: “The Yield Lab’s establishment of its first European base in Galway is extremely exciting for the translation of agriculture research activities into agriculture innovations and AgTech startup companies. The multi-disciplinary PABC looks forward to collaborating and working closely with the Yield Lab Galway as one of its key investment and startup partners. The sustainable intensification challenges facing the agriculture and food sector in Ireland, and internationally, present opportunities and necessities for the development of disruptive agriculture innovations that the Yield Lab can foster.”

Dr John Breslin, one of the founders of the PorterShed and a PABC Principal Investigator, highlighted significant synergies between the Yield Lab and the NUI Galway AgTechInnovate program which he leads.

He indicated that: “AgTechInnovate is a new Fellowship Programme from NUI Galway which aims to create interdisciplinary teams of technology entrepreneurs (“techpreneurs”) who are embedded in a particular domain for 6-8 weeks to identify real needs, following which they invent, implement and iterate solutions. In the case of AgTechInnovate, this would be in an agricultural environment, with our initial plans to immerse the 2016 AgTechInnovate team in 10 large dairy farms.

“Spinouts emerging from AgTechInnovate will have the opportunity to pitch to the local Yield Lab Galway for investment. The establishment of Yield Lab Galway will further strengthen the agriculture innovation ecosystem in the West of Ireland, which includes the NUI Galway PABC, Teagasc Athenry, Mountbellew Agricultural College, GMIT and agriculture innovators like JFC, Food 360 and McHale.”

“AgTech companies work in a global economy and our goal is to build a bridge to St. Louis for Irish AgTech companies looking for a US footprint,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “In St. Louis, we are focused on supporting entrepreneurs and innovators, and our economic development strategies in the 21st Century must be bold and innovative as well.” The St. Louis Regional Chamber has made a founding investment in the Yield Lab Galway from its Spirit of St. Louis Ventures fund, which has previously made founding investments in five early-stage business accelerators as part of a comprehensive strategy to support the formation of early-stage capital and to support entrepreneurs.

Galway was the obvious choice for the Yield Lab to establish a European footprint due to the strong relationship as a sister city with St. Louis. It also offers a number of regional resources such as the multi-disciplinary NUI Galway PABC, GMIT, Teagasc Athenry, Mountbellew Agricultural College and a central location to the vast agricultural production systems of the west of Ireland. Galway has built itself into an entrepreneurial stronghold, boasting a thriving technology park and growing support ecosystem for innovators.

Cultivation Capital has developed a significant interest in agricultural technologies,” said General Partner Rick Holton. “The Yield Lab has provided us with valuable insight into their portfolio companies that has consistently presented Cultivation with the opportunity to capitalize on promising investments. This was the value proposition that led us to invest in St. Louis, and this is why we are investing in Galway.”

“The new Yield Lab partnership enables a two-way street of economic activity between St. Louis and Galway. The growing Yield Lab portfolio in both regions will now have overseas networks to leverage. The Yield Lab Galway portfolio companies will attend a programming session in St. Louis to provide them with opportunities to access US markets and alternative sources of capital, and the Yield Lab St. Louis companies will be encouraged to leverage the resources unique to Galway. This marks a critical milestone for the St. Louis entrepreneurial and economic ecosystem. This bridge of economic activity with Galway should bring further opportunities for St. Louis.” said Sheila Sweeney, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

Galway City Innovation District Hires Innovation Community Manager for the PorterShed

Photo: Niamh Costello, General Manager GTC and Director GCID, Mary Rodgers, Innovation Community Manager at the PorterShed, and Maurice O’Gorman, Chairman GCID

The Galway City Innovation District, a non-profit company whose aim is to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation in downtown Galway, has announced the appointment of Mary Rodgers as Innovation Community Manager in the soon-to-be-opened PorterShed innovation hub, backed by AIB and located behind the Ceannt Train and Bus Station in Galway City.

Ms Rodgers brings years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive manager and advisor to this new role, supporting startups and entrepreneurs in the PorterShed. She is the Founder of Stateside Solutions, an entity that helps Irish companies to enter the US market. Prior to Stateside, Ms Rodgers was a Vice President at Credit Suisse in New York, with whom she worked for nine years and was promoted several times during that period. Before that again, she worked as a Paralegal for entertainment law firm Gold, Farrell & Marks in her first role in corporate America.

Ms Rodgers is a keen networker in both Ireland and the US. She is a business mentor for Líonra and LEO Galway, as well as a member of Going for Growth, the International Irish Business Network, New York Digital Irish, and global professional women’s network Ellevate. Ms Rodgers has previously been named three times by Tatler Magazine as one of their Top Women in Business, and twice by Irish Voice as one of their Most Influential Women in Business. She is a graduate of GMIT and NUI Galway.

“I am thrilled to join Galway Innovation District as Innovation Community Manager. I have followed closely the evolution of Galway as a major technology hub, and now with the framework of the Galway City Innovation District in place, I am confident we can attract dynamic businesses to Galway. My role will be to ensure that all members of our community are supported and to connect and accelerate their growth potential on both a national and international stage.”

“We are delighted to have someone of Mary’s calibre joining us in this key role at the PorterShed, leveraging her passion for entrepreneurship and advising/networking with entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses,” said Maurice O’Gorman, Chairman of the Galway City Innovation District. “In her role as Innovation Community Manager, Mary will act as the right-hand person to the board of the Galway City Innovation District, helping to create a culture focused on supporting members of the community and helping them to make the connections they need to grow their businesses.”

The PorterShed innovation hub, backed by AIB, is the ultimate mashup of entrepreneurs, startups, growth companies, educational institutions, the Galway Chamber, state agencies and local government. Its goal is to create an innovation ecosystem, one that creates a synergistic relationship between people, companies and place, that facilitates idea generation, open learning, collaboration and accelerates commercialisation.

The PorterShed allows entrepreneurs to use collaborative spaces, mingle with other entrepreneurs and have efficient access to everything from insights into the latest technology to legal and financial advice. Rather than endure long commutes and daily congestion, those working in the PorterShed can choose to work and live in places that are connected, walkable, bike-able and connected by technology.

The PorterShed is located in the heart of Galway City, just off Eyre Square, adjacent to the CIE train station and close to the Bus Éireann terminus.  The site is within easy walking distance of the main commercial and tourist areas of the City. It is well serviced by the road network, with access from Eyre Square and Lough Atalia. The PorterShed will not only house young and growing companies; it will accelerate their growth by combining collaboration, with access to a wide variety of support, national and international networks and events.

The ethos of the Galway City Innovation District is driven by the need to combine Galway’s economic assets (companies, education institutions and organisations), its physical assets (public and privately-owned spaces designed and organised to stimulate new and higher levels of connectivity, collaboration, and innovation), and its networking assets (the relationships between individuals, companies, organisations and institutions that have the potential to generate, sharpen, and/or accelerate the advancement of ideas).

35 Events are Lined Up for the Startup Gathering in Galway Next Week: Here’s the List!

Startup Weekend Galway

18:30 on 02/10/2015 in GMIT, Dublin Road, Galway

Developers, designers and business development folks will come together to pitch an idea and launch a business, all in one weekend!

Register at

Organised by Startup Weekend Galway

Startups: How To Launch?

14:00 on 05/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

Learn from Declan Droney, CEO of Kinvara Smoked Salmon on how to launch a startup. Advice on all aspects of setting up a business, helping the nascent, aspirational and seasoned entrepreneur to start, scale and succeed.

Organised by Bank of Ireland

Female Founders: East Side Story

07:45 on 06/10/2015 in Galway Technology Centre, Mervue Business Park, Wellpark Road, Galway

Leading female business leaders from Galway and surrounding areas share their business experiences, whilst also discussing the support they have received from various networks and structures (such as GTC) which have led to their business success.

Register with

Organised by Bank of Ireland

Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship

14:00 on 06/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

Digital marketing and entrepreneurship session with Ashlee Chin, Events Manager for OMIG (Online Marketing in Galway).

Organised by Bank of Ireland

Speed Networking with Ibec

08:00 on 07/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

This speed networking event provides a great opportunity to increase your network, forge new connections in your local area, and build awareness for your business.

Register at

Organised by Bank of Ireland and Ibec

Interactive Workshop on “From Concept to Commercialisation”

15:00 on 07/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

A practical workshop on the key milestones for your initial product/service idea all the way through to market launch.

Register at

Organised by IMS Marketing


19:00 on 07/10/2015 in Monroe’s Upstairs, 14 Dominick Street Upper, Galway

Featuring leading tech startups from Galway showcasing their products at the expo, “Ted Talk”-style speakers on thought-provoking topics, and an interactive technology awards night covering the West of Ireland.

Register at

Organised by JCI Galway

5 Steps To Creating a Marketing Asset and Networking

07:00 on 08/10/2015 in Unit 14, Ballybane Enterprise Centre, Galway

Providing entrepreneurs with a place and environment where they can take time out to think about their business, share ideas, learn from each other, build connections and grow. Also showing them how to use direct response marketing to get more customers.

Register at

Organised by GKIC Ireland

Building your Personal Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

13:00 on 08/10/2015 in StartX6, 16 Mary Street, Galway

Panel discussion and meetup with experienced information entrepreneurs and mentors to learn how to build your own support network to boost your personal entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Register at

Organised by StartX6

The Right Tool, The Right Job

13:00 on 08/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

This workshop, run in a crowd format, is about solving and expanding your set of tools to succeed with your business and profession. Examples covered are BuzzSumo,, OnePageCRM, Element Wave, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Keyword Tool, Evernote, App Annie, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

Register at

Organised by Chris Mortimer

Right from the Start: Startup Stories

18:30 on 08/10/2015 in Innovation Hub, GMIT, Dublin Road, Galway

Join us for an evening of colourful startup stories from successful entrepreneurs based in GMIT’s Innovation Hub in Galway: Kevin McCaffrey, Founder of Tr3dent; Brendan McLaughlin, CEO of Capsos Medical. A networking opportunity to meet other GMIT Innovation Hub companies, staff, members of Galway Chamber will take place afterwards.

Register at

Organised by Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

Mindful Way Conference

09:15 on 09/10/2015 in ILAS Building, North Campus, NUI Galway, Galway

This conference aims to bring mindfulness visionaries, higher education leaders and university students and staff together to share the evidence-based impact of mindfulness on performance, wellbeing, entrepreneurship and society. Keynote speakers include Alfert Tolle, Director of Google’s Nordics LCS in Dublin.

Register at

Organised by NUI Galway

Going International

09:30 on 09/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

“Going International” will feature 4-5 WestBIC startup companies who will share their experiences on establishing an international presence. There will also be a keynote from an established entrepreneur with success in international trading, sharing the highs and lows of breaking into international markets.

Register at

Organised by WestBIC

Public Procurement for SMEs

09:30 on 09/10/2015 in Harbour Hotel, New Dock Road, Galway

A public procurement workshop for SMEs, describing how a small business can compete and win in both national and international procurement processes.

Register at

Organised by Galway Local Enterprise Office

Social Bootcamp Galway (Morning)

09:30 on 09/10/2015 in Clayton Hotel Galway, Ballybrit, Galway

A half day of social media training for small businesses who need to quickly learn how to use social media to grow their business. Featuring well-known journalist Conor Pope and Spark Digital owner Felicity McCarthy.

Register at

Organised by Spark Digital and Conor Pope

Horse Sense for Business People Workshop

10:00 on 09/10/2015 in Rockmount Equestrian Centre, Rockmount, Claregalway

Horse Sense for Business People is a new, exciting and effective way to cut straight to the heart of any business issues and find real solution-focussed answers in the presence of a horse! Equine-facilitated learning is recognised globally as a powerful and experiential tool that very quickly breaks down barriers and changes behavioural patterns.

Register at

Organised by Horses Connect Enterprises Ltd.

Social Enterprise: A Success Story

10:00 on 09/10/2015 in SCCUL Enterprise Centre, Ballybane, Galway

Featuring three previous SCCUL awards winners who have developed award-winning social enterprises based in Galway. Share in their success stories, engage in questions and answers, and network post event.

Register at

Organised by SCCUL Enterprises

Startup Galway Pitches Meetup

13:00 on 09/10/2015 in Galway Technology Centre, Mervue Business Park, Galway

6-8 companies will pitch in front of an expert panel and compete for a range of prizes. Lunch and networking will follow.

Register at

Organised by Galway Technology Centre and Startup Galway Pitches Meetup

StartGalway Portumna

13:00 on 09/10/2015 in The Hub, St. Brendan’s Street, Portumna

Open clinic with startup mentors, panel discussions on topics relating to starting your own business, and a startup hackathon.

Register at

Organised by Evert Bopp

Student Entrepreneurship Structures on the Way for NUI Galway: MakerSpace, Blackstone LaunchPad, and More

13:00 on 09/10/2015 in Library, NUI Galway, University Road, Galway

This event previews and introduces student entrepreneurship structures on the way for NUI Galway. This event is only for staff and students of the University. You need a valid student or staff card to enter the venue. Introduction to student entrepreneurship in NUI Galway, the NUI Galway MakerSpace, Blackstone LaunchPad, demos and tour.

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Organised by NUI Galway

Design Your Future: From Young Researcher to Medical Device Entrepreneur

13:15 on 09/10/2015 in CÚRAM, Biosciences Research Building, NUI Galway

The purpose of the event is to promote entrepreneurship as a career path to researchers at different stages of their career, and is an opportunity to help young scientists in their career development and offer them an interdisciplinary discussion forum within an exclusive circle. Speakers include John Power, CEO of Aerogen, and Evelyn O’Toole, Founder of CLS.

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Organised by CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices

Enterprise Ireland Supports for Startups in the West Region

13:15, 14:15, 15:15 on 09/10/2015 in Enterprise Ireland West Region Office, Mervue Business Park, Galway

Three briefings on Enterprise Ireland supports for startups in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. These briefings will be of particular value to people thinking of starting an innovation-led business in manufacturing or internationally traded services. Business professionals who want to appraise themselves of current supports are also welcome.

Register at

Organised by Enterprise Ireland – West Region

Medical Device Innovation: Entrepreneur and Intrapreneur Training

14:00 on 09/10/2015 in BioInnovate Ireland, Block E, NUI Galway

BioInnovate Ireland is a forum which combines resources to catalyse and lead medical innovation by delivering the next generation of specially trained fellows and skilled graduates to the medtech market place. This seminar will discuss the BioInnovate programme and outputs.

Organised by BioInnovate Ireland

HR Forum for Business

14:30 on 09/10/2015 in Meyrick Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway

“Startups: Critical Aspects of Employment Law” is for employers, business owners and HR professionals. This will encompass the key HR practices that startups need to be aware of as a new business. It is an opportunity to listen and learn from Ibec practitioners about the implications of legislation on an organisation.

Register at

Organised by Ibec

Patents Workshop: Building a Business on Your Ideas

14:00 on 09/10/2015 in Harbour Hotel, New Dock Road, Galway

This seminar, aimed at small business-owners, entrepreneurs, inventors and startup companies, will provide an insight into what patents, trademarks and industrial designs are, how they should be managed, and how awareness of IP rights can assist in converting an idea into a business opportunity (while being mindful of due diligence considerations).

Register at

Organised by Galway Local Enterprise Office and Irish Patents Office

Presentation Skills and Elevator Pitch Seminar

14:00 on 09/10/2015 in Pillo Hotel, Headford Road, Galway

Session for participants to assess professional presentations, where TED presentations are viewed on screen, and an assessment draws out the principles of effective communication. The main points of an elevator pitch are discussed, with example pitches viewed and assessed.

Register with using the subject Startup Gathering 2015

Organised by ITAG

Social Bootcamp Galway (Afternoon)

14:00 on 09/10/2015 in Clayton Hotel Galway, Ballybrit, Galway

A half day of social media training for small businesses who need to quickly learn how to use social media to grow their business. Featuring well-known journalist Conor Pope and Spark Digital owner Felicity McCarthy.

Register at

Organised by Spark Digital and Conor Pope

Digi for Business

14:00 on 09/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

A Bank of Ireland representative will lead the discussion on how best to utilise digital platforms to maximise your business output, ensuring your business is digital savvy, and being prepared for ever changing buyer behaviour.

Organised by Bank of Ireland

An Afternoon for Startups at the Workbench for Startups

15:00 on 09/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

Taking place in the customised, bespoke workspace that is Workbench Galway, a panel discussion featuring startups from a variety of sectors and industries providing real-life stories and insights on how they designed, delivered and built their businesses.

Organised by Bank of Ireland

ISA TechBrew

16:00 on 09/10/2015 in Electric Galway, Abbeygate Street Upper, Galway

ISA TechBrew is an informal gathering of software company management and technology leaders, getting together to chat over a bite and a beer. Under the topic “Startups: Three Customers is Not a Business: Pivot, Persevere or Pack-It-Up”, this event is for leaders, investors and advisors in tech companies. Mic FitzGerald from OnePageCRM will speak.

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Organised by Irish Software Association and Ibec

Cloud Computing

16:30 on 09/10/2015 in Bank of Ireland Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

Taking the mystery out of cloud computing, industry experts will discuss and explain cloud computing, and how it can benefit your business.

Organised by Bank of Ireland

Galway 2020

18:00 on 09/10/2015 in Bank of Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

Galway is bidding to become the European Capital of Culture 2020. This presentation will give you insights into the programme designed to achieve this vision, why Galway, and how you can get involved!

Organised by Bank of Ireland and Galway 2020

Data: Insight / Power Of The Big Data

19:00 on 09/10/2015 in Workbench, Mainguard Street, Galway

Olivier Van Parys, Head of Analytics at Bank of Ireland, provides advice on the importance of data to a company at different stages of their growth, and how it can to utilised to deliver bottom-line results to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Organised by Bank of Ireland


20:00 on 09/10/2015 in a venue to be confirmed

A place for early stage startups to demo, showcase and pitch their companies to a friendly crowd and network with founders, developers, marketers and investors.

Register at

Organised by Ex Ordo


17:00 on 10/10/2015 in a venue to be confirmed

This will bring together startups, SMEs and corporates to address specific members’ issues in a peer-to-peer learning environment.

Register at

Organised by Shadowplay

Towards Innovation

Galway needs a city centre innovation hub to attract ‘cool’ companies, tech entrepreneur John Breslin tells Lorraine O’Hanlon of the Galway Independent ahead of next month’s Innovating West summit.

Galway is missing out on attracting innovative tech enterprises due to its lack of a downtown hub, according to co-founder John Breslin.

Fortunately, plans are afoot to remedy the situation and the need for the so-called Galway City Innovation District is among the topics set to be discussed at the one-day Innovating West summit taking place at NUI Galway on Friday 13 March.

The idea for the event, which will focus on building both teams and innovation ecosystems in the West, came after Innovating West co-organiser Dave Cunningham established a new incubator for start-up businesses, StartX6, on Mary Street in the city centre.

In a bid to inspire more people to create viable businesses in Galway, Dave and John thought it would be a good idea to bring together some of the leaders who have built some of the top companies and teams in the West.

“They’re all coming together on the day to inspire people, to show that you can do things here as good as anywhere,” explains John.

However, some challenges remain for those setting up in Galway, as many companies considering it as a location “see the fantastic city that we have and the talent and the lifestyle and culture, but they often are missing that downtown hub where they could imagine themselves being placed”, he says.

While some software companies – such as SmartBear and Element Wave at Dockgate on Dock Road – have found homes in the city centre, and many others on the outskirts at Parkmore or Dangan, John feels a dedicated area in the heart of the city would attract even more.

“There is a move in a lot of cities around the world to create these downtown innovation districts where you can basically cluster the cool companies, the cafés, the transport, the Internet and broadband all in one place,” he says.

“In Galway we’re kind of missing that. I think we’re losing out a little bit because these companies go to other cities and they see the downtown building and see the cool exposed stonework and they can imagine themselves being there. We don’t really have that here yet.”

The panel discussion at Innovating West on the topic, ‘Towards a Galway City Innovation District and Similar Ecosystems in the West’, will feature contributions from John along with Maurice O’Gorman from Galway Chamber and IDA Western Regional Manager Catherina Blewitt.

The discussion will, John hopes, build awareness of the need for the district, and include brainstorming on how to make it happen now, rather than in ten years’ time. In fact, he is hopeful that there will be real movement on the plan in the next year.

Given the overwhelming support for the initiative since it was first mooted, however, John believes the development simply requires “pushing an open door”. Support has already come from the likes of Galway City Council, Galway Chamber, NUI Galway, and Galway Harbour.

John sees the area around Ceannt Station and Galway Harbour in particular as an ideal space for the innovation hub development, and hopes to see at least one building utilised successfully as such before the district is grown further from there.

“We would see that space as, hopefully, being a target for this innovation district and that will be part of the discussion at Innovating West,” he says.

The station area has huge potential, he considers, as it’s close to town, the main transportation hub, and is within walking distance of key spots like the university.

In addition to its focus on the Galway City Innovation District, the Innovating West summit, which is sponsored by Galway Independent, will also focus on building teams here, with speakers from companies employing hundreds and thousands of people offering their insights during a series of interactive panel discussions.

‘Why Galway Works’ is just one of the topics set to be discussed by innovators such as HP Galway MD Mark Gantly, Element Wave CEO Dorothy Creaven, Cloud90 CEO Nicola Byrne, Enterprise Ireland Western Regional Manager Barry Egan and Silicon Valley-based Game Golf CEO John McGuire.

Mr McGuire, whose golf product has been used by US President Barack Obama, is flying in specially for the event, and John points to the fact that the company still has a base in Galway as evidence of the West’s appeal.

Galway’s charm also applies to the sports sphere and team building will be discussed at the summit by Connacht Rugby’s Head Coach Pat Lam, CEO Willie Ruane and Domestic Rugby Manager Eric Elwood, who will speak on ‘Lifting Connacht Rugby to a New Level’.

“Connacht Rugby has built a very strong team, both in terms of the managerial team and the players,” says John. “Whether you’re a tech company or a rugby team, you’re basically trying to attract someone to the lifestyle of Galway.”

While there may be different requirements and skills needed for sports stars and tech teams, John contends that people still want the same things from where they live: good quality of living, adequate housing, quality schools in the area, convenient transportation, and broadband connectivity.

The same is true outside cities and ‘Building a Winning Team Outside of a City’ will also be discussed at the summit by Gerry Barry, founder of Baile na hAbhann-based Fintrax, Harry Hughes from Westport-based Portwest, and John Concannon from Tuam-based JFC Manufacturing.

“It should be interesting to hear how you can create a team that doesn’t have to be in a city… it can be anywhere if you put mind to it,” says John.

Around 200 people are set to attend Innovating West and it will appeal to anyone starting up, building or growing their company, team members and team leaders. The day-long summit will conclude with informal networking at The g Hotel.

For more details on Innovating West and ticket details, see www.innovatingwest.comThis interview was published by the Galway Independent on 25th February 2015.

Congregating in Cong

Reflecting on Congregation14 which took place last week in Cong on the Galway/Mayo border in the west of Ireland it was clear that social media can no long be considered a passing fad but now needs to be treated as an integral part of any public activity whether it be commercial or institutional.

Interestingly, social media’s amorphous ability to adapt to the various aspects and facets that are constituted in the different needs of different organisations preclude anybody from calling themselves a social media expert. There is just too much going on over too many time frames for any one person to claim omniscience.

Hence the need for something like Congregation 14, now in its second year and organised by Eoin Kennedy, @eoink. Admittance is by submission of a blog post which is later collated with other participant’s blogs into an e-book. The submitted blog can also constitute the thoughts of a talk that a participant may use to give a talk or they may talk on another subject entirely. You can, of course, choose not to give a talk but even the most taciturn amongst will find themselves engaged in the subsequent conversation.

Attendees gathered at the Crowe’s Nest and were assigned their huddles for the day. These huddles were small groups of four to eight people of which at least two people were to give a small talk.

The huddles take place in various locales around Cong which since it was Cong means there was a very short walk between any two places. My first huddle took place at Pat Cohan’s.

Eoin Mulvilhill, @eoinmulvihill, spoke about how Twitter, and social media in general, was both under-used and misused in Ireland’s last presidential election. Social media is all about engagement through conversation but all of the contestants had used it as if it was an old-fashioned uni-directional broadcasting service.

Roseanne Smith, @enormous then gave an informative talk about pimping up WordPress through the use of plug-ins. Technology Voice runs on Drupal but I have an old legacy online CV site that runs on WordPress that I rarely ever look at. Her talk gave me a couple of ideas which in turn has given me the impetus to go back and brush the cobwebs off the site and see what I can do with the presentation.

After a light lunch came the afternoon sessions. My new huddle location was Danagher’s hotel. Bernard Goldbach, @topgold, gave us a detailed rundown on how he handles his social media firehose. There is no standard management technique as tools have to address needs. While some of what he does is not applicable to my circumstances other parts were.

One unexpected insight from the day was a distinct sense that that the fortunes of the Irish economy might have turned. I heard a lot about how institutions such as An Garda Siochåna, @GardaTraffic, and other large companies interacted with the public. But I also heard about how companies, particularly those in the construction sector, were thinking of using social media to find qualified people for possible upcoming positions. It seems social media, particularly Linkedin, is invaluable in establishing who the right workers are, where they are and what they are doing.

Even having spent an entire day at Cong14 I had not been to all the huddle locations nor had I met all my fellow attendees. Still, there is always next year. If I do go I will definitely have a talk prepared. Like so much else the more you put into these things the more you (and hopefully others) get out of it.

Episode 14 – Dublin Web Summit & Entrepreneurship in Ireland

00:00 Intro Music “Alone But Not Lonely” by Stefan Ternemar
00:11 Intro by John Breslin @johnbreslin, Marie Boran @PixievVonDust, Jack Harty, Andrii Degeler @shlema, Tom Murphy @tom_murphy
00:01 Shout outs:
Irish Executive Mentoring Program
01:37 News Section:
01:45 Dublin Web Summit
03:17 Jay Bregman on Drones @jaybregman Ireland well poised to be a leader in Drone tech – discussion.
06:44 Driverless Cars – piloted cars discussion.
08:44 Amendments to Article 8 and Article 39 of 1968 Convention on Road Traffic Annex Page 9.
09:44 Audi Pilotless cars Andreas Reich – Head of Electronic Predevelopment discussion.
13:30 Wearable fitness devices are not used over the long term.
19:30 Walkmeter
20:25 Jawbone Up
20:32 Fitbit Flex
20:44 StepTracker
21:05 FuelBand
22:30 Propeller Health
23:00 Tech Finance:
Jack Harty discusses the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland
30:33 #DigiWomen
50:07 Cool Tech:
50;15 Microsoft Band
56:11 Amazon Echo
57:25 i3 BMW Video
57:34 Onyx Walkie Talkie by OnBeep
58:57 Wrap Up
59:25 End of speech portion.
Outro music “Alone But Not Lonely” by Stefan Ternemar
60:00 End