Why Dublin Can Help Kick Start The Liverpool Start-Up Scene
A unique opportunity for growth rests on Liverpool’s doorstep, in the shape of twin city Dublin.
That is the opinion of Andrew Beattie, the inspiring founder of Liverpool international business publications The City Tribune and Ethos, who strongly believes Liverpool is ideally placed to utilise its cultural similarities to establish positive business links with the growth start-up capital of the EU.
“Dublin and Liverpool are about as close as two cities could get culturally, great people a great social scene, the similarities are endless, even down to the language. When you put that all together, it presents a massive opportunity for business collaboration”. Said Beattie.
He isn’t wrong; Dublin currently plays host to the international headquarters of Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to name but a few of the giants that now call the Emerald Isle home. In turn drawing some of the most innovative minds the world has to offer to its shores.
Considering Beattie’s background and original focus has been the tech and digital industries, it’s easy to understand the motivating factors behind the infectious enthusiasm that accompanies every sentence he delivers on the subject.
“Take Finland as an example, when Nokia peaked [in 2006 Nokia accounted for 41% of the global mobile phone market] the best innovative and creative minds in Europe, in tech terms at least, wanted to work for Nokia.” Continued Beattie.
As a result, when Nokia began its decline, Finland profited from the vibrant community that accompanies such a business behemoth. The focus turned to small business and innovation with unequivocal success, with the help of start-up accelerators Vigo and Slush. By 2013, Finland boasted a 12 per cent share of all investment into EU venture capital backed companies.
“So what happens when competition increases and the innovator the giant companies attracted becomes ambitious or no longer required? You have a cluster of groups working together, forming microbusinesses of their own surrounded by a community able to facilitate growth.”
“I believe this will happen in Dublin and therein lies the unique opportunity for Liverpool. Like Helsinki, microbusinesses will spawn with a desire to venture in to the UK and where better to dip your toe in from a cultural stand point than Liverpool?” Said Beattie.
As the mantra goes ‘Liverpool is open for business’, however, LEP dashboard research figures identify Liverpool as the city with the highest rate of growth for new startups and yet the lowest survival rate with only 53.3 per cent of new companies surviving into their 3rd year.
This trend can largely attributed to the cities business start-up programs – incentivised by target driven agendas – being primarily focused on the facilitation of the start-up, rather than challenging the viability of the business plan or providing valued advice on the sustainability of the company.
With EU funding likely to be cut in the near future, this method of support is unlikely to improve. But, is that a bad thing?
“Initially the cuts will be harsh, but in the end great.” Said Beattie, “The change in culture will force us to innovate and be a bit more selective of business propositions capable of sustainable growth.”
Constraints promote creativity after all.
In the form The City Tribune and Ethos, Andrew Beattie and his team are at the coalface of a changing start-up culture in the city of Liverpool. Providing varied content, with contributors from 50 countries worldwide, in the hope of providing local start-up’s with insight into culturally diverse business activity and innovation across the world.
Volume 2 of the first edition of The City Tribune is very much in the pipeline ahead of the International Festival for Business 2016, to be held once again in Liverpool. The memories of 2014 still very much fresh in his mind.
“What we found was post 2008, business had to find solutions to an institution that had failed. A new generation of ethical entrepreneurs had formed, focused on ‘winning the right way’.” Continued Beattie. “A togetherness and commitment to get it right and overcome traditional boundaries, through strength of community. If you can’t borrow from the bank, what can you do? And so, crowd funding emerged.” He concluded.
That sense of community rests just across the Irish Sea and with the help of forward thinkers like Andrew Beattie, Liverpool could be ready to take advantage.
Words: Ryan Forde-Kelly
The City Tribune: www.thecitytribune.co.uk