Concrete support for young people needed, says entrepreneur

Fri, Dec 3, 2010, 00:00

IRELAND COULD become home to the next Google, Facebook or Nokia if it stopped paying “lip service” to a younger generation by offering concrete support, the founder of a national social media agency has said.

SpunOut.ie director Ruairí McKiernan said his company planned to expand from its Galway base to Dublin, but was finding it “nearly impossible” to find an affordable office there.

The award-winning agency, which has received funding from Atlantic Philanthropies and other sources, currently employs 10 people in Galway.

It estimates that it reaches over 500,000 young people annually, offering information, support and opportunities on health, lifestyle and citizenship issues. It works closely with the Health Service Executive and with companies including Google and Vodafone.

McKiernan has just returned from a fundraising mission to Silicon Valley in the US, where he met technology industry leaders.

“Ireland needs to stop waiting on others to come to our rescue and instead must focus on harnessing the energy, ideas and passion of the younger generation by focusing on providing concrete support to the start-up sector,” said McKiernan.

“There are thousands of people out there with innovative ideas and the skills, determination and passion to make great things happen. There’s no reason we can’t create our own Google, Facebook or Nokia, or to look beyond information technology and truly become a world leader in green energy,” he said.

McKiernan (32), who is a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award winner, set up SpunOut.ie in 2004 in his bedroom in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.