Jobs fair gets start-ups and students connected

Mon, Nov 19, 2012, 00:00

Dubstarts is designed to connect willing students and graduates with the best start-ups and has proved a runaway success so far

He may be just 24, but tech entrepreneur Vincent Lyons has made it his business to find jobs and internships for the young people of Dublin.

Along with his friend Phil Fogarty, he founded Dubstarts, a series of jobs fairs designed to connect willing students and graduates with the best start-ups.

“We had lots of friends who were looking for jobs, having just graduated from university. At the same time we noticed start-ups often didn’t have the funds to pay professionals with 20 years experience, as they would require a huge salary, whereas recent graduates couldn’t demand the same high salaries,” Lyons says.

The duo organised a Dubstarts pilot event in May, after discovering a huge demand among start-ups for young developers, graphic designers, marketing professionals and sales personnel.

“More than 300 people turned up and we had a long queue stretching out the door. More than 20 people got jobs out of the event and most were paid positions. Some people were even hired on the spot at the event,” Lyons said.

Lyons, who played a pivotal role in bringing Dogpatch Labs to Ireland, is also heavily involved in the Startupbootcamp accelerator programme.

Following on from the success of the first Dubstarts event, he organised a second in Dublin last week.

Among the start-up companies participating in the event were activity booking site Birble, school administration platform VSware, online accountancy firm Bullet, online news aggregator NewsWhip and golfmiles, which is a global loyalty platform for the golf industry.

Brendan Casey, CEO of swiftQueue, a start-up which provides online appointment software for the healthcare industry, said he was at the event to recruit new members to his team.

“We have more than 100 clinics signed up ranging from dentists to doctors to physiotherapists and we have recently engaged with the HSE. A patient can either go to our website or the clinic’s website, see what appointments are available and make a booking. We are getting very busy with more and more clinics signing up, so we’re here to find front-end developers and marketing executives, both interns and paid positions.”

Casey co-founded the business in 2011 with Declan Donohoe after identifying a need to allow patients book their healthcare appointments online.

“If you are sick late at night you can make an appointment for first thing the next morning. You don’t have to wait for it to open to phone/call in.”

Casey hopes to launch the service in the UK “as soon as possible” with the software already being piloted there.

Morgan Lynch, CEO of online invoicing company Senddr, said his company had been trying to recruit people since August.

“It’s a pity this event didn’t happen in August. It’s near impossible to find/recruit tech people in Dublin. There are lots of them about, but it’s difficult to tap into the talent pool.

“We want to launch our product by the end of December so we need interns fast. And lots of them. There will be two full-time jobs too.”

GetHealth CEO Liam Ryan said the calibre of undergraduates and graduates attending the event was excellent.

“We had two guys talk to us tonight who were on the ball. They were business graduates and I wanted them to start right away. I was afraid to lose them as they were very clued in.”

GetHealth is currently zoning in on the health and fitness arena to gamify it. The company has created a gaming app so that users can track, monitor and reach their personal health goals.

“We are looking to hire eight people over the next few months. We are currently selling in the States and across Europe. We are looking for people to help us take on the world.”

Ryan reiterated the view of other companies in terms of finding workers. “It’s hard to get access to great talent, especially young people who are very motivated.”

NCI student Claudia Hocke said she was attending the event to find an internship.

“We have to do a six-month internship during the second semester of third year. There are approximately 50 people in our class, but only seven to eight people have found internships. It’s very difficult.”

Ms Hocke previously worked in the legal and finance sectors but returned to college after losing her job.

IT Tallaght graduate Karen Walsh said she was hoping to get into the tech scene as she had studied audio-visual communications at college.

“I graduated four years ago. I’m working in a shop at present but would prefer to get into the industry I studied in.”

Lyons plans to roll out the start-up jobs fairs to other cities and regions in the future including Belfast, Cork, Galway, Kerry and Waterford which all have good start-up scenes.

While he enjoys finding jobs for people and creating good networking opportunities for start-ups and entrepreneurs, he is conscious of the fact this won’t make him money.

“We keep it very cheap for companies to attend the jobs fair. There is only a tiny per table cost, which is just to cover overheads.”

He is currently setting up a jobs website to connect start-ups with workers. Companies will be charged to advertise on the site on a per ad basis or per month basis.

“It will be more practical for companies as they will be able to advertise and hire when they want as opposed to waiting for the next job fair.

“The jobs fair is excellent for pairing undergrads/recent grads with start-ups but not so good for start-ups looking for highly experienced people. We have found that some companies are looking to hire senior positions, on top salaries, in roles that involve flying back and forth from the US. The jobs board will help with that.”

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