Start-up event heads north to Belfast as part of ecosystem push

First Fridays for Start-ups will also expand to a second day for the first time

Networking event First Fridays for Start-ups is to be held in Belfast’s Ormeau Baths as part of a push to connect start-up ecosystems across the island of Ireland.

The Dogpatch Labs event will link start-ups based in Northern Ireland with more than 1,000 global tech mentors, and bring founder talks, mentorship and support for entrepreneurs.

Due to take place on October 7th, it will be the first time First Fridays has been held in Belfast. The event is a partnership between Dogpatch Labs, the Irish Tech Hubs Network and leading multinational technology companies. The monthly event, which is held in person and virtually, includes curated expert workshops, advisory panels and fireside chats with successful founders.

The Belfast event will include contributions from successful Northern Iris entrepreneurs, including Professor of Experimental Psychology and CEO of INCISIV Cathy Craig, and Dr Chris Armstrong, CEO of Overwatch Research.


It is an expansion of the programme run by Dogpatch Labs and Google in Dublin for the past five years, expanding to host events this year in Galway, Kerry, Cork and Skibbereen.

‘’This important connection continues our efforts to collaborate with Dogpatch Labs to give founders the best environment and the best chance of succeeding north and south of the border,” said Claire Dowds, general manager of Ormeau Baths. “We strongly encourage founders from the North to take advantage of the world-class mentoring in the First Fridays Mentoring programme and participate in the whole event’.

The event will expand to a second day to bring together founders, startup hubs, politicians and investors to discuss the start-up environment and opportunities for increased collaboration across the island of Ireland.

“Today from a Dogpatch perspective, we’re making a commitment to ensure there’s a broader effort to help and support founders in Northern Ireland,” said managing director accelerator programme NDRC, Ian Browne. “Entrepreneurship is a tough and challenging game; the right ecosystem supports can be the difference between success and failure. Geographically small ecosystems like Ireland should connect up the pieces to be part of a larger effort to help founders succeed.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist