Ireland 'almost over hump of economic crisis', Innovation Roadshow is told


The Irish economy is coming to the end of the crisis cycle, according to economist Dr Stephen Kinsella.

Speaking at the latest Irish Times/Innovation Roadshow at the Kemmy Business School last Friday, he said that despite the continuing stream of grim economic data, “final domestic demand is not falling as fast and if we consider 2004 as normal then we are back to that level, so while things seem bad we are almost over the hump in terms of the economic collapse”.

However, he warned that small and medium enterprises were still starved of credit.

“SMEs should be the engines of our recovery right now. They are not, because they are starved of credit, but also because they exist in a market experiencing depressed demand.”

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Bettina von Stamm, who spoke about the importance of collaboration, not just between small start-ups but within larger organisations as well. She mapped out ways in which firms can tackle the cultural constraints to innovate.

Also addressing the event was Lindsay MacVean from the award-winning social innovation firm CoderDojo. Created in Cork to offer free open learning environments for children, he said that “in 16 months it has grown from one location to over 150 in 23 countries, and groups in nearly every major technology company, all without a bank account”.

He called for programming language to be recognised on the curriculum and said it should be recognised as having the same importance as learning foreign languages.

The event also involved a panel session based at the Nexus Innovation Centre, the university’s incubation centre, which has already created 76 new jobs in its first year.

One of the speakers, Tony Leto, moved from Silicon Valley last year to set up his new start-up firm iTrac Global at the Nexus centre.

Specialising in simplifying the compliance issues involved in global export trade, the firm now employs former and current UL students at the centre.