New event aims to support start-ups on an ongoing basis

First Fridays to include workshops, advice and chats with successful founders

From left, Mary Rodgers, chief executive of Portershed; DC Cahalane, director of First Fridays for Startups at Dogpatch Labs; Andreea Wade, head of talent at Cloud AI iCIMS and Paddy Flynn, vice president of Geo Data Operations at Google.

A new initiative aimed at supporting Irish start-ups who want to grow internationally is set to kick off around Ireland.

The First Fridays for Startups event is a partnership between Dogpatch Labs, the Irish Tech Hubs Network and leading multinational technology companies. The monthly event, which will be held virtually, includes curated expert workshops, advisory panels and fireside chats with successful founders.

Kicking off in Dogpatch Labs in Dublin on March 4th, the event will be held in different start-up and innovation hubs around the country throughout the year, including Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, Portershed in Galway, Kerry's RDI Hub, the Republic of Work in Cork, and Belfast's Ormeau Baths.


Veteran startup advisor and founder of Cork's Republic of Work innovation hub, DC Cahalane, is also joining Dogpatch Labs to lead the programme.


It is an expansion of the programme run by Dogpatch Labs and Google in Dublin for the past five years. Google, HubSpot, Microsoft and Salesforce are among the first to confirm their support, with other partnerships set to be announced.

Some funding will also be included to cover the cost of the programme, which remains free to start-ups.

"The idea with expanding on the old traditional First Friday's event that we used to do is: how do we start getting startups thinking bigger about the world and thinking bigger about what's out there?" Mr Cahalane said.

“I think this is one step towards bringing in those bigger companies deeper in with the startups.”

Mr Cahalane said the programme would open up access for start-ups, thanks to the different venues around the country and the virtual access.

"Instead of previously having to ask who can we physically get to come into Dogpatch in Dublin or who could you physically get in Galway, the fact that it now gets delivered virtually means that we can get onto people in Miami and San Francisco and London and Asia, that we can literally find the best Irish connected talent anywhere in the world and get them in front of the ecosystem."


Start-ups will also be able to access one-to-one mentoring sessions with employees and experts from global technology companies.

More than 1,000 employees of the tech giants have already committed to support the start-up community.

"This is a real boost for the regions, extending equal access to the wealth of multinational talent to founders across the island of Ireland," said Portershed chief executive and head of the Irish Tech Hub Network Mary Rodgers. "We hope to inspire founders and give Irish startups unrivalled access to global networks as they seek to go out beyond our shores and conquer the world."

Registration for the events is available at

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

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