Elevation pitch: U2’s the Edge announces new group to help Irish entrepreneurs

Guitarist launches non-profit Endeavor Ireland, which is also backed by Denis O’Brien

Anne Heraty, the Edge, Elaine Coughlan, and Mark Roden at the launch of Endeavor Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Anne Heraty, the Edge, Elaine Coughlan, and Mark Roden at the launch of Endeavor Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Not everyone would see the immediate similarities between a rock star and a businessperson, but U2’s the Edge does.

“I think of every rock’n’roll band as entrepreneurial – I mean, when you think about it, it’s about ideas, it’s about self-belief, a touch of megalomania in there somewhere,” he said.

The guitarist announced on Friday the founding of an Irish office of the global not-for-profit Endeavor, an organisation that helps entrepreneurs scale up by providing them with access to capital and an international network of peers and mentors.

The Edge, real name David Evans, said U2 had long been exploring how it could use its influence and profile to help homegrown Irish business, with Endeavor being “the perfect fit”.

“It’s a non-profit, it’s really orientated towards helping entrepreneurs, and it has this global network. Also the fact that it’s a tried and tested formula, it’s up and running, it’s not reinventing the wheel. I realised it was achieving everything that we were hoping to do,” he said, adding that he hoped the initiative would be another part of U2’s legacy.

Entrepreneurs were best placed to help Ireland overcome the uncertainty created by the likes of Brexit and Donald Trump, he said. “If we do hit a real problem, they are our best chance of getting out of that difficulty because they’ll be creating a lot of high-quality jobs.”

Endeavor is already established in 35 countries. The running of the Irish office will be self-funded by its board of directors, which includes the Edge, representing U2, Elaine Coughlan of Atlantic Bridge, Anne Heraty of CPL Recruitment, Mark Roden of Ding, Denis O’Brien of Digicel, Alan Foy, and Paddy McKillen snr.