Next Generation tech: meet Belfast's homegrown thought-leaders
Causeway Asset Management

Next Generation Tech: meet Belfast’s homegrown thought-leaders

Posted 06/01/2018 by Causeway Asset Management,

Historically renowned for its shipbuilding and aerospace lineage, in recent years Belfast has developed a reputation as a leading global tech hub. As a result entrepreneurs and forward-thinkers are contributing to the city’s flourishing network of tech start-up companies.

Tech start-ups in the past often had to reach out to larger cities like London or San Francisco to incubate their ideas, but now Belfast boasts opportunity for businesses at every stage of their growth journey. We’re lucky to have received some insight into this progression, as some of Belfast’s best tech entrepreneurs shed light on this exciting evolution.


A collaborative energy

A surge of start-ups inevitably raises competition for funding and resources, however, it also brings many advantages to the tech scene in Belfast. Peter Edgar, Programme Manager at Ignite Accelerator explains, “the access to information now is great, we can learn from start-ups in the past. Plus an increasing number of shared working spaces popping up across the city really helps create a collaborative energy where we can learn from each other.”

Peter elaborates on the progress in Belfast as a place to start your business, “5 years ago there wasn’t the same energy around start-ups in Belfast. There are so many opportunities now with a meet-up every night of the week.”

Harry Eves, Business Development Lead at Rota Pal, an app for medical staff on call, discusses the current atmosphere, “the number of tech start-ups in Belfast is growing exponentially, there’s a great network and community of young disruptive companies building. It feels like every week we’re hearing about ‘the next big’ thing to come out of Belfast.”

Ben Craig, Co-owner of Root & Branch is surrounded by exciting tech start-ups and global leading multinationals on a daily basis in their satellite location at Ormeau Baths.

“We get to provide a welcome and break out area for the residents, get to know them all a bit more each day, beyond remembering what their name is and that they order a flat white or a batch brew. In so doing we become inspired by their energy and passion for their innovative idea and re-fuel them with some good cheer and a cup of something delicious to lighten the day,” explains Ben.


Readily available support

Invest NI offers support to early stage start-ups and finance is available through local angel network HALO and funds like techstartNI and the Invest Growth Fund.

“There are a number of start-up accelerator programmes providing mentorship, there is access to innovation and proof of concept grants, angel investors and the opportunity to pitch to major venture capitalists, which I believe is at an all-time high in Belfast,” explains Harry.

Other programmes like Ignite Accelerator are designed to support those technology companies that are not only at the early stages of development but also at the growing stage. This can often be a difficult period where help is required in raising further investment to thrive after they have launched.


Location is key

“Belfast is a city in renaissance, a wonderful creative hub of entrepreneurial spark characterised by quality and innovation,” says Ben.

There is no doubt that Belfast is an excellent place to be working at present. Boasting affordable costs of living, a vibrant social scene, great connectivity and adaptable office spaces, it makes a great choice for any company keen to exploit the start-up market.

With two highly respected universities on your doorstep, Belfast also offers an experienced and educated pool of graduates and researchers eager to work with innovative companies. Our previous article on Belfast’s local talent sheds light on why Global brands rate our talent pool so highly.

Causeway Asset Management’s Future-Fit concept aims to allow companies to thrive by putting digital connectivity at the centre of their operations. Chichester House will be Northern Ireland’s first building to have Wired Score certification which will be integral to any firm exploiting the tech-sector. Adaptable tenancies and flexible fit-outs offer a hassle-free transition for companies who need office space that can meet the rapidly changing demands on business.



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