The Republic of Ireland has fallen four places to 18th spot in an international ranking of the best countries for start-ups, with Dublin dropping out of the top 50 cities. The rankings were compiled by using algorithms that analyse thousands of data points on early-stage companies, accelerators and co-working spaces to rank 1,000 cities and 100 countries in terms of their start-up ecosystems.

According to the Start-up Ecosystem Rankings, Dublin is the only Irish city to feature in the top 300 cities. The capital fell 10 places this year to 54th spot. Galway was the second-highest Irish city, although it fell 86 places to 313. Cork declined 233 places to 432, while Limerick fell 162 places to 605. The only city in the Republic to see a rise in the latest rankings was Waterford, up 21 places to 754th place. Regionally, Ireland ranks in 12th place for Europe, with the capital coming in 13th place.

Poor showing

Separately, Belfast was ranked in 174th spot globally, up 83 places compared with last year and was deemed the seventh best place in the UK for start-ups. The report’s authors cited a number of factors for the relatively poor showing for the Republic in its rankings. These include the presence of all the leading tech giants here which, they said, discouraged people from starting their own companies. They also said that many of those that do often leave here to achieve success, citing as an example the Collison brothers, founders of the tech unicorn Stripe.

“Ireland’s potential has yet to be realised in full, and talented Irish founders still choose to relocate and establish their start-ups in more prominent ecosystems. “The lack of allure to stay and scale start-ups in the Irish ecosystem is resulting in a lack of unicorns, which in turn results in a low level of investment,” the authors said.

The United States, UK, Israel, Canada and Germany are ranked as the top five countries for start-ups globally, with San Francisco, New York, London, Boston and Los Angeles the leading cities.

Irish Times, 02 June 2020