Attracting and retaining migrant-led start-ups and innovative entrepreneurs from outside the EU

This joint conference was hosted by EMN Ireland, within the ESRI, and the Department of Justice and Equality. It explored recent and new developments in efforts to attract non-EEA innovative entrepreneurs and start-up talent to Ireland.

Presentations are available below.

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Conference agenda


Arrival and Registration



Alan Barrett (Director, ESRI)


Opening remarks

Oonagh Buckley (Deputy Secretary General, Civil Justice and Equality Pillar, Department of Justice and Equality)

Session 1

International start-up migration patterns and trends

 Chair: Clare Dunne (Assistant Secretary General, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation)


Start-up visas: A passport for innovation and growth? International trends, parallels and differences

Liam Patuzzi (Policy Analyst, MPI Europe)



Migratory pathways for start-ups and innovative entrepreneurs in the EU: Key findings from the EMN comparative study

Margaret James (Head of the EMN Service Provider/ICF Associate, ICF)

Migratory pathways for attracting start-ups and innovators: the case of e-Estonia

Ave Lauren (Senior Researcher, Estonian Business School)


Questions and Answers


Coffee Break

Session II

Migration of innovative entrepreneurs to Ireland

Chair: Michael Kirrane (Head of Immigration Service Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality)


Migration to Ireland of start-ups and innovative entrepreneurs

Emma Quinn (Head of Irish National Contact Point, EMN Ireland / ESRI)


Start-up Entrepreneur Programme: Migrant Entrepreneur’s Gateway to Ireland

Aonghus O’Connor (Principal Officer, Immigration Service Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality)

When Immigration meets innovation: An experience of navigating a path to Ireland for non-EEA start-ups and entrepreneurs

Aoife Gillespie (Consultant, Philip Lee)


Questions and Answers



Session III

Supporting start-ups and innovative entrepreneurs

Chair: Dr. Pramod Pathak (Dean of School of Computing, National College of Ireland)


Supporting start-ups and innovative entrepreneurs

Kevin Donnelly (Overseas Entrepreneurship Manager, Enterprise Ireland)

The International Security Accelerator: attracting global start-ups to scale from Ireland, a case study

Michael O'Connor (CEO, CorkBIC)

The Central Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Hub

Denise Delaney (Head of Function, Central Bank of Ireland)

The funding process for an Irish start-up

William Conaghan and Lizzy Hayashida (Change Donations)


Questions and Answers