This Friday, 7th September, marks the return of the monthly meetup ‘Founder Friday’ to Waterford. This is an opportunity for business minds, or even just curious minds, to come together and share their business backgrounds and experiences with like-minded people.
Tracy Keogh, West Region Innovation Community Manager at Bank of Ireland, founded the national movement in 2016. Robbie Skuse, co-founder of kollect.ie, acted as Waterford’s first community facilitor. In June of 2017 Emer Powell and Hillary Coghlan took over organising and running the monthly meetups. Speaking to Hillary today, I got an insight into the essence of the events; it’s really about helping each other out.
The project is funded by Bank of Ireland and meetups were purposed as a networking event for small start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs. Meetups aim to fill, and resolve voids in local business networking. Small start-ups tend to be quite isolated from the local business community and this provided an opportunity to bring people together. Emer and Hillary decided to expand on the idea and extend the invitation not just to start-ups, but to anyone interested in the discussion topics or event themes. A creative, friendly space thus evolved and with it a more broad mindset on the theme of business. What once was a primarily tech based startup community, now welcomes business minds from a range of industries, including: retail, e-commerce, food, and media.
The evening is held in Revolution, a craft beer and whiskey bar in Waterford, and invites between 3 and 4 speakers to share the backstory to their business; the highs and the lows included. Boxworks Co.Working Space are heavily involved in supporting the project too; sourcing speakers for Founder Friday meetups and bringing together entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-ups, sole traders and SME’s to creative collaborative, innovative communities in Waterford. People are very generous with their time and never say no to sharing an experience or lessons learned, and if they are unavailable on the night will offer to attend the next meetup.
What makes this event work? The meetups are informal, open, and there are no expectations. It’s honest, the business faces are left at home. It’s where lessons are learned and it’s not always about success stories!
‘It’s about the good, the bad, and the impossible.’
Waterford’s Founder Friday is hosted on the first Friday of every month from 18:00-20:30 and can been found on Eventbrite and Facebook. Two of the speakers’ talks this week will be based on the Waterford Greenway. Check out the link below for more information.
Article ammended as of 7th September