Deserted prison to host Startup Island bootcamp

Investors, entrepreneurs, startups and experts will be thrown together on Spike Island with no escape. It’s survival of the fittest.

  • Startup Island Bootcamp is part of the Global Startup Gathering, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, which is taking place in Cork from 17 to 20 November, 2016



As part of this year’s Global Startup Gathering in Cork sponsored by Bank of Ireland, organisers have launched an intensive startup bootcamp with a twist – on the site of a disused former prison, on an island off the coast of Cork.

Spike Island will play host to a gritty, two-day, overnight bootcamp that will challenge the way startups think. With a host of leading entrepreneurs set to offer key business insights, as well as those sharing their own startup stories, Startup Island promises to be a startup event like no other.

150 startups who want to learn the real hard truths about making it in business will report for duty in Cobh on Friday 18 November before making their way across to Spike Island for a rigorous debriefing.

Startups will be pushed outside of their comfort zones with a physical, army-style bootcamp putting them through their paces. Business masterclasses will cover a range of important topics, with everything from pitching to raising capital on the table.

A night in the ‘cells’ will give startups plenty of time to think about their business models, while networking with fellow ‘inmates’ could open up some unique business opportunities.

Startup Island is being run on the 18-19 November, as part of this year’s Global Startup Gathering. Bank of Ireland is the lead sponsor for the second year, having been a major supporter of the Startup Gathering 2015.

David Merriman, Head of Enterprise Development at Bank of Ireland said, “This unique event will challenge participating startups to hone their skills in an intense, high pressure weekend, and is one of the flagship events of the Global Startup Gathering which Bank of Ireland is proud to sponsor. With a strong track record in supporting enterprise activity, Bank of Ireland is delighted to be involved in this year’s GSG2016 which takes place during our 15th National Enterprise Week. We are very focused on creating opportunities for startups to build strong networks.  Through the Startup Island bootcamp participants will not only get the chance to meet their like-minded young startup companies, but will also gain invaluable insights and learnings for business success.”

RTÉ is proud to support the Global Startup Gathering, as the official media partner for the event.

“Supporting Ireland’s startup community and our shared ambition to position Ireland as a global startup hub is important for the economic success of the country, now and into the future. RTÉ’s partnership with the Global Startup Gathering is part of a range of initiatives that we are undertaking to support the startup community in Ireland and ensure greater, more meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration”, said Múirne Laffan, RTÉ’s Chief Digital Officer.

Andrew Parish, startup facilitator, Startup Ireland added: “Ireland has a vibrant startup community, as evident by the enormous engagement with Startup Gathering 2015, which saw over 400 events held throughout Ireland across one week. This year we want to offer something completely different for startups; a gritty bootcamp that looks at the harsh realities of making it in business. We have an exciting lineup of speakers, with some truly amazing and inspiring stories of success, as well as how to bounce back from failures. It’s definitely a startup event not to be missed.”

Tickets for Startup Island are priced at €50 per person for an overnight experience or €25 for those not brave enough to stay on the island. A limited number of free places are up for grabs for startups who can tell us in 200 characters or less why they deserve it. Applications for tickets are now being accepted on

Have you got what it takes?

Running in parallel with Spike Island is the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Startup Nations Summit, which will bring together leaders of national entrepreneurship initiatives from over 80 countries. This will be the first year that the Startup Nations Summit will be held in Europe.

The Global Startup Gathering, hosted by Startup Ireland and Cork Innovates, is taking place as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.



**Applications for tickets are now open. Closing date for applications is Wednesday 26 October. Apply now at Watch the trailer here.


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