First Fridays event to link Northern Irish startups with 1,000+ global tech mentors

Northern Irish startups will gather for the first time for a major monthly technology ecosystem event “First Fridays” at Belfast’s Ormeau Baths on Friday 7th October. The event is run in partnership with startup and innovation hub Dogpatch Labs and aims to connect and promote startups. As well as talks from successful entrepreneurs, the event will connect founders in Northern Ireland with 1,000+ mentors from global tech companies Hubspot, Salesforce, Google, and Microsoft.

First Fridays for Startups, which initially was held in Dublin for four years, expanded this year to host events in Galway, Kerry, Cork and Skibbereen in the Republic. This October it further expands by hosting its first-ever event in Belfast for entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland, making it an all-island event for the first time.

Claire Dowds, General Manager of Ormeau Baths

‘’This month First Fridays for Startups comes to Northern Ireland and we couldn’t be more excited. This important connection continues our efforts to collaborate with Dogpatch Labs to give founders the best environment and the best chance of succeeding north and south of the border. 

We strongly encourage founders from the North to take advantage of the world-class mentoring in the First Fridays Mentoring programme and participate in the whole event’. 

Supported by Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Hubspot and Logitech, First Fridays for Startups delivers a range of supports for founders, including panels and talks from some of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs. Central to the event is its mentoring program which sees entrepreneurs get one-on-one mentoring sessions with employees and leaders from some of the world’s top technology companies.

In another first, the event will expand to a second day to bring together founders, startup hubs, politicians, and investors to discuss the current environment for startups as well as opportunities for increased collaboration across the entire island of Ireland. Dogpatch Labs will host a workshop on Ecosystem Building for local ecosystem leaders, delivered by Dogpatch’s Director of Ecosystem Development, Jake Phillips.

Belfast native Ian Browne, MD of NDRC, the National Startup Accelerator programme led by Dogpatch Labs

‘Today from a Dogpatch perspective, we’re making a commitment to ensure there’s a broader effort to help and support founders in Northern Ireland. Entrepreneurship is a tough and challenging game; the right ecosystem supports can be the difference between success and failure. Geographically small ecosystems like Ireland should connect up the pieces to be part of a larger effort to help founders succeed.’

First Fridays Belfast Session

The Keynote Interview on the day will be with Dr Chris Armstrong, the co-founder and CEO of Overwatch Research, a Belfast-based software company that assists companies with pre-clinical medical research that was acquired by cloud software company Benchling this year.

A panel session,chaired by Belfast Ecosystem advocate Jon Bradford, one of Europe’s best known Ecosystem Builders and Managing Partner at Dynamo Ventures will explore the challenges and opportunities for Northern Ireland’s Ecosystem. This panel will include Head of Regional Engagement at Royal Academy of Engineering Gillian Gregg, co-founder and CEO of INCISIV and professor of experimental psychology Cathy Craig, Partner at Techstart Ventures Jamie Andrews, and Investment Specialist at Technation Gary Davidson.

Those interested in attending can sign up for each session at

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