Ireland has won a highly competitive global bidding process to host the Startup Nations Summit (SNS) from 18th to 20th November 2016 in Cork. The event is now in its fifth year, and was launched by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), an organisation established in 160 countries that offers year-round programs and initiatives with the aim of creating one large, global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The event has never before been held in Europe, marking a huge win for both Ireland and Europe as a whole. The event itself involves countries from all over the world, creating a network of startup community leaders, policymakers and advisors all committed to sharing their wealth of knowledge to help entrepreneurs both start and scale their enterprises.

The Startup Nations Summit, which has previously been held in prestigious business locations such as Kuala Lumpur and Toronto, will serve as a conclusion to Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 (GEW), a celebration of entrepreneurship and enterprise with over 30,000 events and 10 million participants worldwide.

Last year, GEW 2015 was recognised by U.S President Barack Obama in a video broadcast when he issued a challenge to the private sector, foundations, investors and universities to help entrepreneurs start and scale new enterprises to drive innovation and economic growth. Pulling in support from other big names such as Richard Branson, and well-known brands like Evernote, Barclays and Microsoft, the conclusion to GEW 2016 in Cork is sure to be an excellent, inspiring and high-impact event for the millions of participants involved.

It will have a wide-reaching impact in Ireland as well, and GEN president, Jonathan Ortmans, had this to say on the matter: “Bringing the […] startup community leaders to Ireland will further advance a fast-moving global dialogue on the most impactful policies and programs […] while highlighting the rapid expansion of Ireland’s startup ecosystem.”

Startup Ireland and Cork Innovates, the two entrepreneurial groups spear-heading Ireland’s bid to win the right to host the Startup Nations Summit, are credited with achieving this historic win for Ireland. Eoin Costello of Startup Ireland, said “We are delighted that the first time this event is held in Europe, it will be in Ireland. In order to create the most supportive environment possible for entrepreneurs, it will be useful to not only learn about new and innovative policy approaches from other startup nations, but to apply those lessons throughout Ireland.”

Dublin is fast becoming a hub for growing entrepreneurs, and awarding the Startup Nations Summit to Ireland is part of a conscious effort by GEN to scale its work to support entrepreneurship in the country. Siobhan Finn of Cork Innovates will act as the project director and lead-planner for the event. She said “Cork is a prime European location for Startup Nations Summit in 2016. The vision of the local authorities, business support agencies and education institutions in the region have been working together for the last number of years […] to drive and nurture entrepreneurship and innovation in the Cork region.”

While full details have yet to be released, the SNS will follow familiar formats to previous years with both invite-only and free to the public events, running over the course of two days and involving networking dinners, cocktail receptions, entrepreneurship festivals, and awards ceremonies, amongst other activities and events. They have also involved keynote speakers sharing their knowledge on entrepreneurship, as well as business competitions with prize money of up to $100,000 in previous events. SNS 2015 brought in delegates from over 56 different countries, and, as this has been slowly increasing year on year, SNS 2016 will be looking to build on this success, bringing in at least 400 delegates from all over the world.

With the goal of making a Ireland a global startup hub by 2020, hosting the SNS 2016 will complement Ireland’s Startup Gathering (SG) 2016 event immeasurably. While the SG 2015 was about bringing a fresh entrepreneurial agenda to towns and cities throughout Ireland, SG 2016, with the fact that hundreds of entrepreneurs will be arriving from around the world for SNS 2016, will have a focus on sharing knowledge and experiences to discuss how best to accelerate Ireland’s bold plan to become a startup hub by 2020.

While exact details of the event haven’t yet been confirmed, this year is set to be a big year for both Ireland’s and Europe’s entrepreneurial enterprise scene. Stay tuned for more details; we’ll release them as soon as they’re available.

Written by Anna Lemos