One of the world's leading venture capital policy advisers says he is sympathetic to the practicality of having an all-Ireland economic outlook
Size really does matter when it comes to getting venture capital backing, a major conference in Belfast will be told this week.
Professor Gordon Murray, the keynote speaker at the all-island Private Equity Conference, will urge entrepreneurs to think on an all-Ireland basis.
One of the world's leading venture capital policy advisers to government, Professor Murray says he is sympathetic to the practicality of having an all-island economic outlook.
"We have to be realistic in our expectations of what private equity investors are looking for, and they are most effective if they are dealing with large scale numbers," he said before Thursday's conference in the Waterfront Hall.
"The more networking and co-operation between early stage companies, venture capitalists and policy makers the better the scale you can offer over the whole island."
He said most people look to the US when they think of a vibrant venture capital culture, but the island of Ireland should be benchmarking against countries like Finland.
"As a similar-sized economy they rigorously review what has been achieved in other countries and, as a result, are one of the most informed in setting realistic targets.
"Ten small non-optimal funds are not as good a prospect as one good flourishing fund. The fact is that in a recent survey of over 600 hi-tech start-ups it was just 16 months before a competitor came along with a similar or even better product."
Professor Murray urged more training for entrepreneurs.
"Many are out there seeking funding and they are not ready to pitch properly for funding. We have to train them to do it better and in that respect the policy makers, the academics and the private equity funds need to be talking to each other."
British see benefit of all-Ireland economy
An 'all-Ireland economy'
Top economist backs all-Ireland economy
It's the economy, stupid