Monday, May 20, 2024

Belfast companies join Silicon Valley Roundtable Ireland to build transatlantic tech bridge

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Ireland is carving out a niche for itself as the European landing zone for Silicon Valley’s AI innovators. the Irish Consul General in San Francisco has told a transatlantic tech conference at Stanford University. Belfast-based tech companies Unosquare and Options IT as well as Queen’s University Belfast were all represented at the California event. 

Opening the inaugural Irish Roundtable in the Valley, organised by West Belfast’s Aisling Events, Micheál Smith, a former IDA executive in Asia and a native of South Armagh, said Ireland, North and South, was the ideal partner for California’s cutting edge tech companies. 

“Microsoft, Meta, and Google partner with Irish institutions like the Insight Centre, and are largely drawn by our talented graduates,” he said.  

Addressing leaders of the irish diaspora in the Bay Area who have forged stellar careers in the tech sector, Consul General Smith praised the all-island focus of the Irish Echo-backed Roundtable.

STANFORD SUMMIT: Over 100 Irish tech leaders from the Bay Area attended the inaugural Roundtable in the Valley

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STANFORD SUMMIT: Over 100 Irish tech leaders from the Bay Area attended the inaugural Roundtable in the Valley

“The island of Ireland enjoys a thriving economy,” he said. “Cross-border trade has trebled since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and the all-island economy has become one of the most integrated economic zones worldwide, with supply and value chains criss-crossing the island. The success of the all-island economy is one of the many dividends of the Peace Process, which has been transformative for the island of Ireland.

“So it is wonderful that we are here – representatives from across Ireland – in Silicon Valley considering the future in a place where you witness that future being shaped everyday. Dialogue and events like this are crucial. It is about anticipating and shaping the future, not just for California or for Ireland, but for the global community. As we explore the vast potentials and address the challenges of AI, it must be with a spirit of collaboration and innovation shaped by our core values.”

IRISH ALLY: Betty Yee, former Controller of California, addressing the Stanford gathering

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IRISH ALLY: Betty Yee, former Controller of California, addressing the Stanford gathering

Among keynote speakers at the first-ever Roundtable were Assemblyman Matt Haney who is Chair of the Irish Caucus in the State Legislature, Laurence Moroney, Head of AI Advocacy for Google, 2026 California Gubernatorial candidate Betty Yee, Anna Patterson, founder of Google’s AI seed fund and Andrea Haughian, VP of Invest Northern Ireland in the Americas.

Among the Irish delegation taking. part in the conference were the CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Tomás Ó Síocháin, University of Galway AI prof Michael Madden and Tom Gray, Director of Innovation at Belfast digital behemoth Kainos. Sponsors were led by Invest Northern Ireland and included QUB and New Deal Advisers of San Francisco.


Do you have something to say on this issue? If so, submit a letter for publication to Conor McParland at c.mcparland@belfastmedia.com or write to Editor Anthony Neeson at Andersonstown News/North Belfast News, Teach Basil, 2 Hannahstown Hill, Belfast BT17 0LT

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