Edge will chair the Irish chapter of Endeavor, a global not-for-profit organisation that supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs by connecting them with talent and with global peer and mentor networks as well as connecting business owners to funding sources.
The other members of Endeavor’s founding board include Anne Heraty the founder and CEO of CPL Recruitment; Paddy McKillen Snr; Denis O’Brien and Mark Roden of Ding as well as Elaine Coughlan of growth equity fund Atlantic Bridge. Running costs for the venture will be funded by the board members.
Edge said it was a natural fit for himself and for U2 to support entrepreneurs.
“I think every rock and roll band is entrepreneurial. It’s about ideas, it’s about self belief – and a touch of megalomania in there somewhere,” he said.
He said a decision had been made to operate on an all-island basis, and that Brexit would not change that.
“When we had the first-ever meetings about what Endeavor Ireland should be about the subject of whether it should be all Ireland or just the Republic came up. Almost immediate we just realised there’s absolutely no reason why it can’t be an all Ireland.”
“We are interested in supporting entrepreneurs north and south of the border but also the opportunities that Endeavour offers are very beneficial to people outside of Dublin, like in the regions.
“So we are urban and rural, north and south. The leverage of this network is that it’s an international network of mentors and advisors that works probably better if you are outside Dublin because it turbo charges your ability to scale up in a way that’s probably more difficult if you are outside Dublin.”
The cross-border initiative is supported by Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI and Edge said he’s confidence business owners will rise to whatever difficulties are thrown up, including by Brexit.
“I’m very optimistic, I’m not saying there won’t be challenges. Clearly there are and volatility is not good for anybody, but I do trust that the entrepreneurs of this country, the North also, will find a way around the challenges that come their way.”
Endeavor will work with founders and companies that have passed through the initial start-up phase and who demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion and scale. Between four and six entrepreneurs or businesses will be selected in Ireland each year to participate in the now world-renowned Endeavor programme, following a rigorous selection process which culminates in an international selection panel.