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Future of Education Technology Q2 2023

Ensuring a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurship and startups

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Minister Dara Calleary

Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment

Entrepreneurship is the creative capacity to identify an opportunity and pursue it to produce new value or economic success. It is key to the health and wellbeing of any thriving economy but particularly Ireland, where we have such a strong SME landscape.

Entrepreneurship is vital to the Irish economy. SMEs make up over 99% of the total number of Irish companies, employing hundreds of thousands of people and are instrumental in driving regional development and economic growth.

Giving entrepreneurs room to grow

The White Paper on Enterprise is the cornerstone of our enterprise policy providing a framework that is focused on accelerating startup growth and scaling — including access to public and private funding, investment in research and development, access to skills, an appropriate regulatory environment and a tax system that encourages investment in startups and scaling.

The 2021 Report of the Taskforce, an SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Plan is the strategic blueprint for SMEs and entrepreneurs to start up, scale up and access foreign markets, as well as help them navigate the transition to a low-carbon, digital economy.

SMEs make up over 99% of the total number of Irish companies,
employing hundreds of thousands of people

Providing the necessary support

We know innovative businesses require risk capital (ie. equity) to help fund their growth. The private equity investment market has grown significantly. However, there are sections of the market that are still in need of intervention, primarily seed/startup and scale-up. The State, through Enterprise Ireland and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, is a significant player at the early stage of the investment cycle through the Seed and Venture Capital Scheme and the Innovation Seed Fund.

My Department also plays an important role in mitigating global issues that impact indigenous enterprises by developing and implementing appropriate financing and contingency support.

Similarly, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office are important levers for growth and support in our enterprise ecosystem. Enterprise Ireland’s strategy sets out an ambition for Ireland to be a world-leading location to start and scale a business, with a target of a 20% increase in the number of high-potential startups by 2024.

Both the White Paper and the SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Plan recognise the expanding role of LEOs as a first stop-shop for guidance, financial assistance, mentoring and training for anyone intending to start or grow a business.

My Department, along with Enterprise Ireland, is currently exploring options for long-term strategic funding to accelerate scaling. We must ensure our enterprise ecosystem is dynamic and responsive to challenges, so businesses are supported to seize opportunities.

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