Divisional Manager, Technology and Services, Enterprise Ireland
Now, more than ever, our economy and our world need entrepreneurs and solutions to problems.
It goes without saying that global events have made the business environment extremely challenging over the past two years. Uncertainty remains a defining characteristic of the current trading environment.
Challenging times for start-ups
For start-ups, these conditions are even more challenging, as not all have the resources, finance or backing to survive and thrive against this background.
Each year dozens of new start-ups begin their journey, and that continued during the pandemic, despite the external environment.
At Enterprise Ireland, we are committed to supporting Irish business to lead in a changing world – and an integral part of our strategy is to assist ambitious start-ups with innovative solutions to tackle global problems. In 2021, we supported 125 new start-up enterprises.
The future has never been more exciting for Irish entrepreneurs to lead in a changing world.
Increased support available
Supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Enterprise Ireland has three main tracks to assist start-ups – the High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) programme, feasibility grant support and competitive start funding, the latter two targeting earlier stage projects.
Last year, we supported 82 export focused start-ups through our flagship HPSU programme, 24 of which were female-led and 11 from third-level research. The HPSU programme focuses on fast growing start-ups with the potential to employ 10 people and achieve €1 million in sales within three years.
The primary financial support under this programme is equity investment. We work with start-ups to develop their value proposition, validate their product, research export opportunities and develop the management team as they prepare for further investment.
In 2021, 43 companies were support through the Competitive Start Fund. This sees Enterprise Ireland invest up to €50,000 in early-stage start-ups that have the capacity and ambition to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies to reach key technical and commercial milestones with a product or service that has a commercial viability, export potential and employment capacity.
Providing networking opportunities
We also host a showcase event each year to profile the innovation and ambition of our start-up community and to provide networking opportunities with mentors, investors and support agencies from the public and private sectors.
This year, in April, we were delighted to host our first in person showcase event in two years in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
It was of tangible demonstration of the strong pipeline of promising innovative and export focused entrepreneurs based throughout the country, including first time and repeat entrepreneurs. The future has never been more exciting for Irish entrepreneurs to lead in a changing world.