Take your business to 'the next level' with Enterprise Ireland €2 million fund

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Enterprise Ireland €2 million Competitive Start Fund can accelerate the growth of your start-up

Enterprise Ireland €2 million Competitive Start Fund can accelerate the growth of your start-up

Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) will open to applications for two competitions, the All Sector Competitive Start Fund and Women Entrepreneurs’ Competitive Start Fund, this Tuesday, which will approve up to 40 investments.

Each of the two €1,000,000 funds being launched will provide up to €50,000 in equity funding to successful projects. Both funds will close to applications at 3pm on August 18. 

The All Sector Competitive Start Fund and Women Entrepreneurs’ Competitive Start Fund competitions are part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for increasing the number of diverse high potential start-up companies (HPSUs) that have the qualities to achieve key commercial and technical milestones, including evaluating overseas market opportunities, building prototypes, developing market entry plans and securing third party investment.

Individual entrepreneurs, early stage companies or prospective businesses must be active in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, including the following subsectors: agtech, cleantech, consumer products, e-health, enterprise software, fintech, food, games, industrial products, lifesciences, manufacturing, medical technologies and devices, mobile, renewables, SAAS/digital technologies, engineering/electronics, green technologies/climate change solutions, deeptech, internet of things (IOT), artificial reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), data intelligence, quantum computing.

In addition, applications are invited from eligible companies that offer services or solutions to address the challenges and opportunities presented by climate action with an emphasis on decarbonisation.

Under the Women Entrepreneurs call for applications, as well as securing up to €50,000 in funding, the successful applicants will be offered the opportunity to participate in Dublin BIC’s INNOVATE Accelerator programme. Delivered over a 12-week period, this programme is designed to support and mentor participants in the development of their business and develop a peer network of entrepreneurs to support progression to Seed Investor Readiness.

Commenting on the announcement, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said: “Getting your own business up and running can be testing even in a buoyant economy, and it may be all the more difficult for new entrepreneurs due to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“We need to continue to encourage new ideas and cultivate our start-up culture as we emerge from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. For successful applicants, the Competitive Start Fund may deliver the boost needed to scale up and bring their business to the next level.

"Increasing the number of female entrepreneurs is a priority for Enterprise Ireland. Greater diversity in the business community leads to better decision making and better results for businesspeople and their customers, helps to close the gender pay gap and reduce income inequality between men and women.”

The manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up Division, Jennifer Melia added: “In an increasingly difficult business environment, the provision of Enterprise Ireland’s funding and advisory supports for manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors has never been more important to enable companies to innovate and pivot, in order to survive and progress as we navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In addition, the drive to transition to a low carbon economy and tackling the impact of climate change presents market opportunities for innovative solutions, and applications are also welcome from eligible enterprises within this category.

“Increasing the number of women starting high growth enterprises is a key objective of Enterprise Ireland’s six-year Strategy for Women in Business. Both the Women Entrepreneurs’ Competitive Start Fund and the separate All Sectors’ Competitive Start Fund can help attract new entrepreneurs and achieve greater diversity in the business community. Ambitious entrepreneurs at the outset of their journey developing a product or service can really benefit from the fund and I urge them all to get their applications in today."

Full details on the competitions, including the application form and eligibility criteria, can be accessed on the Enterprise Ireland website.