The National Startup Awards powered by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland were officially launched today by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD. The competition recognises and rewards Irish startups for their success in business across 15 categories. The overall winner will walk away with a prize of €10,000 and the best early-stage startup will receive €5,000 to further grow and develop their businesses.

Speaking about the National Startup Awards 2018, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD said: “The start-up ecosystem is the backbone of the regional economy in this country and I am delighted to launch these awards that recognise the success of Ireland’s entrepreneurs. The Action Plan for Jobs is clear in its focus on regional development and growth and, in 2017, my Department, through Enterprise Ireland, supported 181 innovative start-ups from right across the country from a range of sectors. It is encouraging to see the diversity within the Irish start-up community, and I wish every entrant the best of luck.”

The competition, now in its seventh year, has become a pivotal date in the Irish startup calendar. The best and brightest startup companies are recognised at a national level for their dedication, resilience and perseverance and for contributing so much to the nation’s economy. The competition is open to companies and organisations across all sectors which have been operational for up to 5 years. There are three key stages to the competition with qualifying entries first shortlisted by region and then nationally.  To enter or nominate someone for a National Startup Award visit www.startupawards.ie and submit your application by Thursday 22 March.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said: “Providing support, encouragement and an environment that allows start-ups and entrepreneurs with a global ambition to prosper is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland is partnering with the National Startup Awards to give businesses with the potential to scale internationally the opportunity to be catapulted onto a national stage at a crucial time in their progression and development. Entrepreneurship is fundamental to the national and regional economy and job creation, and I encourage ambitious start-ups to submit their applications in the coming weeks.”

Bank of Ireland’s David Tighe, Head of Open Enterprise and Innovation commented: “We are delighted to be involved in powering the National Startup Awards in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. Bank of Ireland is strongly committed to developing a supportive environment in which entrepreneurs can survive, thrive and prosper.  As Ireland’s leading bank for business, we have worked with startups at all stages of growth and we continue to be inspired by the women and men who are building, creating and innovating for the future. We look forward to supporting this year’s entries from young companies that are making a difference to how we all live, work and play.”

Stephen Dillon, Founder, Startups.ie added; “The first few years in any business are by far the toughest and we believe that it is really important to give Startups as much support and encouragement as possible at this early stage. The National Startup Awards represents a fantastic opportunity for companies to showcase their businesses and gain valuable national & international exposure. Last year we received a high volume of entries and met some truly inspirational entrepreneurs, we very much look forward to meeting this year’s entrants. I would like to wish all the startups taking part the very best of luck”.

To enter or nominate someone for a National Startup Award visit www.startupawards.ie and submit your application by Thursday 22 March. Entry is free and is open to sole traders, partnerships and companies that have been set up in Ireland and that are in business for five years from the date of incorporation or less at the closing date, with up to 30 employees.  The awards judging committee will comprise representatives from Bank of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and leading Irish entrepreneurs. The regional finals will take place during April with the national Awards taking place in Dublin on Thursday, 17th May 2018.

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