A new €500,000 Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund to encourage female entrepreneurs to start new businesses has been launched by Minister Bruton today.

The initiative is part of an ongoing drive by Enterprise Ireland to boost the number of innovative, export-oriented businesses being set up and led by female entrepreneurs.

The Fund is open to female-led start-ups in Manufacturing and Internationally Traded Services including Internet, Games, Apps, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Lifesciences, Food, Consumer Products, Medical Devices and e-Health.  Applications will be considered on a competitive basis and the financial support will be in the form of equity investment.

The Fund, which provides for up to €50,000 in equity support for each successful applicant, opens for applications today, Wednesday, 11 November and closes at 3pm on Wednesday, 25 November 2015.

In Ireland, like most developed economies, female founders have traditionally been under-represented in their participation in start-up businesses. To address this imbalance, Enterprise Ireland developed a pro-active campaign to support ambitious business women to start and grow Irish businesses of scale.

Over the last three years, Enterprise Ireland funds aimed at increasing the number of high potential female-led business start-ups have attracted over 300 applications resulting in an additional 40 female-led businesses receiving funding to investigate the viability of new growth orientated businesses which can succeed in global markets.

Full details of the Fund and the application form are available on the Enterprise Ireland web site: www.enterprise-ireland.com/ambitiouswomen.

Closing date for applications is 3pm, Wednesday 25 November 2015.

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