The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today launched a new €500,000 Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund to support start-up activity in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The Enterprise Ireland Fund, which provides €50,000 in equity funding for each successful applicant will open for submissions on Wednesday 21st September and will close at 3pm Wednesday 5th October 2016.

Now in its second year, the purpose of the Competitive Start Fund is to stimulate growth for start-up companies working in areas of agriculture and manufacturing that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies reach key commercial and technical milestones, that will ensure delivery of their product or service to an international audience.

The fund is open to applications from individuals, early stage companies or prospective businesses operating in the agri-business sector including but not limited to:

– Machine design and manufacturing

– Fabrication

– Engineering and technical activities

– Life science products

– Farm related software and related services

– Vet-pharma, animal health and chemical products

Start-up food companies with potential to export are also encouraged to apply.

Launching the Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. said: “The Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund aims to provide a launch platform for young companies in this sector to establish their business and launch new products and services in international market places. A priority for the government is to help Irish entrepreneurs grow their business and the €500,000 Fund, will go towards supporting the next generation of Irish agri-businesses and manufacturers to compete in export markets, creating valuable jobs throughout Ireland.”

Anne Lanigan, Manager, High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland said, “Agri engineering is worth €250 million in exports to the Irish economy and this fund is seeking to encourage and support the next generation of engineering and manufacturing companies coming through in the agriculture sector. The Competitive Start Fund is part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for increasing the number and quality of high potential start-up companies that have the potential to employ more than 10 and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years.

“We were encouraged to drive forward with this year’s competition, following the level of interest and the quality of applications we received last year. Applications to this year’s fund will be considered on a competitive basis and we encourage ambitious individuals and start-ups to apply”, she added.

Full details on the Competitive Start Fund, including the application form can be accessed on the Enterprise Ireland website www.enterprise-ireland.com/agricsf

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