Enterprise Ireland, the state agency responsible for the development and growth of Irish companies in global markets, invested €31 million in Irish start-ups in 2017 and supported a total of 181 highly promising start-up companies, 55% of which were based outside of Dublin.

Investment was provided through Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up (HSPU) and Competitive Start Fund (CSFs) programmes by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

At its annual Start-Up Showcase event in Croke Park today, attended by over 600 companies, investors and representatives of the start-up ecosystem, Enterprise Ireland also announced a new €500,000 Competitive Start Fund for regionally based start-ups.

Joe Healy, Manager, HPSU Division, Enterprise Ireland said: “Cultivating an environment that allows start-ups and entrepreneurs with global ambition to prosper is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland. Last year, we supported 181 high quality start-ups that we believe have the potential to scale and expand in international markets. Crucially, 55% of these companies are based in regions outside of Dublin, in line with our strategic objective of driving growth at a regional level. Over one third were female-led start-ups, continuing our emphasis on supporting start-ups in under-represented sectors.”

Start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2017 include:

  • 90 new High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU) – start-up businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and €1million in sales within three to four years of starting up
  • 91 new Competitive Start Funds (CSF), which inject critical early stage funding into new businesses
  • 67 investments were in female-led start-ups amounting to 35% of all start-up investments
  • Over half (55%) of start-ups supported during 2017 are based in regions outside Dublin
  • 15 spin-out companies from the third-level sector
  • 166 entrepreneurs participated in the nationwide New Frontiers programme
  • 18 investments in overseas entrepreneurs who have moved to Ireland to establish their businesses

Speaking at the Enterprise Ireland Start-up Showcase 2018, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “The High Potential Start-Up companies and entrepreneurs here today are playing an important role in the indigenous business community and the regional economy in this country. The Action Plan for Jobs is clear in its focus on regional development and growth, and I am delighted to see that more than half of the start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland last year and represented here today are based outside of Dublin. It is encouraging to witness the diversity of the Class of 2017, with regionally-based, female-led, and third-level spin off companies all present, and I wish each company and entrepreneur every success as they continue to work with Enterprise Ireland.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for regional based start-ups, announced at the event today, is the second CSF call of the year and will open for applications to all start-ups based outside of Dublin on Tuesday 27 February. The €500,000 fund will provide up to €50,000 in equity funding for up to 10 successful applicants. The fund closes to applications at 3pm on Tuesday, 13 March.

 Joe Healy, Enterprise Ireland, commented: “Our focus for 2018 is on the quality start-ups that we engage with, both in Ireland and internationally. Our strategic objective is to scale more of these start-ups more quickly. These start-ups must have potential to scale and have a plan to credibly expand in international markets. We are also focusing on spin-outs from research which have higher than average success rates.

“In 2018 we will be putting a spotlight on companies in the MarineTech and DeepTech sectors which we see as strategically important sectors, to encourage and support new start-ups in these areas. To maintain and build on the HPSU regional impact of 2017, our Competitive Start Fund for regionally based start-ups will open for applications on 27 February and I encourage any early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs based outside of Dublin to apply by 13 March.”

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