Start-ups received €23m in support from Enterprise Ireland in 2018

More than 130 firms were backed by agency as number of start-up inquiries rose 30%

‘Even in today’s challenging business climate, with Brexit looming, the appetite and enthusiasm amongst entrepreneurs is strong,’ said Joe Healy, manager of EI’s HPSU division. Photograph: iStock

‘Even in today’s challenging business climate, with Brexit looming, the appetite and enthusiasm amongst entrepreneurs is strong,’ said Joe Healy, manager of EI’s HPSU division. Photograph: iStock

 

Enterprise Ireland (EI) invested €23 million in supporting young companies last year, with 132 start-ups benefiting from the agency’s help.

The firms received backing through the Competitive Start Funds (CSF) and High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) funding programmes by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

That included two calls for up to €1.5 million in funding, open to all sectors, €500,000 for recent graduates and €750,000 through a fintech and deep tech CSF.

Some 82 high-potential start-ups – businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and €1 million in sales within three to four years of establishing – were supported by EI last year, with 28 new female-led HPSUs and 15 new fintech high-potential companies incuded in the mix. Twenty-six additional HPSUs got follow-on investment funding as their businesses scaled.

Early stage funding

Fifty CSFs provided critical early stage funding into new businesses, and 15 spin-out companies from higher education institutions were supported by EI in 2018.

“Even in today’s challenging business climate, with Brexit looming, the appetite and enthusiasm amongst entrepreneurs is strong. In 2018 alone, Enterprise Ireland received over 1,300 start-up enquiries, representing a 30 per cent increase on the previous year,” said Joe Healy, manager of EI’s HPSU division.

Mr Healy said the agency was on track to meet its target of creating 60,000 new jobs by the end of 2020

“A huge amount of supports exist within the start-up eco-system and we continue to work with our partners, be it through New Frontiers, the third level sector, the accelerators, the local enterprise offices, the BICs and the investment community to help early stage companies develop and succeed.”

Mr Healy said the agency was on track to meet its target of creating 60,000 new jobs by the end of 2020, but cultivating an environment that would allow more entrepreneurs to develop their business was key.

Enterprise Ireland is running a showcase event for start-ups at Croke Park on Thursday, with more than 600 entrepreneurs and early stage businesses attending.