Enterprise Ireland funding for start-ups at a record high

State agency backed 229 companies in 2016, up almost 5% on the previous year

Enterprise Ireland invested €32 million in 229 start-ups last year, with over a quarter of the firms it backed being female-led businesses, and more than half from outside of Dublin.

The agency’s support for start-ups, which was the highest on record and up almost 5 per cent versus 2015, was provided in the form of competitive start funds (CSFs) and high potential start-up (HSPU) funding.

According to new figures from Enterprise Ireland for 2016, it backed 101 high-potential start-ups, which are companies defined as having the potential to create at least 10 jobs and generate €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.

It also provided critical early-stage funding via its competitive start fund to 128 other firms.


Some 53 per cent of the start-ups it backed were from outside of the capital, and 28 per cent were led by women.

In addition, 33 new starts backed by the agency were ones established by overseas entrepreneurs who have relocated to Ireland.

The agency said that during 2016 it supported 15 spin-out companies from higher education institutes, and backed 17 companies in the fintech space.

The figures were announced to coincide with Enterprise Ireland’s Start-Up Showcase, which takes place at Dublin Castle.

"In addition to funding, Enterprise Ireland also provides advice, toolkits and peer-to-peer learning platforms to further equip start-up clients with global ambition, helping them to become investor-ready in a shorter timeframe," said Orla Battersby, manager of the agency's HPSU division.

“Our strategy for 2017-2020 is to support more start-ups using innovation as a key driver of competitive advantage to build scale and expand reach to global markets.”

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist