Access to finance and staff are biggest issues facing tech start-ups

Scale Ireland State of Start-ups Survey gauges sentiment of entrepreneurs in sector

Access to finance and the retention and recruitment of staff are the biggest challenges facing indigenous tech start-ups, according to the findings of a new survey.

Scale Ireland’s first State of Start-ups Survey was launched to gauge the sentiment of entrepreneurs in the sector on key issues including the economy, employment, taxation, state supports and incentives, skills, gender, and sustainability.

It also found that the vast majority of the 230 start-up founders and CEOs who responded had not applied for key State schemes including the Employment Incentive Investment Scheme, R&D Tax Credits or the KEEP share option scheme.

Most of the founders also indicated that their company did not have a sustainability or climate action plan.

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The survey will form the backdrop for Scale Ireland’s first Regional start-up summit, which will be launched on Friday by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, and will include some of the country’s leading start-ups including Fenergo and Teamwork.

Scale Ireland chief executive Martina Fitzgerald said: “This survey highlights the challenges facing indigenous tech start-ups. At a time when the sector is experiencing significant growth, it should not be held back.

“The ambition and momentum of start-ups must now be matched by increased state support. With this support, indigenous start-ups will create more employment and grow globally.”

Scale Ireland chairman Brian Caulfield added: “We now have further evidence of the challenges facing founders to retain staff.

“It is becoming more difficult, with four out of ten founders that contributed to our survey, losing staff over the last twelve months. This is a pressing issue that needs to be urgently addressed.

“It is also critical that we examine why many founders are not availing of state incentive schemes. We have to ensure they are user-friendly.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter