Enterprise Ireland opens two new €1m funds for entrepreneurs

Competitive start fund will target women entrepreneurs

Enterprise Ireland has opened two new €1 million funds, offering up to €50,000 to Irish entrepreneurs.

The competitive start funds – the All Sectors fund and one aimed at women entrepreneurs – will fund up to 40 investments, Applications are open until 3pm on August 18th.

The funds are aimed at individual entrepreneurs, early stage companies or prospective businesses active in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, such as agtech, cleantech, e-health, fintech, food, games, amedical technologies and internet of things, among others.


The move is intended to increase the number of diverse High Potential Start-Up companies (HPSUs), with increasing the number of women entrepreneurs part of the agency’s six-year Strategy for Women in Business.


Those applying to the Women Entrepreneurs fund will also be offered the opportunity to participate in Dublin BIC’s Innovate Accelerator programme. The 12-week programme is designed to support and mentor participants in the development of their business, supporting progression to Seed Investor Readiness.

"Getting your own business up and running can be testing even in a buoyant economy, and it may be all the more difficult for new entrepreneurs due to the challenges posed by Covid-19," said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar. "We need to continue to encourage new ideas and cultivate our start-up culture, as we emerge from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. For successful applicants, the Competitive Start Fund may deliver the boost needed to scale up and bring their business to the next level.


The manager of Enterprise Ireland's High Potential Start-Up Division, Jennifer Melia, said the provision of Enterprise Ireland's funding and advisory supports was important to enable companies to innovate and pivot, to survive and progress through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In addition, the drive to transition to a low carbon economy and tackling the impact of climate change presents market opportunities for innovative solutions, and applications are also welcome from eligible enterprises within this category,” she said. “Increasing the number of women starting high growth enterprises is a key objective of Enterprise Ireland’s six year Strategy for Women in Business.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist