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Minister English announces opening of €2m Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Funds

Today, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, invited early-stage entrepreneurs to apply for two Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Funds (CSFs) which are now open for applications. The two funds for ‘All Sectors’ and ‘Women Entrepreneurs’ amount to a combined total of €2m.

Enterprise Ireland can approve a maximum of 40 investments of up to €50k in equity funding to successful projects. Ambitious entrepreneurs and start-ups with an eligible innovative product or service set for international markets are urged to apply.

Closing date for both CSF competitions is in 3 weeks’ time at 3pm on Tuesday, 28 September 2021.

The ‘All Sectors’ Competitive Start Fund and ‘Women Entrepreneurs’ Competitive Start Fund competitions are part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for increasing the number of diverse High Potential Start-Up companies (HPSUs) that have the potential and ambition to succeed internationally. The funds are designed to help start-ups reach key commercial and technical milestones.

Minister Damien English said:

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to continue to cultivate our country’s start-up culture and help our ambitious entrepreneurs to move their business ideas to the next level. Getting your own business up and running is challenging at the best of times, so I am encouraging eligible early-stage start-ups with global ambition to apply to the relevant Competitive Start Fund competition, each of which is worth up to €1m. I am particularly pleased to see Enterprise Ireland continue to prioritise increasing the number of women entrepreneurs as we know from years of international research that greater diversity delivers better business results.”

Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up Division, Jenny Melia added:

“Enterprise Ireland is looking forward to working with a new generation of export-led start-ups who need a funding boost for innovative entrepreneurial endeavours in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. With up to €50k in funding available successful applicants can also benefit from mentoring opportunities and advice from experts on our High Potential Start-Up team.

“Increasing the number of women starting high-growth enterprises is an important objective in Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Action Plan for Women in Business’ and we look forward to providing up to €1m in funding specifically to women entrepreneurs at the start of their journeys to help improve gender balance in the business community.

“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.

“Both Competitive Start Funds aim to attract new entrepreneurs and drive the creation of new businesses which will result in the creation of jobs and prosperity for the future.”

Previous winner of the Competitive Start Fund for Women Entrepreneurs, Katie Farrell, Co-founder and COO, SQUID said:

“It was brilliant to be backed by Enterprise Ireland at such an early stage of our start-up journey, particularly as a first-time founder. With the CSF funding, we were able to launch the SQUID app with our first paying customers and hire our first two full-time employees. We got access to great mentors, supports and programmes.

“By working towards the milestones we defined at the start of our CSF journey, we became a High Potential Start-Up and Enterprise Ireland co-funded our seed round of €450k last year. We are now working with over 600 businesses and have 60,000 app users across Ireland and the UK, in less than two years since launch.”

A number of CSF application-support workshops will be held online by the national Business Innovation Centres (BICs) over the coming weeks. Details of these workshops, as well as the Competitive Start Fund application forms and eligibility criteria for both the ‘All Sectors’ and ‘Women Entrepreneurs’ competitions, can be accessed on the Enterprise Ireland website at www.enterprise-ireland.com/csf.

Applicants can only apply for one competition and must meet the requirements for that specific competition.

Ends

Notes to editor:

The proposed application must be active in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, including the following subsectors:

AgriTech, AR/VR, Cleantech, Compliance Tech, Construction Tech, Consumer Products, Cyber Security, Edtech, Fintech, Food and Drink, Gaming and Digital Entertainment, HR Talent Tech, Industrial Products, IOT / Smart Cities, Life Sciences, Manufacturing Tech, Marinetech, Medtech, Prop tech, Retail Tech, Enterprise Technology, Travel tech, Green Technologies / *Climate Change Solutions

*solutions to address challenges and opportunities regarding Climate Action with an emphasis on decarbonisation (i.e. supporting transition to low carbon) including but not exclusive to Renewables, Carbon capture technology, Innovations in buildings and transport applications and Sustainable materials