News & Events

New €500,000 Fund to encourage ambitious business women to start new businesses – Minister Bruton

Enterprise Ireland launches new Competitive Start Fund

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today (Wednesday) launched a new €500,000 Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund to support ambitious business women in starting new enterprises.

The initiative is part of an ongoing drive by Enterprise Ireland to boost the number of innovative, export-oriented businesses being set up and led by female entrepreneurs. The Fund is open to female-led start-ups in Manufacturing and Internationally Traded Services including Internet, Games, Apps, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Lifesciences, Food, Consumer Products, Medical Devices and e-Health.  Applications will be considered on a competitive basis and the financial support will be in the form of equity investment. 

The Fund, which provides for up to €50,000 in equity support for each successful applicant, opens for applications today, Wednesday, 11 November and closes at 3pm on Wednesday, 25 November 2015. 

Launching the Fund, Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said: “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is driving growth in female entrepreneurship. In Ireland we have hugely innovative and ambitious female entrepreneurs but we just don't have enough of them. Since taking office we have put in place a range of initiatives and the numbers have improved, but we must do more.  By specifically targeting a substantial increase in their numbers we can make a real difference to the overall level of entrepreneurial activity in Ireland. New businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs in the economy. This €500,000 Competitive Start Fund targeting female entrepreneurs will give a real boost to ensuring that more women get involved in starting international businesses, ultimately creating more jobs in Ireland”. 

A primary strategic objective of Enterprise Ireland is to leverage all assets available to support the creation and growth of Irish-owned enterprises. This means targeting all sources of founders, including young entrepreneurs, research-based start-ups and business women.  

In Ireland, like most developed economies, female founders have traditionally been under-represented in their participation in start-up businesses. To address this imbalance, Enterprise Ireland developed a pro-active campaign to support ambitious business women to start and grow Irish businesses of scale. 

This has yielded positive results.  Over the last three years, Enterprise Ireland funds aimed at increasing the number of high potential female-led business start-ups have attracted over 300 applications resulting in an additional 40 female-led businesses receiving funding to investigate the viability of new growth orientated businesses which can succeed in global markets. 

Commenting on the announcement, Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, said:Ensuring that innovative and ambitious business women realise their full potential is critical to Irish economic prosperity and a major priority for Enterprise Ireland. Over the last three years Enterprise Ireland has put in place a range of specific supports to increase the number of female-led start-ups. I am delighted to say that the level of female entrepreneurship has significantly improved over this period and Ireland is now on a par with other international economies. This Competitive Start Fund represents a strategic investment by Enterprise Ireland in female-led start-ups. The Fund will support women to expand their business horizons and set up viable companies that can win business in international markets and create jobs at home”. 

Full details of the Fund and the application form are available on the Enterprise Ireland web site: Closing date for applications is 3pm, Wednesday 25 November 2015.


Photos are available on request. 

For further information contact:

Sarita Johnston, Manager – Female Entrepreneurship +353 (0)87 2467214 

Paula Chase, Press Officer, Enterprise Ireland +353 1 7272842 or


The Competitive Start Fund for Female Entrepreneurs provides female-led companies with critical early stage funding to test the market for their products and services and progress their business plans for the global marketplace.  Up to 10 companies are expected to benefit under this round of funding, and up to €500,000 is available. 

The fund is aimed at businesses with the potential to become a High Growth Potential Start-up (HPSU).  These are companies that can develop scalable innovative technologies, products or services for sale in world markets.  We are seeking to support projects that are likely to achieve significant growth in three to four years (sales of €1m per annum and employment of 10 or more) or, where a company is required to have FDA or CE approval, to have €1m in sales within three years of approval to sell.