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€32 million invested in start-ups by Enterprise Ireland in 2016

229 start-ups supported in 2016 – highest level on record

Enterprise Ireland Start-up Showcase 2017 brings together 400 start-ups, investors and entrepreneurs

Enterprise Ireland, the state agency responsible for the development and growth of Irish companies in global markets, invested €32 million in Irish start-ups in 2016 and supported a total of 229 start-up companies, the highest number to date in a single year. Investment was provided in the form of Competitive Start Funds (CSFs) and High Potential Start-Up (HSPU) funding.

Over 400 entrepreneurs and representatives from early-stage businesses, along with the investment and financial community and other stakeholders, convened today at Dublin Castle for Enterprise Ireland’s Start-up Showcase 2017.

Ash Maurya, author of the international bestseller “Running Lean: How to Iterate from Plan A to a plan that works” and the creator of the one-page business modelling tool “Lean Canvas” is the featured key-note speaker at the event. The event provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups to network with potential investors and other stakeholders to showcase their business offering. 

Start-ups that Enterprise Ireland supported in 2016 include: 

  • 101 new High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU) - start-up businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and €1million in sales within three to four years of starting up
  • 128 new Competitive Start Funds (CSF), which injects critical early stage funding into new businesses
  • Over a quarter (28%) were female-led businesses, including 19 new HPSUs and 44 new CSF investment approvals – up from a total of 61 in 2015
  • Over half (53%) the start-ups supported during 2016, were in regions outside of Dublin
  • Investment in seven new Fintech HPSUs and a further 10 Fintech start-ups were supported under a dedicated CSF fund
  • 15 spin-out companies from higher education institutions supported in 2016
  • 33 new start-ups established by overseas entrepreneurs who have moved to Ireland to establish their businesses and include entrepreneurs from Russia, Europe and USA

Enterprise Ireland’s, Orla Battersby, Manager, HPSU Division said the development of companies of scale throughout the country is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland and start-up success is central to the achievement of this. “Last year Enterprise Ireland supported 229 start-ups – which represents an increase of almost 5% on 2015. In addition, we also continued to focus on female entrepreneurship, increasing the number of female-led investments to 63 - a combination of both CSF’s and HPSU’s. 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.”

Speaking at the Enterprise Ireland Start-up Showcase 2017, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “All the start-ups here today play a significant part in stimulating local economies and employment. I note the Class of 2016’s strong regional representation with 53% coming from outside Dublin - the high value employment and incomes that they generate, and the demand that they create for goods and services in their own local economies in turn sustain the viability of other businesses. The Action Plan for Jobs 2017 gives a clear mandate to Enterprise Ireland to drive the global ambition of start-ups, particularly in the context of Brexit, and to set their sights further afield and power the economy through strong positions in diverse export markets. I wish all the start-ups and entrepreneurs here today every success.”

In January, Enterprise Ireland published its Build Scale, Expand Reach 2017 - 2020 strategy and part of this four year plan seeks to support more start-ups of scale. Improving access to finance for start-ups is a key element of the strategy and Enterprise Ireland continues to work with seed and business angels to avail of new approaches to sourcing finance.

Orla Battersby, Enterprise Ireland said “In the past week we have seen the launch of four new funds, in which Enterprise Ireland is involved, including fund announcements by Seroba Lifesciences, Frontline Ventures, ACT Venture Capital and Suir Valley. These four new funds combined bring, on their first closings, €188 million of available new capital to the market, helping companies to reach out to global markets. The Irish start-up ecosystem will continue to strengthen as a result of these investments, building a platform for HPSUs that is strong, effective and sustainable.”

Orla Battersby, Enterprise Ireland concluded: “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. As part of our mandate to develop and maintain an appropriate funding environment for early stage companies, Enterprise Ireland continues to help our companies start, innovate and scale.”



For further information:

Conor O’Donovan, Head of Marketing & Communications, Enterprise Ireland

Tel: 087 967 1342 email:


Nicola Corboy, Press & Media Relations, Enterprise Ireland

Tel: 087 021 0114 email:  


Note: Photos will be syndicated by Fennell Photography or available on request


Regional Distribution HPSU & CSF Companies 2015






Northern & western regional assembly



Eastern & midland regional assembly



Southern regional assembly