Entrepreneurs urged to fund other tech entrepreneurs

27 Nov 2008

The best-placed people to invest in start-ups aren’t venture capitalists, but are in fact other entrepreneurs, and the Irish Government has urged those who have made it to give the new guys a helping hand.

Entrepreneurs on the look-out for their next venture have been invited to preview investment opportunities emerging from third-level applied research projects by joining Enterprise Ireland’s Business Partners Programme.

Launching the programme at Enterprise Ireland’s Industrial Technologies Commercialisation Conference in Dublin, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Jimmy Devins TD, said the aim of the programme is to “create a panel of entrepreneurs who will get to pick out the best investment opportunities from third-level research and turn them into viable new companies.”

Minister Devins said that between five and10 new companies emerge from state-funded research each year, and Enterprise Ireland wants to increase this figure and speed up the creation of new high-potential companies.

The Business Partners Programme will give the entrepreneurs who sign up first choice from Enterprise Ireland’s portfolio of potential start-up companies.

In return, the entrepreneurs must use their business and investor contacts, plus their experience in the current marketplace, to convert a new technology into a solid business plan in just six months.

Gearóid Mooney, one of Enterprise Ireland’s Research Commercialisation directors, outlined Enterprise Ireland’s expectations from the Business Partners Programme.

He said: “Enterprise Ireland needs entrepreneurs with plenty of contacts, experience in setting up a company or two and who get a buzz from creating something from scratch.

“There are hundreds of potential companies in the third-level sector just bursting to get out, and we need people with business start-up experience to do this.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years