In 2003 Enterprise Ireland invested approximately €75m in 61 start-up businesses. Some 20pc of these companies came from the third level sector. It is predicted that the 61 businesses are capable of creating 1,900 jobs within three years.
A spokesman for Enterprise Ireland confirmed that the agency’s development strategy going forward will be determined by the Enterprise Strategy Group’s recommendations due in April.
At an Enterprise Ireland Business Start-up Showcase, the Minister of State for Trade and Commerce, Michael Ahern TD, said that Ireland had a genuine culture for entrepreneurialism and was well positioned to become an advanced development economy in this regard.
“Ireland needs entrepreneurs with drive and ambition to grow businesses capable of competing in world markets. The companies here are built on a solid foundation of innovation and intellectual capital and are further evidence of a fundamental change in industrial structure as Ireland perceptibly shifts from a developing to a developed economy,” Ahern said.
“New technologies and new applications of existing technology are presenting novel areas of opportunity in sectors where Ireland has a strong research base. The commercialisation of technology from this base is a key priority so that growth-oriented start-up companies will emerge in these cutting edge sectors. Some 20pc of the start-up companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in the last 12 months are a direct result of interaction and funding of projects within the third level sector,” Ahern said.
The new chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, Frank Ryan, said that the new sectors from which Irish entrepreneurialism will drive in the years ahead will be from areas beyond just ICT, but fields such as photonic, biotechnology, medical devices and functional foods.
Ryan said: “There is also a large group of new ICT companies in which the entrepreneurs leading them signal a new wave of indigenous Irish industry.
“In order to advance this momentum, it is vitally important that we commercialise the knowledge emanating from third level colleges and create in greater numbers, new, ambitious and globally competitive companies.”
Ryan concluded on the point that he would like to see an age where Irish multinationals are competing independently on the world stage.
By John Kennedy