Two fresh start-up funds revealed, with €1m up for grabs

23 Feb 2017

From left: Aisling Ahern, Enterprise Ireland; Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD; and Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland. Image: Iain White/Fennell Photography

Enterprise Ireland is pouring €1m into two start-up funds that will see 20 separate investments into business ideas, from both home and abroad.

International entrepreneurs and recent graduates in Ireland will each get the opportunity to secure €50,000 in funding through two new Competitive Start Funds (CSF) revealed today.

Accepting applications from 8 March, the two funds offer a total of €1m, with the aim of attracting 10 international and 10 local projects.

Competitive Start Fund

The funds are targeted, in a general sense, at internet, games, apps, mobile, SaaS, cloud, enterprise software, life sciences, food, cleantech and industrial products.

Online applications will ultimately need to be complemented by an online video pitch, and companies will be allowed to apply for both funds.

Enterprise Ireland claims to have supported 33 new start-ups through initiatives such as this in 2016, with entrepreneurs coming from Russia, Europe and the US.

The international entrepreneurship CSF is a competition specifically for start-ups that are currently based overseas but are willing to relocate to Ireland. Those that are successful in securing funding will be subsequently eligible for a Start-up Entrepreneur Visa.

The graduate entrepreneurship CSF is open to final-year students and graduates with a third-level qualification from within the last three years.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, said: “Last year, Enterprise Ireland supported 128 start-ups through Competitive Start Funds, which inject critical early-stage funding into businesses.

Young and old

“[This launch] will provide valuable financial and business support to overseas entrepreneurs and recent graduates who have global ambition for their businesses.”

Despite the push for younger entrepreneurs in this funding initiative, DCU’s Prof Brian MacCraith recently told why Ireland’s ageing population are also well equipped to start quality businesses.

“When he founded IBM, Charles Flint was 61 years of age, an age many consider close to retirement,” he said.

“This isn’t a new phenomenon. Founders of two of the world’s biggest multinationals, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, were over 50 years of age when they established their businesses.

“While there is a perception that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game, the reality is rather different.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic