€750,000 start-up fund for women entrepreneurs to open once again

26 Apr 2017

Image: nd3000/Shutterstock

Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund for women entrepreneurs is to start taking applications once again, with €750,000 available to 15 founders.

The Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for Female Entrepreneurs is an initiative from Enterprise Ireland to accelerate the number of women-led start-up companies that have the potential to employ more than 10 people and achieve €1m in export sales within three years.

As part of this year’s programme revealed in January, 15 participating founders will be given €50,000 each with the aim of helping their companies reach key commercial and technical milestones, which will ensure delivery of their product or service to an international audience.

As well as securing the funding, 10 of the successful applicants will get the opportunity to participate in the Dublin Business Innovation Centre’s (BIC) Innovate accelerator programme.

Delivered over a 12-week period in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, the programme aims to increase the capabilities of the participants and get them investor-ready as quickly as possible.

Enterprise Ireland said that last year, 34pc of CSF recipients were women entrepreneurs, and that the number of women-led early-stage companies since it began in 2012 grew from 7pc of its High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) to 20pc in 2016.

“Working with ambitious start-ups led by women is a key focus for Enterprise Ireland, and the purpose of the CSF is to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capability to become high-potential start-up companies,” said Sarita Johnston, female entrepreneurship manager for Enterprise Ireland.

“It’s a unique opportunity for ambitious female founders to receive investment from Enterprise Ireland and to participate, in parallel, on the Innovate programme to get their businesses investor-ready.”

Adding to this, Conor Carmody, Dublin BIC Investor Ready programme manager, said: “Based on our experience in working hands-on with high-potential international scaling companies … Dublin BIC has deep expertise and a proven track record in supporting entrepreneurship.”

The Competitive Start Fund for Female Entrepreneurs will close for submissions at 3pm on Wednesday, 17 May.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic