€250,000 start-up funding earmarked for design-led businesses

2 Jul 2015

The new Enterprise Ireland fund will provide up to €50,000 in equity support for design-led start-ups. Fashion designers image by Nenad Aksic/Shutterstock

In line with the Government’s Irish design agenda, start-ups meeting the criteria can apply for Enterprise Ireland’s latest fund.

Announced today (2 July), the new Competitive Start Fund – Design will provide up to €50,000 in equity support to start-ups in manufacturing or internationally-traded services that are design led or utilise design as a strategic competitive advantage.

A total of €250,000 start-up funding has been set aside in line with Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), a year-long programme intent on encouraging small and medium Irish companies to use design as a critical competitive advantage.

Applications for the Enterprise Ireland fund will open on 15 July 2015 for two weeks only.

This specific start-up funding has been created to support early-stage design businesses in building prototypes, evaluating overseas markets, developing market entry plans, and securing partnerships and investment.

Fresh talent for Government’s job goals

“Design is the missing link in Ireland’s innovation agenda,” said Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash, TD.

“I am satisfied that the fantastic response to ID2015 programmes and events to date will redress that deficit by promoting the work of talented Irish designers on the international stage, strengthening the capability of the Irish design sector and promoting collaboration between the Irish design sector and the wider business sector.”

Minister Nash’s announcement came as he officially opened Fresh Talent, a multi-discipline exhibition showcasing a new wave of designers – some of whom are at the early stages of building a business – at the Coach House in Dublin Castle.

‘Design is the missing link in
Ireland’s innovation agenda’

ID2015 has definitive economic goals laid out in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, such as the creation of 1,800 jobs over three years, and the generation of an additional €10m in design-based exports and 200 new design-led business start-ups.

What’s next for ID2015?

Minister Nash believes the initiative is well on the way to achieving these objectives, while Karen Hennessy, chief executive of ID2015, is thinking of long-term goals.

“Looking beyond our extensive programme of events and activities, we need to put the foundations in place for the ongoing development of the design sector in Ireland,” she said.

“With continued support and investment in design and working with our partners, particularly Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office network, ID2015 has the potential to act as a catalyst for significant change in Ireland’s competitiveness in the global marketplace and in creating employment opportunities over the years to come.”

To date, 40 companies have been supported through ID2015’s International Trade Fund in association with Enterprise Ireland, with a second round opening for export-ready design-led businesses in Q3.

Plans for later in the year also include the development of a business-to-business digital platform for design in Ireland, as well as start-up and accelerator programmes aimed at emerging designers.

Fashion designers image by Nenad Aksic via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.