Enterprise Ireland seeks experienced applicants for €500,000 funding contest

5 Oct 2017

The new fund can help mature business professionals see their ideas realised. Image: racorn/Shutterstock

If you’re a business professional with lots of experience and a start-up dream, this may pique your interest.

Today (5 October), Enterprise Ireland announced details of a new Competitive Start Fund competition targeting experienced business professionals, with applications open from Wednesday 11 October until 25 October.

Those with 25 years or more of relevant business experience either here or abroad – with at least 10 of those at a leadership level – are encouraged to throw their hats into the ring for this particular contest.

Up to 10 successful applicants will receive high-level business development support and an investment of up to €50,000 each. As well as securing much-coveted funding, the winners will also get the chance to take part in a business development programme delivered over three months by the DCU Ryan Academy and Ireland’s Smart Ageing Exchange (ISAX).

Helping mature entrepreneurs make it

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald, TD, said: “The Competitive Start Fund programme aims to support companies at the start of their journey and now, for the first time, the focus is on helping professionals with extensive business experience to build scalable businesses. According to the 2017 GEM Report, the rate of entrepreneurship among 55-64 year olds stands at 10pc, with the majority of entrepreneurs falling within the 25-44 age category.

“This new fund, targeted at experienced business professionals, will help to stimulate start-up activity within a specific group which holds significant potential that largely goes untapped by existing initiatives.”

Harnessing the value of business experience

The fund is open to companies active in areas such as internet business, cloud computing, food and industrial products, to name but a few. Manager of high potential start-ups at Enterprise Ireland, Joe Healy, explained how recent studies show that a lot of people nearing retirement age are still eager to work and explore new ideas. “These studies have found that approximately two-thirds of people believe that they should be able to continue working if they wish to do so,” he said.

“This Competitive Start Fund for Experienced Business Professionals is targeting a group that has accumulated significant business knowledge and leadership experience at a senior level, both indigenous and international.”

Eoghan Stack of the DCU Ryan Academy described the experience of this potential new cohort as “invaluable” and he hoped that “this new programme will enable [The Ryan Academy] to build on the success of previous programmes to enable early-stage companies fast-track their business development”.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects