Enterprise Ireland opens call for Graduate Entrepreneurship Competitive Start Fund

28 Mar 2018

From left: Minister Heather Humphreys, TD; Aisling Ahern, Enterprise Ireland; Niall Harty, Harty Nutrition Ltd; Oisin Geoghegan, Fingal Local Enterprise Office; and Sarita Johnston, Enterprise Ireland. Image: Karl Hussey/Fennell Photography

Enterprise Ireland seeks recent graduates with great ideas.

Enterprise Ireland’s €500,000 Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for recent graduates will open for applications on Tuesday 10 April. Potential applicants have until 3pm on Tuesday 24 April to enter.

Enterprise Ireland’s CSF scheme aims to increase the number of high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) with potential to employ more than 10 people and achieve €1m in export sales within three years. Final-year students and third-level graduates from the last three years are invited to compete for 10 places and €50,000 each in equity funding.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “We have a pool of talented and ambitious entrepreneurs in this country who are still in university or recently graduated, and are making valuable contributions to the economy through their start-ups.”

Numerous business benefits

Humphreys described the support from Enterprise Ireland as “vital” and added that it is not just funding that will benefit participants. “The initiative provides valuable business support and networking opportunities to innovative entrepreneurs and companies at the start of their journey, and provides a platform from which they can progress their business.”

Sarita Johnson, department manager of HPSU Start at Enterprise Ireland, said that helping Irish entrepreneurs with global ambition to thrive internationally is a “key priority”.

She continued: “Entrepreneurship can be embarked upon at different stages of life and there are real opportunities right now in Ireland for graduates to travel the exciting journey of starting a high-potential business.

“Graduate entrepreneurs can sometimes be overlooked; however, we understand the value in their ideas and their businesses to the start-up ecosystem. This CSF call is a kick-start for innovative early-stage companies led by graduates to get off the ground while receiving a critical funding boost of up to €50,000.”

Written online applications and an online video pitch are required of applicant companies and further information can be found on the Enterprise Ireland website. There will also be a free CSF Application Support Day on 17 April in collaboration with Dublin BIC.

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