High-potential start-ups to benefit from Enterprise Ireland’s Microsoft partnership

16 Oct 2020

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Start-ups with global ambition will be given support to scale internationally with a suite of tools and sales avenues from Microsoft for Startups.

Enterprise Ireland has teamed up with Microsoft for Startups to grant high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) access to a range of supports.

The Microsoft for Startups programme provides up to $120,000 of free Azure cloud tech for two years, along with additional support and advice aimed at helping start-ups to scale internationally.

High-potential start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland will be able to avail of a package from Microsoft for Startups that also includes access to GitHub Enterprise and business tools such as Office 365, Dynamics 365, Visual Studio and Power Platform (a collective term for Microsoft’s Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents products).

A dedicated start-up advocate will work with HPSUs throughout the programme and agents from Microsoft will work to sell the start-ups’ products and services to clients.

Both Enterprise Ireland and Microsoft have expressed their commitment to support HPSU founders from a diverse range of backgrounds who are traditionally underrepresented with this programme.

Some HPSUs may also benefit from the Global Social Entrepreneurship Programme, supporting social impact start-ups to bring their solutions to market. This programme also offers a range of supports such as technology, executive sponsorship and grants.

‘We are determined to bring together the various strands of the digital ecosystem so that HPSUs can grow their business and scale internationally’

Enterprise Ireland identifies high-potential start-ups as those companies that are internationally focused and have the potential to generate revenues of at least €1m and employ at least 10 people within three years of starting.

ApisProtect, an Irish company with deep tech solutions to save declining bee populations, is one such start-up that has already benefitted from the Microsoft programme.

“Working with Microsoft for Startups over the past few months has enabled us to scale our infrastructure to support our global launch in September,” said ApisProtect CEO Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy.

Donegal start-up Cerebreon, another HPSU, uses machine intelligence and algorithms to spot insolvency failures in advance and take corrective action.

The company’s CEO, Gillian Doyle, said: “At Cerebreon, we handle data for the most vulnerable consumers over international jurisdictions. This demands the highest standards for technology and security. Microsoft for Startups has enabled us to develop our platform to satisfy substantial technical due diligence by clients, instantaneously scale and ensure rapid deployment and integration.”

Globally, graduated start-ups from the Microsoft for Start-ups Programme have driven more than $1bn in sales pipelines, according to Enterprise Ireland.

“We are very excited that our partnership with Microsoft will see more Irish entrepreneurs and start-ups access this unique offer,” said Jenny Melia, divisional manager for HPSUs at Enterprise Ireland.

“Last year, Enterprise Ireland supported 127 start-up companies, investing €24m. However, our start-up strategy involves much more than funding. We are determined to bring together the various strands of the digital ecosystem so that HPSUs can grow their business and scale internationally. This partnership with Microsoft achieves just that.”

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic