Irish start-ups raised €24m from Enterprise Ireland in 2023

14 May 2024

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy. Image: Maxwell Photography

The state agency has revealed the latest figures ahead of a networking and pitching event later today, which around 600 delegates are expected to attend.

Enterprise Ireland has revealed that it invested €24m in 156 Irish start-ups last year.

Of these companies, 85 were classed as High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU) while 71 benefitted from the Pre-Seed Start Fund for budding businesses.

Ahead of a Start-Up Day event in Dublin today (14 May), Enterprise Ireland reported that more than half (55pc) of the start-ups it invested in last year were based outside Dublin and 45 of them were women-led companies.

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Dara Calleary, TD, said that 2023 was a “strong year” for Ireland’s start-up economy in which companies displayed “extraordinary resilience” and “business ambition”.

However, the latest figures represent a slight drop from 2022 when Enterprise Ireland invested €27m in 161 start-ups. In that year, more than a third of the start-ups invested in were led by women, higher than last year.

Calleary welcomed in particular the figure of 71 start-ups funded through the Pre-Seed Start Fund. “This is one of a series of specific targeted initiatives which my department through Enterprise Ireland is taking as part of its strategic ambition to encourage and support an increased number of new high growth start-up companies in Ireland,” Calleary said.

“Ireland’s open economy is built on resilient, internationally focused and productive Irish enterprises. This is vital to the future growth of the Irish economy, supporting livelihoods and contributing to prosperity throughout the country.”

Of the HPSUs, Enterprise Ireland said 12 emerged from academic research while 26 companies in total were spun out of Irish third-level institutions.

All the start-ups invested in will attend the event in Dublin Castle later today, getting a chance to meet with investors, start-up accelerators and other state agencies. A total of 600 delegates are expected to attend.

The event also includes a pitching competition in which the top 10 potential spin-outs born out of the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Funded Research in Irish third-level institutions will take to the stage to pitch their innovations.

The winning start-up will go on to represent Ireland at the Pegasus Start-up World Cup being held in San Francisco later this year, where $1m is up for grabs.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said that the “ambition and capability” of Ireland’s start-ups has “never been higher” than it is today.

“The evidence is clear in the calibre of talent and innovation demonstrated by the 85 high potential start-ups and 71 early-stage businesses from across the country, which we celebrate here at Start-Up Day 2024,” Clancy said.

“We will continue to help drive the success of the most forward-thinking Irish companies, enabling start-ups to thrive and influence the future of global business – cementing Ireland’s reputation as a prime hub for international trade.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic