Women entrepreneurs called to apply for up to €50,000 in funding

13 Jun 2019

From left: Sheelagh Daly, Enterprise Ireland; Suzanne Moloney, Hidramed Solutions; Minister Heather Humphreys, TD; Leonora O’Brien, Pharmapod; and Sonia Neary, Wellola. Image: SON Photographic

Start-up funding and business development support are available to successful applicants to the Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund for women entrepreneurs.

Applications for Enterprise Ireland’s latest Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for women entrepreneurs open on Tuesday 25 June 2019.

The €750,000 fund will offer up to €50,000 in equity funding to a maximum of 15 successful early-stage start-up companies.

As well as the funding boost, successful applicants will be offered a place on the Innovate accelerator programme facilitated by Dublin BIC in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, Dublin. This business development programme aims to leave participants investor-ready within 12 weeks.

Three times more women supported

“In direct response to the low number of women-led start-ups receiving investments and support, Enterprise Ireland decided to increase supports dedicated to women entrepreneurs back in 2012,” said Enterprise Ireland entrepreneurship manager Sheelagh Daly of the fund’s origin.

“The results are encouraging as, by 2018, the number of women-led start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland had trebled and we want to grow these numbers to create an environment where businesswomen have the necessary supports to grow their businesses successfully.”

Daly said this CSF will give a wealth of underutilised talent the kick-start they need in business. The aim for Enterprise Ireland is to further grow the number of early-stage women-led companies designated as high-potential start-ups (HPSUs). These are defined as start-ups with the potential to employ more than 10 people and reach €1m in export sales within three years of operation.

The CSF is funded by the Government through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Minister Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “We know that targeted initiatives have a positive impact on increasing the number of entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups who want to start a business.”

Humphreys added that the fund will “help to address the distinctive challenges faced by women in realising their entrepreneurial potential”.

One of the hurdles for applicants to consider is that, statistically, women entrepreneurs will likely ask for less funding than their male counterparts, if they ask at all.

Full details on the Competitive Start Fund for women entrepreneurs, including the application form and eligibility criteria, can be found on the Enterprise Ireland website. Applications close at 3pm on Tuesday 16 July.

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.