Applications open for Competitive Start Fund

Applications open for Competitive Start Fund

Jenny Melia, Divisional Manager, High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, has invited entrepreneurs to apply for Enterprise Ireland’s €1m Competitive Start Fund (CSF) which is now open for applications from ambitious founders of early stage start-ups.

Early-stage companies from all sectors with an eligible innovative product or service set for global markets are encouraged to enter the competition. Successful projects can secure up to €50,000 in equity funding.

Applications are especially welcome from eligible companies that offer new services or solutions to address the challenges and opportunities relating to Climate Action with an emphasis on decarbonisation.

The fund will close to applications at 3pm on Tuesday, 2nd March 2021.

The CSF aims to increase the number of diverse High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) that have global potential and the ambition to succeed internationally. The fund is designed to help start-ups achieve key commercial and technical milestones which includes evaluating overseas market opportunities, building prototypes, developing market entry plans and securing third party investment.

Commenting on the announcement, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD said: “A funding boost at the very early stages of starting up a business is always really welcome. Up to €50,000 is available for successful projects under this Fund, giving those companies an important kick-start. These are the employers of the future. The Government is committed to nurturing entrepreneurs at every stage of their business development, whether that’s through investments, like this one, or networking and mentoring opportunities.” Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up Division, Jenny Melia added: “Enterprise Ireland’s ongoing work with start-ups and entrepreneurs is always exciting and offers a sneak preview of what’s possible for the future. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and post-Brexit, Irish entrepreneurs have continued to be inspired and continue to progress plans to take advantage of potential opportunities to develop an export-led business. Through funding and expert advice, the Competitive Start Fund is designed to help them turn those innovative ideas into profitable companies with global market potential.

“We’re looking for innovative solutions and development plans from entrepreneurs across multiple sectors in manufacturing and internationally traded services. We’re very interested in projects that will drive the digital and green economy where market opportunities continue to emerge and grow.

“If you are an ambitious entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team at the start of your journey developing an eligible product or service, the Competitive Start Fund can really help you to take your business to the next level and I would strongly encourage you to apply."

Previous CSF winner, Deirdre Lyons, is the Founder and CEO of Examfly which develops online learning tools for professional exams incorporating proven techniques from EdTech and Education Psychology. “Ideas on their own only have a limited value; you need the business apparatus to wrap around the idea, and that requires focus, time and help,” she said.

“Support through Enterprise Ireland’s CSF was a real turning point for the company as it allowed us to refine the product and gave us the time to research and develop the market. Within six to eight months we had a major client signed up and will be launching our platform with a second client this month.” A number of CSF application-support workshops will be held online by the National BICs over the coming weeks. Details of these workshops as well as the Competitive Start Fund application form and eligibility criteria, can be accessed on the Enterprise Ireland website

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