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New €500k Competitive Start Fund targeted at Experienced Business Professional

Published: 5th October 2017

A total of €500,000 in start-up funding will be available from Enterprise Ireland when a new Competitive Start Fund (CSF) competition targeted at Experienced Business Professionals opens for applications on Wednesday 11 October 2017.

This CSF is directed at mature and highly experienced business professionals with 25 years or more of relevant business experience in Ireland or abroad, of which at least 10 years should be at a senior or leadership level.

Up to 10 successful applicants will receive high-level business development support and an investment of up to €50,000 each. Enterprise Ireland’s CSF is designed to accelerate the growth of start-ups and enable companies to reach key commercial and technical milestones.

As well as securing up to €50k in funding, the successful applicants will have the opportunity to participate in a business development programme. Delivered over three months by DCU Ryan Academy and Ireland’s Smart Ageing Exchange (ISAX), the programme will increase the capabilities of the participants and move them to investor-ready within a short period.

An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD said: “My Department through Enterprise Ireland implements a number of initiatives which target and support various entrepreneurial cohorts, including females, graduates and overseas entrepreneurs. The Competitive Start Fund programme aims to support companies at the start of their journey and now, for the first time, the focus is on helping professionals with extensive business experience to build scalable businesses. According to the 2017 GEM Report, the rate of entrepreneurship among 55-64 year olds stands at 10%, with the majority of entrepreneurs falling within the 25-44 age category. This new fund, targeted at Experienced Business Professionals, will help to stimulate start-up activity within a specific group which holds significant potential that largely goes untapped by existing initiatives.”

The fund is open to companies active in manufacturing and internationally traded services including Internet, Games, Apps, Mobile, SaaS, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Lifesciences, Food, Cleantech and Industrial Products.

Joe Healy, Divisional Manager, High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland said: “Current EU studies suggest that many people who are nearing the traditional age of retirement don’t wish to retire and are interested in alternatives. Furthermore, these studies have found that approximately two thirds of people believe that they should be able to continue working if they wish to do so. This Competitive Start Fund for Experienced Business Professionals is targeting a group that has accumulated significant business knowledge and leadership experience at a senior level, both indigenous and international. It aims to provide the financial support required to get a start-up off the ground and this will be further enhanced with the addition of a tailored accelerator programme which will help bridge any existing skills gap in starting and growing a business”.

Eoghan Stack, Chief Executive, DCU Ryan Academy added: “DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs and Ireland's Smart Ageing Exchange (ISAX) are delighted to have been selected to work with Enterprise Ireland for the delivery of a start-up programme for Experienced Business Professionals and we welcome the recognition that this cohort of experienced professionals comes with a very cumulated industry expertise and life experience that is invaluable in creating ideal entrepreneurs. ISAX and DCU Ryan Academy have previously delivered successful business start-up programmes for mature entrepreneurs and this new programme will enable us to build on the success of previous programmes to enable early stage companies fast-track their business development”.

In addition to written online applications, companies will be asked to prepare an online video pitch. Applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria.

The CSF competition will close at 3pm on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

Full details are available at www.enterprise-ireland.com/csfexperiencedprofessionals

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