Ireland’s Enterprising Minds

26th February 2020

Posted In: The Topic

Enterprise Ireland, invested €24 million in Irish start-ups in 2019 and supported a total of 127 start-up companies. Of these, 38 women-led start-up companies were approved investment.

Investment was provided through Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) and Competitive Start Fund (CSF) programmes.

600 delegates attended the Enterprise Ireland Start-Up Showcase in Croke Park yesterday (25th Feb) including start-up businesses and investors. Start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2019 include:

•91 High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) investments – start-up businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting

•36 Competitive Start Fund (CSF) investments, which inject critical early-stage funding into new businesses

•42% of the companies supported are located outside of Dublin

•38 women-led start-up companies were approved investment

•13 HPSUs were successfully commercialised in partnership with 3rd level research institutions

•16 additional HPSUs received follow-on investment funding as their businesses scaled.

Jennifer Melia, Manager, HPSU Division, Enterprise Ireland said: “A strong start-up economy is absolutely vital to the future of Ireland. “2019 was another successful year for Irish start-ups across a range of sectors including ICT, medtech, fintech, food and manufacturing. We also saw a strong performance by start-ups from outside of Dublin.

“Furthermore, 38 of the businesses supported were founded by women which supports Enterprise Ireland’s recently launched 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business, aiming to increase the participation of women in entrepreneurship and business leadership. The class of 2019 are great role models for new founders who have the determination and resilience required to get their enterprises up and running.”

The Formula for Start-Up Success

Enterprise Ireland has also launched a new campaign – ‘The Formula for Success’ – which aims to attract ambitious founders, the disruptors of the future and fast-growing export-led early stage companies, to apply for High Potential Start-Up supports. A HPSU is a fast growing, export focused company, often with a need for significant investment. The formula for success centres on matching a founder’s vision and ambition with Enterprise Ireland’s investment, expertise and network to help them succeed.

As part of the campaign Enterprise Ireland also published its six-year roadmap to grow and nurture the start-ups of the future. The plan outlines four key objectives with 14 key actions to support the development of the next generation of Ireland’s business leaders and make Ireland a great location to start and scale export-led start-ups that will be required to drive the future economy. They include:

1. Build a strong HPSU pipeline of ambitious and diverse company founders

2. Support company founders to design and build fast-scaling businesses in the sectors and markets of the future

3. Improve the environment for entrepreneurship

4. Work smarter together through collaboration as ‘one Ireland team’

In relation to this roadmap, Jennifer Melia said: “The launch of the roadmap is timely when we consider the vast and rapid technological advancements that are taking place. Today everything is faster, more efficient, and more easily accessible. Disruptive technologies will significantly change the way that we work and live and we need to embrace the changes coming our way.

“This roadmap aims to meet these challenges and ensure we assist entrepreneurs to create strong and sustainable exporting businesses. This approach brings together and strengthens the financial and development supports, the sectoral and market intelligence and the connections to help entrepreneurs succeed – a formula for success to fulfil their potential in developing their business every step of the scaling journey.”

Enterprise Ireland 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business

Last month Enterprise Ireland’s 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business was also published as part of Future Jobs Ireland, the whole-of-Government framework to prepare businesses and workers for the future. The purpose of the Plan is to increase levels of women-led businesses and women in strategic management positions to improve diversity.

The 2020 Action Plan, which is one of several steps being taken in the area under Future Jobs Ireland, outlines four objectives with 24 key actions to support the development of women leaders and managers. Actions include:

•Offer increased one-to-one engagement to support women-led companies to effectively support growth ambitions and expansion into new global markets

•Introduce a new grant for Enterprise Ireland supported companies to facilitate the recruitment of part time senior managers

•Develop, support and promote a national network of role models to interact with and inspire future entrepreneurs

•Issue a series of funding calls targeting women entrepreneurs and women researchers from third level institutions.

On publishing the Plan, Enterprise Ireland’s CEO, Julie Sinnamon said: “Ireland’s economic success will be driven by optimising all our skills and talent through increasing the participation of women in entrepreneurship and business leadership.”

The Action Plan highlights the case for focusing on women in business and it is a compelling one. After all, women make up more than 50% of the population. However, we remain under-represented across the spectrum of economic activity. In particular, there is a 12% gender gap in labour force participation rate; only 30% of senior managers are women; less than 20% of CEOs are women, falling to 9% in larger companies; Ireland has the highest gender gap in self-employment in the EU; less than 10% of VC funding is going to companies with female founders and only 3% of Angel investors are women.

Yet, according to the Plan, there are significant benefits to companies of gender diversity in senior positions to include increased profitability; better investment performance; ability to attract & retain talent; greater creativity, innovation and openness; enhanced company reputation and a better ability to gauge consumer interest and demand.

You can download Enterprise Ireland’s Action Plan for Women in Business here>>