Ensuring that Irish business women realise their full business potential is critical to Irish Economic prosperity and a major priority for Enterprise Ireland. Research internationally indicates that lack of role models, low self confidence, lack of technical expertise, lower levels of risk taking and limited access to appropriate networking opportunities continue to be the main challenges facing female entrepreneurs in 2014.
Addressing the under representation of female-led businesses that start a business and achieve considerable scale, requires a tailored, focussed approach in terms of support, personal development and networking opportunities. Enterprise Ireland Female Entrepreneurship Unit was established to support ambitious women grow scalable businesses and to address the key challenges impacting on the growth of female led business opportunities. The strategy focuses on a number of initiatives which include:
Enterprise Ireland co-funding a number of key specific tailored development programmes to support ambitious women optimise their business success. These include:
Sponsorship of women in business awards to identify and promote role models:
Specific financial funds, see below for current calls for applications:
Competitive Female Feasibility Fund
The total fund size is up to €250,000. Applications for funding are considered on a competitive basis.
Objective of the fund
The objective of the Competitive Feasibility Fund for Female Entrepreneurs is to assist a female-led new start-up company, or female entrepreneur, to investigate the viability of a new growth-orientated business proposition which has the potential to become a High Growth Potential Start-up [HPSU]. These are companies that; can develop scalable innovative technologies, products or services for sale on world markets. We are seeking to support projects that are likely to achieve significant growth within three years (sales of €1m per annum and employment of 10 or more) or, where a company is required to have FDA or CE approval, to have €1 million in sales within three years of approval to sell.
Applications must be submitted via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System. Applications in any other format will not be accepted. The fund is now open for applicants and will close at 3pm on 7th October 2014. For further information, download Reference Document.
Female Competitive Start Fund
The total fund size is up to €500,000. Applications for funding are considered on a competitive basis.
Objective of the fund
The objective of the Competitive Start Fund for Female Entrepreneurs is to accelerate the growth of Female-led start-up companies in Ireland that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies reach key commercial and technical milestones, for example:
- Evaluate overseas market opportunities and reach firm conclusions regarding the viability of the proposed business.
- Build a prototype.
- Secure a reference site.
- Develop a market entry plan for exploiting international opportunities.
- Secure partnership deal or strategic alliance.
- Identify suitable channels to international markets.
- Secure third party investment e.g. business angel, Venture Capital.
Female Competitive Start Fund will open for applications from 12th November, 2014, until 3pm on 26th November 2014.
For further information on our current Competitive Start Fund open calls, please visit Competitive Start Fund homepage.
As well as tailored start-up supports, Enterprise Ireland has a range of initiatives to support ambitious business women. Information concerning this can be found in our Supports for High Potential Start-ups’ section.
Enterprise Ireland is keen to hear stories of business success from ambitious women. If you have an interesting story of business success, we’d love to hear it!