Enterprise Ireland is responsible for supporting High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Companies. HPSUs are start-up businesses with the potential to develop an innovative product or service for sale on international markets and the potential to create 10 jobs and €1m in sales within 3 to 4 years of starting up.
To avail of HPSU supports, you must be a client company of Enterprise Ireland. HPSU clients of Enterprise Ireland should contact their Enterprise Ireland Adviser to discuss funding supports.
If you are not currently a client of Enterprise Ireland and want to learn more about qualifying as a HPSU, please go to our Start a Business in Ireland section.
Funding supports from Enterprise Ireland are closely aligned to a company’s stage of development. Broadly, high potential start-up companies are viewed as being at feasibility stage; investor ready stage or growth stage.
Companies who are at the feasibility stage can apply for the following Enterprise Ireland supports aimed at developing the business idea or proposal to the point where it is investor ready.
- HPSU Feasibility Grant
Used to support the development of an innovative/high potential start-up and the development of an Investor Ready Business Plan. Eligible costs include; Salaries and Overheads, Consultancy Fees, Foreign Travel and Subsistence, EI approved Business Accelerator Fees, Trade Fair costs and Prototype costs.
- Innovation Voucher
Innovation Vouchers, worth €5,000, are available to assist early stage companies to work with a registered college of knowledge provider in Ireland and Northern Ireland to explore a business opportunity or solve a technical problem. A CRO number is required.
- New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme
New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme run in partnership with the Institutes of Technology. The programme is designed to support entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas who are planning to establish and run their own company. A range of supports including mentoring, incubation space and a €15,000 scholarship payment are provided to help accelerate the development of the business and to equip the promoter(s) with the skills and contacts needed to successfully start and grow a company.
- Competitive Feasibility Fund
Open calls for applications for Competitive Feasibility funds are held by Enterprise Ireland throughout the year. The funding is designed to assist a new start-up company or individual entrepreneur to investigate the viability of a new significant growth orientated business or proposition are run throughout the year in specific regions i.e. outside of greater Dublin area. Cork Competitive Feasibility Fund closed on Friday 25th April 2014.
- Mentor Grant
Used to support the cost of a Mentor Assignment. Enterprise Ireland can match you with an experienced business mentor to assist you in your start-up phase or advise on specific areas of your plan.
Investor Ready Supports - Companies that have a well developed business plan and need to raise investment for their business can apply for the following supports.
- Competitive Start Fund (CSF)
A €50k equity investment designed to accelerate the development of high potential start-up companies by supporting them to achieve commercial and technical milestones such as evaluating international market opportunities or building a prototype. The fund is open for applications several times throughout the year with special calls made for specific sectors such as digital media and aviation. In addition specific calls to support the development of female led high potential start-ups are also run under the Female Entrepreneurship initiative.
- Innovative HPSU Fund (Equity)
The Innovative HPSU Fund allows Enterprise Ireland to offer equity investment to HPSU clients, on a co-funded basis to support the implementation of a company’s business plans. First time and follow-on equity investments in HPSUs are supported under this offer.
Post Investment Supports for companies in a growth phase. These supports are focused on exploring new international opportunities and continued development of the management team.
Note: Previous funding approved by Enterprise Ireland may impact on your eligibility for the following supports.Please consult with your Enterprise Ireland Adviser to discuss.
- Skills Voucher (Software Development)
Used to support the costs of undertaking Peer to Peer training (Software Development). The core objective is to encourage continuous capability building in core software development skills in HPSU and SME companies. Eligible expenditure is limited to the cost of internal trainer.
- Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGAP)
A 6 month intensive management development programme aimed exclusively at high potential internet/games companies. This is a competitive application process. Check for details of the programme and next application date.
- Mentor Grant
Used to support the cost of a Mentor Assignment. Enterprise Ireland can match you with an experienced business mentor to assist you in your strategy development or advise on specific areas of your plan.
- Business Links Grant
This grant is designed to support clients carrying out research to identify potential customers/partners using market research companies or other specialist service providers. This is confined to companies entering new markets.
- Innovation Voucher
Innovation Vouchers, worth €5,000, are available to assist early stage companies to work with a registered college of knowledge provider in Ireland and Northern Ireland to explore a business opportunity or solve a technical problem.
- Excel at Export Selling
Excel at Export Selling is a series of workshops aimed at rapidly embedding the proven tools of good international selling practice into the sales teams of Irish companies across all industry sectors.