Enterprise Ireland Annual Report and Accounts 2009

Chief Executive Officer's Report (Continued)

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Developing new start-up companies

Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting entrepreneurs to ensure that emerging technologies and innovative business ideas with export potential become a commercial reality. These entrepreneurs start high potential companies that create jobs throughout Ireland, achieve international scale, and contribute to export-led growth and the revitalisation of the economy.

In 2009, Enterprise Ireland approved funding to support 188 high potential start-up companies. During the year, over €21 million was approved to 73 new high potential start-ups. In addition, 13 prospective high potential start-ups in the ICT and life sciences sectors emerged from State-funded third-level research. These companies are expected to create more than 900 new jobs and achieve total sales of over €600 million in the next three years.

This impressive number of new companies across a wide range of knowledge-intensive sectors is proof that entrepreneurs throughout the country have the ambition, ability and courage to take their ideas forward and create innovative, export-focused businesses despite the difficult economic conditions.

During the year, Enterprise Ireland worked closely with other relevant agencies (e.g. IDA Ireland, FÁS, City and County Enterprise Boards, Business Innovation Centres) to promote start-ups and management buy-outs. Seven potential start-ups have emerged as a result of this process. In addition, 21 City and Country Enterprise Board clients were identified as having export potential and transferred to Enterprise Ireland in 2009.

Fostering entrepreneurship

Fostering entrepreneurship and facilitating the key infrastructural needs of Irish enterprise is vital to ensuring the continued flow into the Irish economy of strong start-ups with export potential. The objective is to build a highly attractive incubation environment for the best entrepreneurs from Ireland and overseas.

During the year, 68 Enterprise Ireland entrepreneurship programmes took place, providing participants with the business skills, contacts, mentoring and support to potentially transform their innovative ideas or technologies into exporting businesses.

There are currently 21 Enterprise Ireland-supported campus incubation facilities and six specialist bio-incubation facilities in operation in Ireland. At the end of 2009, 264 companies were based in these centres, employing 1,014 people in a range of sectors including software, medical devices and digital media.

Community Enterprise Centres provide a range of facilities that enable entrepreneurs to establish new businesses and provide employment in local and rural communities. Enterprise Ireland worked in close co-operation with FÁS, the local authorities, the City and County Enterprise Boards and the City and County Development Boards to implement the Community Enterprise Scheme 2007-2009. There are currently 981 businesses located in these centres providing employment for 4,850 people.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) measures entrepreneurial activity in over 50 countries. The 2008 study found that the rate at which entrepreneurs were starting businesses in Ireland (4.3%) continues to be well above the EU average (2.7%) and OECD average (3.3%). This also compares favourably to the rate in the USA (5.8%). These figures refer to the percentage of the adult population starting up a new enterprise.

3V Logo

3V Transaction Services Ltd launched its pay-as-you-go VISA voucher product in the Benelux region. Following a launch in Canada, the move into the Benelux region, starting in Holland, is another key step in the development of 3VTS. Further expansion is in train.

"This expansion marks a significant milestone in the development of 3V Transaction Services Ltd. Enterprise Ireland has been a huge supporter of 3V from the beginning, offering invaluable assistance and financial support. Their proactive international network is well connected and is a resource that all Irish exporting companies should leverage when planning to enter foreign markets."

Kieron Guilfoyle,
Chief Executive Officer