Difficult Times Do Not Deter Irish Entrepreneurs - 71 New ‘High Potential Start Up Companies’ Pursue Growth Opportunities Across Global Markets

Over 950 New Jobs And Sales Of €615m Over Next 3 Years, With Support From Enterprise Ireland

Today (Monday 9 March 2009) the Minister for Trade and Commerce, John McGuinness TD, announced that the Government, through Enterprise Ireland, has supported the establishment of 71 new high potential start-up companies (HPSUs) in 2008.  In an environment where business is facing very considerable challenges, these young companies are successfully setting up innovative, export-oriented businesses that will create close to 1000 new jobs over the next three years, bringing their total employment to over 1370.  Total sales over the same period are expected to reach €615m, with exports accounting for almost 75% of this figure.

Making the announcement at Enterprise Ireland's annual High Potential Start-up Showcase event, Minister McGuinness said:

"This is a very strong performance and demonstrates once again that entrepreneurs across the country are resilient, innovative and keen to do business.  They are ready and prepared to take the risk creating high value projects and jobs with significant export potential.  Over the past four years, the Government through Enterprise Ireland, has supported almost 300 new high potential start up companies and across all sectors, these companies show that they can pursue growth opportunities from anywhere in the world, and compete and win in global markets".

"These new companies represent a significant investment", the Minister added.  "The Government through Enterprise Ireland is investing €21.5m in developing the businesses, which in turn will leverage a total investment of over €169m.  The investment is towards expenditures such as R&D, production and operations, key skilled employees and management development, all part of the essential mix to drive sustained growth and development in competitive international markets", he said.

Welcoming the announcement of the new HPSU projects for 2008, Hugh Cooney, Chairman of Enterprise Ireland said: 

"Given the impact of the current market conditions on Ireland, 'growing our own' enterprises has never been more important. These new companies play a really significant part in stimulating local economies and employment, fostering the climate of innovation in Ireland and translating Irish entrepreneurial ambition and potential into commercial reality. The regional spread shows that almost 60%, or 42 of the total 71 companies, are located outside of Dublin".

"These are an example of the entrepreneurs and companies that Enterprise Ireland is keen to support - businesses with a solid focus on knowledge, innovation and research and development and the capability to establish strong positions in international markets, sustain international competitiveness and achieve export growth", he added. 

Commenting on the outturn for 2008, Tom Hayes, Head of High Potential Start Ups at Enterprise Ireland said:

"We are greatly encouraged by the performance of these 71 companies, and their potential for continued growth.  The international trading environment for all companies is very challenging, but even in difficult times there are significant opportunities for new export-oriented businesses.  Ireland's HPSUs are operating in a broad spectrum of knowledge-intensive sectors and are indicative of the areas of opportunity - lifesciences, bio-tech and medical technology, food, telecommunications, and niche areas including compliance and risk management and areas that contribute to productivity improvement. These are sectors in which Irish firms can create a sustainable competitive advantage with significant market knowledge and by continually anticipating and satisfying complex customer needs".


For further information contact:

Eileen Banks

Press Officer,

Enterprise Ireland
 01 7272805
087 2445814