73 New 'High Potential Start Up Companies' in 2009

START UP BUSINESS IN IRELAND IS SHOWING NO LET UP - ENTREPRENEURSHIP:  KEY ROLE IN ECONOMY

INNOVATIVE COMPANIES WILL BRING OVER 900 NEW JOBS AND SALES OF CLOSE TO €600M OVER NEXT 3 YEARS, WITH SUPPORT FROM ENTERPRISE IRELAND

Today (Tuesday 9 March 2010) the Minister for Trade and Commerce, Billy Kelleher TD, announced that the Government, through Enterprise Ireland, has supported the establishment of 73 new high potential start-up companies (HPSUs) in 2009.  These young companies are an integral part of the Government's blue print for the Smart Economy.  They will create over 900 new jobs over the next three years, bringing total employment in these businesses to almost 1500.  Total sales over the same period are expected to reach €600m, with exports accounting for over 80% of this figure.

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

"It is absolutely critical for the development of the Smart Economy that we do everything possible to drive the continued growth of entrepreneurial, innovation led companies that will underpin Ireland's reputation world wide as a centre of innovation excellence.  They are at the forefront of innovation, creating the products and services that add value for customers, opening new markets, increasing export sales across the globe, and securing economic growth and jobs here at home.

"This is a very strong performance by these new companies that will contribute to the Government's strategy for positioning Ireland centre stage as the international hub for innovation."

The Minister stressed the importance of supporting the continued successful commercialisation of third level research.  "The Government is focused on developing Ireland into a 'smart' or knowledge-based economy and over the last decade has continued to increase its investment in the generation and exploitation of intellectual property developed in Ireland's higher education institutes.  With the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative set up by Enterprise Ireland in 2007, we are supporting Technology Transfer Offices across the higher education institutes providing a world-class system for transferring valuable intellectual property from research into commercially viable propositions."

Welcoming the announcement of the new HPSU projects for 2009, Hugh Cooney, Chairman of Enterprise Ireland said:  "Despite the challenging international trading environment, these companies show that there are significant opportunities for new business start ups. This is particularly so in lifesciences, bio-tech and medical technology, food, telecommunications, internet services and other niche areas.   These are sectors in which Irish firms are creating a sustainable competitive advantage and building international market share."  Commenting on the outturn for 2009, Greg Treston, Head of High Potential Start Ups at Enterprise Ireland said:  "We are greatly encouraged by the performance of these 73 companies, and their potential for continued growth.  Their backgrounds may be different, but they all show that ability to see a business opportunity and to tap into market trends for new and innovative businesses.  Start-up business activity in Ireland is showing no let up."
ENDS


NOTE:  There will be a photo call on the day and our photographer (Fennell Photography) will syndicate photographs to the national and regional media.

For further information contact:
Eileen Banks, Press Officer, Enterprise Ireland
01 7272805/ 087 2445814