Minister Humphreys launches €1 million in start-up funding for overseas entrepreneurs and experienced business professionals

9th August 2018

CSF International and EBP

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD with Sarita Johnston, HPSU Start, Enterprise Ireland

Two Competitive Start Funds will open for applications on Tuesday, 21 August

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced two new Competitive Start Funds (CSFs) totalling up to €1 million to support international entrepreneurs and start-ups led by experienced business professionals. The funds, which will run simultaneously, will be administered by Enterprise Ireland.

Each fund will provide up to €50,000 in equity funding for up to 10 successful applicants and will open for submissions on Tuesday, 21st August and will close on Tuesday, 4th September.

The CSF for international entrepreneurs is a competition specifically for start-ups that are currently internationally-based but are willing to relocate to Ireland, while the CSF for experienced business professionals is directed at highly experienced business professionals with 25 years or more of relevant business experience in Ireland or abroad, of which at least 10 years should be at a senior or leadership level.

As well as securing up to €50k in funding, the successful applicants to the CSF for experienced business professionals will have the opportunity to participate in a business development programme delivered over three months by DCU Ryan Academy.

Commenting, Minister Heather Humphreys TD, said: “Adequate funding and support for all innovative start-ups with the potential to succeed is a key priority for this Government. My Department, through Enterprise Ireland, has provided financial and mentor support to female entrepreneurs, graduates and regionally-based start-ups as part of the Competitive Start Fund, in addition to early stage companies in niche sectors such as marine technology, agri-tech and deep tech.

“Ireland is a hub of start-up activity and by attracting talented international entrepreneurs to Ireland and encouraging the development of business ideas by mature, highly-skilled professionals, the CSF is crucial for the development of Ireland’s start-up ecosystem.”

Commenting on the announcement, Sarita Johnston, HPSU Start Manager, Enterprise Ireland said: “The funds for international entrepreneurs and experienced business professionals are central to the Competitive Start Fund, which is designed to inject crucial funding into early-stage start-ups with the potential to scale to international markets. The start-up ecosystem in Ireland is a talent-rich community, however we understand that there is a significant number of entrepreneurs that are keen to relocate to Ireland. The CSF for international entrepreneurs is specifically for these entrepreneurs and successful applicants from outside the EU will be eligible for a Start-up Entrepreneur Visa.

“Similarly, experienced business professionals represent a largely untapped segment of the entrepreneurial community in Ireland. Business people with 25 years or more relevant experience bring key skills and resources to start-ups that we don’t necessarily see among younger founders. This CSF call was created specifically to support these entrepreneurs who bring something different to the table.”

The CSF is part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for increasing the number and quality of High Potential Start-Up Companies (HPSUs) that have the potential to employ more than 10 persons and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years.

Full details on the Competitive Start Fund, including the application form, can be accessed on the Enterprise Ireland website:


For further information please contact:

Conor O'Donovan

Head of Communications

Enterprise Ireland

Conor O'Donovan

+353 1 7272912

Aoife Kelly

Press  & Media Relations

Enterprise Ireland

Aoife Kelly

+353 1 7272344