High Potential Start-ups (HPSUs)

Start up Class of 2016

Start-up Showcase is the largest High Potential Start-Up event in the year bringing together the new companies which Enterprise Ireland has invested in during the year. The event is by invitation only and participants include all of the High Potential Start-up (HPSU) and the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) companies and a representative from each of the New Frontiers Programmes that Enterprise Ireland had supported during the year. The Start-up Showcase is also a networking event where companies will be joined by potential investors, banks and other start up support organisations both private and public. More information can be found at HPSU Showcase


Do I qualify as a High Potential Start-Up?

A High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) is defined as a start-up venture that is:

  • Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets.
  • Involved in manufacturing or internationally traded services.
  • Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.
  • Led by an experienced management team.
  • Headquartered and controlled in Ireland.
  • Less than five years old from the date of your company’s registration.


Who to contact to discuss your High Potential business idea

Contact your nearest Enterprise Ireland office where you will find a dedicated start-up adviser with whom you can discuss your proposition, establish if your business is eligible for HPSU support and get advice on moving your business forward.

If you are a female entrepreneur or part of the founding team of a new HPSU, go to our Start-Ups Led by Ambitious Women section.

If you are currently based outside of Ireland and wish to explore the potential for establishing your start-up business in Ireland, go to our Overseas Entrepreneurs section.


What to expect when contacting the Start-up Team

In order to discuss your business proposition we need a written outline – either a business plan (download an example of a  Business Plan template), or if a plan has not yet been completed, an  Outline Business Proposition that gives an overview of your business, the background and experience of the main promoter(s), the steps that need to be taken to move the project forward and your funding requirements. This then needs to be emailed to HPSU Enquiries.

If you have a food start-up proposal, please download  Food Start-up Proposal template.


An initial discussion with Enterprise Ireland

Once your business plan/proposition has been reviewed a member of the start-up team will contact you.  This initial discussion with a member of Enterprise Ireland’s start-up team is informal. It is not an investor pitch and no decision or commitment on funding will be made at this stage. Essentially it allows you to discuss the origins of the business, your plans for the business and your development needs. It is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions that you may have about the supports available from Enterprise Ireland, and to answer any questions or provide clarification on any areas of the proposition for Enterprise Ireland in order to quickly establish if the business is eligible or ready for Enterprise Ireland assistance. It is essential that you have submitted an outline proposition or a draft business plan to Enterprise Ireland in advance.

Following this initial discussion, if appropriate, a further meeting to discuss your business proposal in greater detail will be scheduled.


The outcome may be one of the following:

  • If the proposal appears to have HPSU potential but you need to develop parts of your business plan eg. market research, value proposition, funding proposition - the start-up team will offer you advice and will refer you to a relevant Start-up Development Programme to help you further develop your proposition and get to an “investor ready” stage.
  • If the proposal has HPSU potential and is close to being “investor ready” an Enterprise Ireland Adviser, with a portfolio of start-up companies in your sector, will be assigned to work with you and discuss the relevant Funding and Supports for HPSU clients.
  • If the proposal is not eligible for Enterprise Ireland support the start-up team will explain the reasons for this and, if appropriate, suggest alternative supports from other Government agencies and organisations. 


If I do not qualify, where can I get support for my start-up?

If your business is not eligible for Enterprise Ireland HPSU support you may qualify for funding and supports from your Local Enterprise Office. With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer a first-stop shop for entrepreneurs and small businesses with 10 employees or less.  They can provide advice, mentoring and funding - including feasibility funding, to eligible start-ups. 

The Supporting SMEs Online Tool is a cross-governmental guide to help small businesses know which of the over 80 Government supports could possibly fit their business.