Supports for High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) - Stage 2

View Stage One

 Developing the Proposition

View Stage Two

 Getting Investor Ready

View Stage Three

 Starting to Internationalise


Stage 2 Getting Investor Ready

Definition of this stage: Your business proposition is now close to being ready for investment.  It has been reviewed by the Enterprise Ireland start-up team and following an initial meeting you have been assigned a Development Adviser (DA).

Your DA and you will now explore the relevant supports available to assist you in securing the necessary investment to implement your start-up plans.  Your DA will:

  • discuss your business development needs
  • provide impartial, confidential advice on your business plans
  • provide information on the wide range of financial and business development supports available from Enterprise Ireland
  • guide you through the application process for relevant supports
  • make you aware of sectoral events and networks of relevance to your business

Please note that although you may have a business plan or may even be trading, you may still not be considered to be at an investor ready stage. For example if there are issues of concern or a lack of validated information about your technology, business model, team or customers you may not be considered investor ready.

Issues to Consider when Preparing an Investor Ready Business Plan

When preparing an Investor Ready Business Plan, there are some key issues that Enterprise Ireland will expect you to address, these include:

The market opportunity

  • who will buy your product/service - i.e. your customers?
  • What is your customer value proposition? (Demonstrate how your product/service addresses an identified “pain point” or new business opportunity for your customers.)
  • You must demonstrate that you have a deep and realistic understanding of the market you are addressing.  

Your product/service

  • What is your offering? (Describe it in simple, easy to comprehend terms.) 
  • What is compelling about it?

Your competitive advantage

  • You must have a deep knowledge of the competitive landscape and why your offering will win over competing products/services.

Business model

  • How will your revenue streams be generated. 
  • Outline your route to market.

Your team

  • Why your team is qualified to succeed. 
  • What are their backgrounds and their relevance to your plan? 
  • Describe the balance of skills.
  • Have they ever been previously engaged in a start-up?
  • How will the team be remunerated? 
  • Are any of the team shareholders?
  • What plans have been made to recruit any missing key skills?


  • We will look for Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow projections for the coming 24 months.
  • Be realistic and honest.
  • Your projections should clearly show how much money the company will need to achieve your targets.
  • Identify the likely sources of funding. What commitments have you received and under what terms?
  • Are the management team contributing to the funding round?
  • Future funding rounds should be clearly identified.
  • Look at the potential funding requirements in the context of best, worst and most likely scenarios.


  • Identify the key technical and commercial targets that you plan to achieve over the next 24 months.
  • Be realistic because, in future years, these targets will be the metrics used by Enterprise Ireland (and others) to judge how successful your company has been.

The Board

  • Enterprise Ireland will encourage you to appoint a no-nonsense, commercially-orientated Chairperson with strong business acumen who will help you and your team focus on achieving targets. 
  • Similarly, it is always helpful to appoint experienced non-executive Board members who have technical and/or commercial backgrounds to advise the company.


Enterprise Ireland supports at this Stage

One of the first things your Development Adviser will do is review an early draft of your investor ready business plan. He/she will offer advice and guidance in addressing the key issues outstanding and will recommend the relevant supports to get your business to an investor ready stage.

An Enterprise Ireland HPSU Feasibility Study may be recommended to complete any outstanding issues to get you investor ready. Mentor may also be assigned to your company to provide tailored advice, guidance and support to your development and to help accelerate your company’s growth and build management capability.  Mentors are senior executives, drawn from the private sector, with a proven track record in business. They act as a confidential sounding board, advising your company on key operational and strategic issues. Please click here to learn more about our Mentor Programme.

Enterprise Ireland also hold a number of Mentor Panel Forums throughout the country.  These forums bring together experts to whom client companies can present their business strategy or practice their sales pitch - all in a secure and confidential environment.  Mentor panel forums are also used to help companies get investor ready by providing a secure environment for companies to have a dry run at their investor pitch and receive honest feedback.

Again supports such as Innovation Vouchers, worth €5,000, are available to assist companies to complete a piece of work outstanding and bring a project to an investor ready stage.

Alternatively you may also be advised to apply for the Competitive Start Fund. This fund has been designed to accelerate the development of high potential start-up companies by supporting them to achieve commercial and technical milestones such as evaluating international market opportunities or building a prototype.  The fund is open for applications several times throughout the year with special calls made for specific sectors such as digital media and aviation.  In addition specific calls to support the development of female led high potential start-ups are also run under the Start-Ups Led by Ambitious Women initiative.

If a larger Enterprise Ireland investment is required, your business case will be presented to our Investment Committee for support under the Innovative High Potential Start-Up Fund.  Your Development Adviser, supported by an internally appointed Commercial Evaluator,Technical Assessor and Investment Adviser will conduct a comprehensive due diligence on your final submitted business plan. 

Enterprise Ireland co-invests in a company.  Any Enterprise Ireland investment needs to be co-funded by at least a similar amount of investment by the promoters and/or other investors.  To learn more about accessing sources of private investment, and how Enterprise Ireland can help you with this, go to our Raising Private Capital section.

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