Market Discovery Fund

Overview of the Market Discovery Fund

The aim of the Market Discovery Fund is to incentivise companies to undertake market research and develop viable and sustainable market entry strategies in new geographic markets. Sales and Marketing activities cannot be supported. The Market Discovery Fund provides support towards internal and external costs incurred when researching new markets for products and services. Support can be provided over an 18 month period from project start date to project end date.

Support for Market Discovery Fund applies when eligible companies are either looking at a new geographic market for an existing product/service or an existing geographic market for a new product/service.

A company can apply for support for Market Discovery Fund more than once provided each application considers a new market for an existing product or existing market for a new product.

The Market Discovery Fund is available across three levels:
Level 1: Grant up to and including €35K
Level 2: Grant over €35K up to and including €75K
Level 3: Grant over €75K up to and including €150K.

The Market Discovery Fund is open to applications from:

  • HPSUs (Level 1 and 2 only)
  • SMEs (Levels 1-3)
  • Large Companies (Levels 2 and 3)

Support may be approved against eligible expenditure across a range of categories including: Salaries, Overheads, Travel & Subsistence (Overseas), Consultancy, Business Accelerator, Trade Fairs, Reports, Collateral and Rent of Office Space associated with the Market Discovery project.


Am I eligible?

You are eligible to apply for a Market Discovery Fund if you are a client of Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta that meet the following criteria:

  1. Manufacturing or eligible internationally traded services companies.
  2. Have demonstrated the capacity to internationalise.
  3. HPSU’s engaged in eligible activities
    (please discuss with your Development Adviser for further detail on HPSU eligibility):

    HPSU's must meet the following criteria:
      • Have a minimum of 5 full-time employees (based in Ireland) at the time of application
      • Have been approved an EI equity investment
      • Have drawn down the equity investment at least 6 months prior to application for the Market Discovery Grant
  4. Small and Medium Established sized companies engaged in eligible activities.
  5. Large companies engaged in eligible activities can access Level 2 and 3 support only.
  6. With the exception of HPSUs, all companies must be trading for more than 5 years, minimum of 10 global employees of which a minimum of 5 employees must be based in Ireland, with sustainable annual revenues of at least €500K and are EBITDA positive in the last 9 months.
  7. Will not have drawn down finance in the form of equity from EI in the previous six months

Food and Drinks companies may be eligible for the Market Discovery Fund and should contact your assigned Enterprise Ireland Adviser to discuss.


What is the maximum grant?

The maximum funding is 50% of eligible expenditure up to a maximum grant of €150,000.


What activities are eligible?

The grant allows the client to:

  • Undertake primary and secondary market research;
  • Establish the market potential and barriers to entry;
  • Identify, profile and contact potential customers in the context of primary research to determine their needs, requirements and validate pain points that are assumed to be addressed by the company’s product/service;
  • Review of competitor landscape;
  • Assess route to market options;
  • Identify other relevant stakeholders in the market e.g. trade associations, industry groups/networks;
  • Comparative pricing, research and modelling;
  • Review of market regulations / legislation to inform potential product/service customisation;
  • Advice on the legal requirements of the market being researched;
  • Lead generation activities i.e. building a target list based on research findings;
  • New supplier research required to service the specific market being targeted;
  • Time spent on developing a market strategy and plan for the future;
  • Participation at recognised Trade Fairs outside of Ireland (this includes entry fees, rental of exhibition stand/space, transport costs and travel and subsistence relating to the Trade Fair for up to a maximum of 5 employees). Employee time spent preparing for and attending Trade Fairs is ineligible.
  • Please note that attendance at conferences, summits, forums, symposiums, stand-alone company events, demonstrations or meetings are not eligible for support.


Eligible Expenditure

The client may use any or all of the following resources to undertake the market research. Further details are available by downloading Market Discovery Fund Company Guidelines.


1. Wages and Salary Support

  • Wages and salary costs of personnel assigned to the project can be supported. 
  • The maximum eligible salary is €80,000 per annum per employee exclusive of employer’s PRSI and bonuses.

The company has the option to; 

  • Place an existing or new employee(s) in market for the purposes of undertaking the project assignment and/or
  • Appoint new employee(s) / re-assign an existing employee(s) who would be based in Ireland to undertake market research.


2. Overheads

Overheads are eligible up to a maximum of 30% of wages and salaries.


3. Foreign Travel

  • Only Travel and Subsistence costs for overseas trips related to the proposed project are allowed.
  • Foreign Travel and Subsistence costs must be for company employees.


4. Consultancy

Costs of hiring a consultant(s)/consultancy firm to input or undertake the proposed project are set at a Maximum of €900 per day.


4.1 Business Accelerator

  • A Business Accelerator is an Enterprise Ireland appointed in-market industry expert within a specific sector and market, with the experience, knowledge and contacts to support a company’s expansion and development into an export market.
  • Maximum Daily Rate of €1,500 per day for a maximum of 25 days, inclusive of consultant’s time and all associated travel, subsistence and out of pocket expenses.


5. Trade Fair Costs

  • Attendance and exhibition at virtual trade fairs are eligible for support.
  • Not available to Large Companies.
  • The maximum financial assistance available for Trade Fair participation is €75K (expenditure).


6. Rental of Temporary Office Space 

  • Up to a maximum of €25,000 expenditure for office rent in the new market for a maximum duration of 18 months. The office is to be used for the purposes of the new market assessment only and not for sales or distribution activities.


7. Market Research Materials / Collateral

  • Market Research Materials
    The cost of purchasing reports and databases relating to a new market/sector are eligible for support.
  • Collateral
    The development cost of market collateral for use in the new market is eligible. The cost can include designing collateral, localisation, market specific value proposition messaging and translation for market testing.


How do I apply?

All applications for funding should be discussed with your Enterprise Ireland Adviser prior to submission.

Apply via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.

Apply here

Prior to applying you must do the following:

Any expenditure incurred prior to receipt of the application by Enterprise Ireland will not be eligible for grant aid.


What are the call close dates?

You may apply all year.


Key contact/more information

Contact your Enterprise Ireland Adviser and download Market Discovery Fund Company Guidelines for more information.

If you are not a client, please contact your nearest Enterprise Ireland regional office.