Dr Simon Jackson, Co-Founder, Modern Botany

The Competitive Start Fund provided critical funding with which Modern Botany progressed from the prototype stage, to bringing their first product to market, says, Dr Simon Jackson, Founder. Here, he outlines the benefits to CSF, and his advice for future applicants.

Modern Botany
Dr Simon Jackson and John Murray, Co-Founders, Modern Botany


Modern Botany, is a natural product cosmetic and health product company.  It is situated in Schull on the Irish Wild Atlantic Way, and is inspired by the principles of botanical science, utilising the best natural ingredients sourced from Ireland and all over the world. The company launched its first product, Modern Botany Oil, in November 2016.


Getting started

Challenges in the first year were both financial and logistical.  Being based in West Cork meant that the company needed to make sure that they could work logistic partners.

Financially, working closely with the Local Enterprise Office in Clonakility led to feasibility funding. Later, the Competitive Start Fund, propelled the company off the ground and further investment followed on the back of winning CSF.


Applying for CSF

The Competitive Start Fund was a real means to take Modern Botany Oil from prototype stage to market stage. The CSF funding allowed for the first batch of products, and an increase in distribution from 50 shops to over 180 shops within the first year.  It also allowed work to start on the second product; a natural deodorant which is due to launch this year.

Winning the CSFI propelled Modern Botany from a conceptual company to a real living and breathing company.  And allowed expansion into the markets earmarked for our first year of trading.


Advice for applying for CSF

In two words ‘Do It!’ Many entrepreneurs are not successful initially, and win the investment on the second or third attempt of applying.  In today’s climate being an entrepreneur is a very competitive market, so if you don’t first succeed, just try and try again; ultimately, Enterprise Ireland would like to support all entrepreneurs in Ireland, but there is only so much money to invest each year, so if you are not successful in the first attempt, keep trying, and your local LEO advisers are there to help with your application.

When completing your video pitch, try posting large post its around the office to help you focus on what you’re saying… (top tip!).



Don’t be nervous, everyone is there to help you, and if it’s not successful first time as mentioned, don’t give up!


New Markets

Modern Botany has just completed its first year of trading and tripled estimated sales, but the hard work is just about to start as work beings to expand to the German market in 2018.  There are also plans to launch two new products in 2018, so watch this space!

Interested in applying for the Competitive Start Fund – All Sectors? Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here