Competitive Start Fund (CSF)

The purpose of the Competitive Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capacity to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies to reach key technical and commercial milestones. Applications are considered on a competitive basis. Funding is provided to companies who rank highest in a two-phase evaluation process. The maximum level of support per successful application is €50,000, for 10% in ordinary shares in the start-up company, to be released in 2 equal tranches of €25k (5% in ordinary shares for each tranche).

Applicants to the fund should ideally be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Be able to clearly demonstrate that product or service has reached Minimal Viable Product (MVP) stage, and that the product is, at a minimum, live in beta.
  • That the product or service has demonstrable customer validation ideally with (trial and/or paying) customers.
  • A fully articulated proposition addressing a clear gap in the market with market research conducted with customers/potential customers.
  • Evidence of innovation, export potential and employment capacity. Clear export market opportunity for the proposed product or service. Clear knowledge of the competitive landscape.
  • Clear execution plan outlined, identifying suitable channels to international markets.

Assessments are undertaken on the applications submitted, it is important to note that the greater the progress the applicant has undertaken towards generating sustainable revenues the stronger the application. Applications from projects that are at idea, concept or design stage may be considered to require further development before applying for the competitive start fund.

Download Start-up Showcase Directory

All applications to the Competitive Start Fund must be made via the Enterprise Ireland online application system during call open dates.

  • Two Competitive Start Fund competitions opened for applications on Tuesday 7th July 2020, and closed on Tuesday 18th August at 3pm.

Please note that applicants may only apply for 1 of the 2 x calls below:

  1. Women Entrepreneurship
  2. All Sectors

If you need any clarification on the eligibility requirements contact:

Calls Now Closed

Call No.DetailsCall OpenCall Close
CSF 64CSF Women Entrepreneurship - Call Closed7th July 202018th August 2020 at 3pm
CSF 65CSF All Sectors - Call Closed7th July 202018th August 2020 at 3pm


Application Support - Online Support Days

Application Support Days have been held online by Business Innovation Centres nationwide:


Application Support

Your Local Business Innovation Centre (BIC) in addition to application support days can offer assistance with preparing your CSF application. Contact your Local BIC for more information:


Key contact/more information

For more information on the Competitive Start Fund, please contact:

+353 1 727 2202 (9am - 5pm)

We are operating remotely, ideally send an email to or alternatively leave a message and we will return your call.

If you are not a client of Enterprise Ireland and want to learn more about qualifying and applying for Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up supports, go to our Start a Business Section