High Potential Start-ups (HPSUs) - Do I qualify?

A High Potential Start-up (HPSU) can be defined as a company that is internationally focused and has the potential to employ at least 10 persons within 3 years of starting and to generate revenues of at least €1million. 

Our HPSU Team supports the development of a business with global ambition and a scalable business model that is capable of successfully competing internationally, has developed a differentiated and innovative product/service preferably through R&D, technology development, IP development.

The criteria for new HPSU Start Clients can be summarised as follows:

  • 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 3 years of starting up
  • Led by an experienced management team
  • Headquartered and controlled in Ireland
  • Less than five years old from the date registration

Enterprise Ireland require that HPSU companies raise investment in less than 18 months.  During this time, we work with our clients to further develop/refine their value proposition, further validate their product, develop the management team and help them prepare for investment.  The primary financial support from Enterprise Ireland for a start-up is co-funded equity investment.


Enterprise Ireland support for High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs)

The type of supports available to start-up businesses from Enterprise Ireland depends on:

(a) the stage of development of the business and
(b) the type of activity that the business is engaged in.


Who to contact

Enterprise Ireland’s Start-Up Enquiries Team guides potential HPSUs towards supports most relevant to them. You’ll find us professional, proactive, and knowledgeable when it comes to advising early stage companies. It is our business to understand your business.

Our dedicated team are here to take any questions you may have and best advise you on the client journey towards becoming a HPSU. We will ensure that you are clear on what it takes to become an Enterprise Ireland client, and the best next steps for your business.

Contact our Start-Up Enquiries Team to find out more.


Discuss Your Business Plan         

If you meet the HPSU criteria and would like us to further asses your business proposition, you can complete and return an Outline Business Proposition (.docx) which 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. Please email your business proposition document to HPSUenquiries@enterprise-ireland.com

If you have a Food Start-up proposal, please complete and return your business proposition document to FoodHPSUenquiries@enterprise-ireland.com

You can also contact our Start-Up Enquiries Line at +353 1 727 2130 - open weekdays from 9am to 5pm.


What to Expect

  1. We receive your enquiry
    Our business advisors will evaluate your outline business proposition. We are looking for eligible High Potential Start-Ups with international growth potential. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 5 working days.

  1. The outcome may be one of the following:
    1. HPSU Ready: If the proposal is deemed to be an eligible HPSU and ready for support, an Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser will be assigned to work with you and discuss the relevant Funding and Supports for HPSU clients.

    2. Further development needed: If your business is at an early stage but has HPSU potential, the Start-Up Enquiries Team will provide detailed feedback and recommend a relevant Start-up Development Programme to help you further develop your business and get to a “HPSU-ready” stage.

    3. Not an eligible HPSU: The types of companies that Enterprise Ireland works with are determined within a national/European legal framework and is also guided by Enterprise Ireland policy. If your business is not eligible for Enterprise Ireland support, our Start-Up Enquiries Team will explain the reasons for this and suggest alternative supports from other organisations.


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

If your business is not eligible, or too early, for Enterprise Ireland HPSU support you may qualify for funding and supports from your Local Enterprise Office. The Local Enterprise Offices are our partners in enterprise development and offer a first-stop shop for entrepreneurs and small businesses with 10 employees or less prior to applying for HPSU support.  They can provide advice, mentoring and funding - including feasibility funding, to eligible start-ups. Once some level of validation has been achieved by the company and the business is ready for HPSU support, then the LEO may recommend that the business progresses to Enterprise Ireland. 

For further information about supports from the Local Enterprise Offices, please visit your Local Enterprise Office.

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.