Female Entrepreneurship

Startup Showcase 2017

Female Entrepreneurship clients at the Enterprise Ireland HPSU Showcase 2017

Ensuring that business women realise their full business potential is a major priority for Enterprise Ireland.

The Enterprise Ireland Female Entrepreneurship Unit was established in response to an underrepresentation of women entrepreneurs in Ireland. Our purpose is to support ambitious women entrepreneurs to launch and grow High Potential Start-Ups, and to address the key challenges facing women in start-ups.

What is a High Potential Start-Up?

The requirements for women-founded High Potential Start-Ups are the exact same as all other HPSUs.
Enterprise Ireland’s HPSU division supports client companies start, scale and grow in international markets. A High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) is defined as a start-up venture that is:

  • 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 of your company’s registration.

Supports for Female Entrepreneurs

Enterprise Ireland has developed a number of supports specifically for female entrepreneurs. These initiatives were developed in response to under-representation and research indicating the distinctive challenges faced by women in start-ups.

Capability Development Programmes

Enterprise Ireland co-funding a number of key specific tailored development programmes to support ambitious women optimise their business success. Please see programme websites to apply. These include:


Sponsorship of key awards and events to identify and promote success stories, including:


Female entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for the Competitive Start Fund. In addition, there is a Competitive Start Fund specifically for Female Entrepreneurs on an annual basis.

Please see Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for further information on application dates and eligibility.


Fuelling Ambition Roadshow

Enterprise Ireland and Network Ireland, in partnership with the Entrepreneurs Academy, organise an annual nationwide Fuelling Ambition Roadshow targeting existing and potential female entrepreneurs. For upcoming dates, go to Fuelling Ambition Roadshow.


International Women's Day 2018

International Womens Day Invite image

Download the International Women's Day brochure


Further information/Contact

The Early Stage Enquiries Team

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.


+353 1 727 2130