About Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is a government organisation that helps Irish companies to start, grow, and scale their businesses globally. Generally, Enterprise Ireland focuses on supporting enterprises that have the potential to export and achieve global success, but they also offer different supports for starting a new business.
One of their main missions is to create and develop “High Potential Startups (HPSUs)” – which are companies that are likely to scale into international marketing within 3 years of starting up.
This guide will help you to discover how your business can qualify as a High Potential Startup and the types of support you may be entitled to.
Who does Enterprise Ireland help?
Generally, Enterprise Ireland focuses on manufacturing and internationally traded companies. If you have a service company that trades locally and doesn’t have export potential, you are unlikely to qualify for Enterprise Ireland support.
If this is the case, check out our blog on the Local Enterprise Office: What Do They Do? They are the first place to go for support when you need grants to start a business in Ireland.
Also, note that there are always qualifying conditions and various minimum/maximum spending conditions for any of the supports mentioned.
If at any stage you want more information about a business grant or support, contact Enterprise Ireland directly via their website or visit one of their offices.
What is a High Potential Startup (HPSU)?
Enterprise Ireland defines a HPSU as a business with the potential to employ at least 10 people and generate at least €1 million worth of revenue within 3 years of starting up.
To be considered as a HPSU by Enterprise Ireland your business should be:
- Less than 5 years old and headquartered and controlled in Ireland
- Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets
- Involved in manufacturing or internationally traded services
- Capable of producing at least 10 jobs in Ireland within 3 years of starting up
- Capable of achieving at least €1 million worth of sales within 3 years of starting up
Applying to become a High Potential Startup (HPSU) with Enterprise Ireland
If you are not currently a client of Enterprise Ireland and want to qualify as a High Potential Start-Up (HPSU), you need to complete an “Outline Business Proposition” document. This can be downloaded from the Enterprise Ireland website.
The document 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.
Enterprise Ireland aims to respond to application enquiries within 5 working days.
Becoming an Enterprise Ireland client
Not an eligible HPSU
Further development needed
Enterprise Ireland grants for businesses in Ireland
Investor ready stage
Enterprise Ireland Startup grants - feasibility stage
Pre-Seed Start Fund
The Pre-Seed Start Fund provides €50k or €100k (in two equal tranches) and successful applicants will be supported by an Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor and will receive 10 mentoring sessions with a mentor from the Enterprise Ireland panel of mentors.
HPSU Feasibility Grant
The HPSU Feasibility Grant covers costs such as salaries, overheads, consultancy fees, foreign travel, trade fair costs and prototype costs to help support the development of HPSUs and help them prepare an investor-ready business plan.
HPSU SPRINT Investor Ready Programme
The HPSU SPRINT Investor Ready Programme is an intensive 3-day programme designed to help HPSU clients looking to seek investment in the next 6 to 9 months. It focuses on getting clients ready to meet with and pitch to investors.
The innovation voucher is worth €5000 and allows early-stage companies to work with colleges in Ireland and Northern Ireland to explore a business opportunity or solve a technical problem.
Small business grants - ready for investment stage
Innovative HPSU Fund
The Innovative HPSU Fund allows Enterprise Ireland to give HPSU clients equity investment to support them in their business plans. This fund supports first time and follow-on equity investments.
Established SME funding - growth stage
Market Discovery Fund
The Market Discovery Fund helps to incentivise companies to research viable and sustainable market entry strategies in new geographic markets. The grant can be used towards internal and external costs incurred when researching new markets for products and services.
Evolve Strategic Planning Grant
The Evolve Strategic Planning Grant is designed to support Enterprise Ireland clients to respond to the business challenges and opportunities, which have arisen as a result of changes to the trading environment in the UK since January 1st, 2021. The grant offers up to €5,000 in support and can be used to help cover travel expenses associated with consultancy and international assignments to determine how the company might respond to the threats and opportunities that have arisen as a result of changes to the trading environment in the UK.
Strategic Marketing Review
The Strategic Marketing Review support is a programme for your senior management team. It helps companies to focus on a market-driven business strategy to help excel the rate of scaling and international growth.
Digital Marketing Capability
The Digital Marketing Capability support is a management development support that is facilitated by a digital marketing agency/consultant. The aim is to develop and enhance your company’s capability to use digital channels for business development.
Enterprise Ireland is a government organisation that focuses on supporting enterprises that have the potential to export and achieve global success. Generally, in order to qualify as an Enterprise Ireland client, companies need to be within the manufacturing sector and have the potential to become internationally traded companies.
If you are successful in becoming an EI client, there is a range of grants and supports available depending on the company’s stage of development. To learn more, check out the Enterprise Ireland website or visit one of their offices.
Larissa is a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA) and is the CEO of Accountant Online, which specialises in company formation, company secretarial, annual accounting services, bookkeeping, tax, and payroll services for micro and small companies in Ireland and the UK.