€1m Competitive Start Fund includes focus on climate change

Entrepreneurs are being encouraged to apply for Enterprise Ireland’s €1m Competitive Start Fund, with an emphasis this year on climate change.

Under the new 2020 Competitive Start Fund (CSF), which is open for applications until 2 March, early stage companies from all sectors with innovative products or services could secure up to €50,000 in equity funding.

The Irish state agency said that applications are especially welcome from eligible companies that offer new services or solutions to address the challenges and opportunities relating to climate action with an emphasis on decarbonisation.

“Up to €50,000 is available for successful projects under this fund, giving those companies an important kick-start. These are the employers of the future”

“We’re looking for innovative solutions and development plans from entrepreneurs across multiple sectors in manufacturing and internationally traded services. We’re very interested in projects that will drive the digital and green economy where market opportunities continue to emerge and grow,” explained Jenny Melia, manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up division.

“If you are an ambitious entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team at the start of your journey developing an eligible product or service, the Competitive Start Fund can really help you to take your business to the next level and I would strongly encourage you to apply.”

Diversity of innovation

Brown-haired woman in patterned dress.

Deirdre Lyons, CEO of Examplify

“Ideas on their own only have a limited value; you need the business apparatus to wrap around the idea, and that requires focus, time and help”

The CSF aims to increase the number of diverse High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) that have global potential and the ambition to succeed internationally. The fund is designed to help start-ups achieve key commercial and technical milestones which includes evaluating overseas market opportunities, building prototypes, developing market entry plans and securing third party investment.

“A funding boost at the very early stages of starting up a business is always really welcome,” said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD.

“Up to €50,000 is available for successful projects under this fund, giving those companies an important kick-start. These are the employers of the future. The Government is committed to nurturing entrepreneurs at every stage of their business development, whether that’s through investments, like this one, or networking and mentoring opportunities.”

How to apply for the 2020 CSF

The fund will close to applications at 3pm on Tuesday, 2nd March 2021. A number of CSF application-support workshops will be held online by the National BICs over the coming weeks. Details of these workshops as well as the Competitive Start Fund application form and eligibility criteria, can be accessed on the Enterprise Ireland website here.

Previous CSF winner, Deirdre Lyons, is the Founder and CEO of Examfly which develops online learning tools for professional exams incorporating proven techniques from EdTech and Education Psychology.

“Ideas on their own only have a limited value; you need the business apparatus to wrap around the idea, and that requires focus, time and help,” she said.

“Support through Enterprise Ireland’s CSF was a real turning point for the company as it allowed us to refine the product and gave us the time to research and develop the market. Within six to eight months we had a major client signed up and will be launching our platform with a second client this month.”

Main image at top: Enterprise Ireland head of HPSU division Jenny Melia

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 10 February 2021