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DBEI Focused Policy Assessment finds strong growth of high potential start-ups between 2006 and 2016

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has completed a Focused Policy Assessment of its capital expenditure on Start-up and Equity supports, tracing expenditure from its objectives to inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts from 2006 to 2016.

The report finds that High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) maintained continuous growth throughout the period. Companies classed as HPSUs by Enterprise Ireland in 2007, 2011 and 2015 have all experienced strong growth in employment, turnover, exports and greater survivability over time compared to non-HPSU companies. Companies classed as HPSUs in 2007 showed a consistent upward trend in employment, turnover and exports throughout the recession and experienced high growth from 2012 onwards.

While progress has been made in developing Ireland’s entrepreneurial base, the report highlights challenges to be addressed to continually enhance the impact and effectiveness of funding throughout the system. These include: addressing data gaps to ensure that future evaluations can be undertaken robustly; understanding the gaps between drawdowns and approvals of supports; and an update of the suite of evaluations.

The report contributes to the wider Government Review of Expenditure 2018 and features in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Mid-Year Expenditure Report.

Speaking earlier today, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD, together with the Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD, outlined the importance of assessing the economic benefits of public funding to start-ups and entrepreneurs and the importance of evaluating the impact of public funding for entrepreneurship in Ireland.

Minister Humphreys said “Entrepreneurship is recognised internationally as a key element of enterprise policy and contributor to economic performance. The report shows that there is a positive correlation between entrepreneurship and economic performance in terms of growth, firm survival, employment creation and exports and that Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise Offices support programmes are positively contributing to the development of the entrepreneurship throughout the economy.”

Minister Pat Breen commented “The continued relevance of state support in start-up and entrepreneurship is welcome. Improved survival rates and increased HPSU company growth demonstrated in this report shows the positive results of the work that Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices undertake. Meeting the targets set out in Enterprise 2025 Renewed by increasing the survival rates and performance of Ireland’s enterprise base is essential in the face of continually changing market, technological and geo-political forces.”


To read the full report, see Focused Policy Assessment of Start Up and Entrepreneurship Expenditure.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call DBEI Press Office at (01) 6312200, or email