News & Events

€23 million invested in start-ups by Enterprise Ireland in 2018

- 132 Start-ups supported in 2018
- 30% increase in start-up enquiries – largest to date
- Enterprise Ireland Start-up Showcase 2019 brings together 600 start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors

Enterprise Ireland, the state agency responsible for the development and growth of Irish companies in global markets, invested €23 million in Irish start-ups in 2018 and supported a total of 132 start-up companies.
Over 600 entrepreneurs and representatives from early stage businesses representing the start-up class of 2018 alongside investors and members of the start-up community convened today at Croke Park for Enterprise Ireland’s Annual Start-up Showcase event.

Investment was provided in the form of equity through Competitive Start Funds (CSFs) and High Potential Start-Up (HPSUs) funding programmes by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.
Funding awarded to start-ups in 2018 included two calls for up to €1.5 million in funding open to all sectors. €500K in funding targeted recent graduates while €750K in funding was made available through a fintech and deep tech CSF.

Start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2018 include:

• 82 High Potential Start-Ups – start-up businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and €1million in sales within three to four years of starting up
• 50 Competitive Start Funds (CSFs) – critical early stage funding into new businesses to accelerate growth
• 28 new female-led HPSUs
• 15 new fintech HPSUs and a further five fintech start-ups were supported under a dedicated CSF fund
• 15 spin-out companies from higher education institutions
• 26 additional HPSUs which received follow-on investment funding as their businesses scaled.

Joe Healy, Manager, HPSU Division, Enterprise Ireland said: “Even in today’s challenging business climate with Brexit looming, the appetite and enthusiasm amongst entrepreneurs is strong. In 2018 alone, Enterprise Ireland received over 1,300 start-up enquiries, representing a 30% increase on the previous year. Enterprise Ireland works and supports the brightest and best start-ups with the ambition to take their business global. A huge amount of supports exist within the start-up eco-system and we continue to work with our partners, be it through New Frontiers, the third level sector, the Accelerators, the Local Enterprise Offices, the BICs and the investment community to help early stage companies develop and succeed.”

Opening the start-up showcase event in Croke Park today, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “I would like to congratulate all the entrepreneurs here today who have taken the brave step to start their own business. All of the start-ups involved today are showcasing best-in-class in innovation and will go on to become part of the growing number of internationally trading Irish companies that each year are contributing to an increase in Irish exports. Support programmes provided by my Department through Enterprise Ireland enable early stage businesses to develop and grow and, ultimately, stimulate local economies, leading to the creation of employment.”

She continued: “As we reach near full employment, our focus must shift to ensuring our workers and firms are resilient in the face of new challenges and embrace new opportunities. In that regard, the Government is developing a new strategic framework called Future Jobs Ireland, which is due to be launched in the coming weeks. Future Jobs Ireland will underpin the next phase of Ireland’s economic development by enhancing productivity, ensuring we have talented workers embedding resilience and securing long-term economic prosperity.”

Joe Healy, Enterprise Ireland continued: “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for 2017- 2020 is to support more start-ups with global ambition to build scale and expand reach. Now at the halfway mark into our four-year strategy, we are on course to meet the ambitious target of creating 60,000 new jobs by the end of 2020. Key to reaching this target is cultivating an environment for more entrepreneurs to develop their business and succeed. Working with the government and our partners, Enterprise Ireland will continue to support and nurture an eco-system that ensures the availability of appropriate supports including finance, mentorship, peer-to-peer learning platforms and access to overseas markets, priming early stage businesses and entrepreneurs to grow. I would like to congratulate the Start-up class of 2018 and we look forward to continuing to work to help them scale into international businesses in the coming years.”


Start-Up Showcase Directory 2019 available to download here.

Photographs will be syndicated by SON Pictures. Infographics available upon request.


Conor O’Donovan, Head of Communications, Enterprise Ireland
087 967 1342 /

Brigid Burke, Press Office, Enterprise Ireland
087-180 3995

Nicola Corboy, Press & Media Relations, Enterprise Ireland
01 727 2149 / 086 021 0114