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Enterprise Ireland invested €24 million in start-ups in 2023​

Posted on 11 days ago by Laurentina Kennedy

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Enterprise Ireland invested €24 million in start-ups in 2023​

Leo Clancy, Enterprise Ireland CEO, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary and Emma Meehan, founder of Precision Sports Technology

Leo Clancy, Enterprise Ireland CEO, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary and Emma Meehan, founder of Precision Sports Technology

Enterprise Ireland invested €24 million in Irish start-ups last year.

The government agency supported a total of 156 companies in the early stages of their operations - 12 of which emerged from academic research.

85 high potential start-ups - businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and €1m in sales within three to four years of starting up - received funding.

The companies were spread across technology, life sciences, food, industrial and fintech.

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said, "It is important for us that we do see that sectoral spread because it adds to the resilience long term of the economy.

"We were particularly happy to see companies that are focused across on sustainability. We think that's going to be a huge growth sector for Ireland, we've seen global leaders like XOCEAN, Xerotech, Cool Planet, emerging in that space, so we think that's a really interesting place to see further investment."

71 new firms received an injection of critical early-stage funding through the Pre-Seed Start Fund. These companies must have a minimum viable product, an addressable market, a clear pathway to sales, and a founder committed to being in the business.

Enterprise Ireland said 55% of the companies supported were based outside Dublin, and 45 women-led start-up companies were approved investment.

The agency said 26 companies were spun out of third level institutions, 16 of which were supported through the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund Programme.

Mr Clancy told Morning Ireland that the agency does get a return on their investment.

"There is absolutely the potential of a direct return because these are equity investments. We are the largest equity investor in Europe by deal volume as ranked by PitchBook, the international deal counter, so there is a financial return over time," he said.

"The big return for us is the economic return; the jobs, the economic impact that those companies make in Ireland - that is the real prize for Ireland," he added.

600 delegates are attending the Enterprise Ireland Start-Up Day today in Dublin Castle which brings together the 'Class of 2023' start-up companies, and the wider start-up ecosystem including investors, state agencies and accelerators.

For the first time, Enterprise Ireland’s Start-Up Day includes a ‘big ideas’ pitch element where the top 10 potential spin-outs borne out of commercialisation funded research in third level institutions will take to the stage to pitch their innovations.

The winning pitch will go on to represent Ireland at the Pegasus Start-Up World Cup in San Francisco later in the year.

The EI chief said the ambition and capability of Ireland’s start-ups has never been higher than it is today. "The evidence is clear in the calibre of talent and innovation demonstrated by the 85 high potential start-ups and 71 early-stage businesses from across the country," he said.

"We will continue to help drive the success of the most forward-thinking Irish companies, enabling start-ups to thrive and influence the future of global business - cementing Ireland’s reputation as a prime hub for international trade," he added.