As we've discussed in previous blogs, Ireland provides an ideal environment for start-ups, and in particular start-ups offering new tech solutions or using them to reach customers. While Ireland offers a number of different support programmes for burgeoning businesses, perhaps one of the most interesting is the Competitive Start Fund, which offers high-potential start-ups both government funding and support.
There are, in fact, two open application pipelines, 'Women Entrepreneurship' and 'All Sectors', for which the application process closes for these on August 18.
The more developed an idea is at the time of the application, the more chance it stands of being successful in the two-phase evaluation process.
- Start-ups making applications for funding under the programme (which offers €50,000 for 10% in ordinary shares in the company, in two equal tranches of €25,000) should ensure that the following conditions are satisfied, or well on their way to being so:
- The product or service being developed is ready to be trialled with customers or is in the beta-testing phase already;
- Customer validation can demonstrated;
- The team putting forward the idea has a fully sketched-out proposition to present that explains the gap in the market that the product or service aims to fill;
- There is clear evidence that the design is innovative, has strong export potential, and is likely to create additional employment;
- The team has knowledge of the competitive landscape into which they are launching their product, and that there is a demonstrable export market opportunity for it; and
- The execution plan created by the founder/s of the young company has identified suitable channels to take the developed design to international markets.
Both opportunities for applications are for businesses in the manufacturing or internationally traded services sectors, including Agtech, consumer product development, e-health, enterprise software development, Fintech, food, gaming, life sciences, manufacturing, medical devices and technology, renewable energy, Internet of Things, virtual reality, and data intelligence, among various others.
While the 'All Sectors' stream doesn't impose any further stipulations on applicants beyond the sectoral ones above, the 'Women Entrepreneurship' pipeline requires that the entity making the application have at least one female promoter who holds, or will hold, at least 25% of the voting capital of the enterprise.
Successful applicants will also have the opportunity to participate in the Dublin Business Innovation Centre's INNOVATE Accelerator Programme, a 12-week initiative beginning in the fourth quarter of this year that is aimed at helping businesses to rapidly grow.
Whilst on the surface of it, now may not seem like the best moment to be starting a business, paradoxically the somewhat topsy-turvy global situation may actually present opportunities for entrepreneurs with the right business ideas and support networks in place; there are old problems needing better solutions, new problems needing new solutions, and existing business processes just crying out to be disrupted.
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SMART MBS has the expertise to provide you with a range of services to support setting up your business or expanding into Ireland. We can tailor a cost efficient package based on any outsourced services that your business requires. You can book a free consultation here.