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Ireland Fosters Supportive Environment For High-Growth Start-ups

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Ireland Fosters Supportive Environment For High-Growth Start-ups

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Ireland has gone out of its way over recent decades to provide a supportive environment for high-tech businesses of all kinds, and from all locations, garnering a deserved reputation as the gateway to Europe for such enterprises.

In addition to a number of programmes in place for companies at all stages of development, start-ups with high growth potential are a key area of focus.


There are many funding avenues available to businesses looking to establish themselves in Ireland or use the Republic as a springboard to the European markets, including initiatives put in place for High Potential Start-ups (HPSUs).

HPSUs are generally export-focused in nature, with rapid growth potential, defined as the ability to create at least 10 jobs and to bring in around EUR1m in the first three to four years that they are in business.

HSPUs can often access equity investment, lending on preferential terms, grants, or even a combination of these.

There are multiple options for the burgeoning business and/or entrepreneur, including funding, mentoring, and networking resources available to suit most needs.

For example:

  • Businesses seeking support to develop their product offering can benefit from grants to help cover various costs, vouchers to help pay for collaborative efforts with higher education establishments to solve a technical problem or develop a product aspect, and mentoring support for entrepreneurs
  • Businesses that view themselves as 'investor ready', and are seeking assistance to develop their business plans and raise investment, can access equity investment to conduct market research, design a prototype product, or further develop an entity's business plan
  • 'Growth Stage' businesses looking to expand internationally can access financial assistance (loans or grants) to research and break into new markets, and support in covering mentoring costs


Despite the supportive investment environment in Ireland, the unexpected appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges, especially for start-ups.

In view of the potential need for private investors to re-group and reassess, industry bodies representing the start-up sector have urged the Irish authorities to follow the example of countries such as the UK and France in prioritising smaller and more innovative firms for pandemic-related assistance, in order to keep the cashflow flowing.

Living up to its reputation for responsiveness, the Irish Government has delivered. State-supported and public sector initiatives available to smaller businesses in the short to medium term include:

  • Loans available at reduced rates including longer-term arrangements, with a view to securing and protecting the firm's future growth
  • Loans designed to provide liquidity support during economically lean periods, where firms are unable to access such facilities via the usual commercial options
  • Support for businesses that are deemed to be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 impacts, but are otherwise viable
  • Financial planning grants designed to support the development of a sustainable business plan
  • Grants to assist in the creation of more robust online offerings for retail-based operations
  • The Irish authorities also provide a credit guarantee scheme, and the maximum loan amount available on a micro-finance basis has been increased from €25,000 to €50,000 in the short term.


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.

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