Startup funding institutions in Ireland (Part 1)

Sources of Funding

by Guillaume Van Aelst

Piush has talked earlier on about how to crowdfund your start up in Ireland.

I will today review some of the ways to get your funding made through less-crowfunding-based institution.

Here is my first list of 4 of them:

  • Enterprise Ireland: One of the most talked about ways of kicking-off your start-up in Ireland. Here are some of the basic conditions:
    • Being headquartered in Ireland,
    • Introducing an innovative product or service for sale on international markets,
    • Potential to create 10 jobs and €1m in export sales within 3 to 4 years of starting up.

(Enterprise Ireland, ?)

Should the candidate fill these conditions, he can be considered a “High Potential Start-up” by Enterprise Ireland (EI) and seek help.

If the start-up proposal is at an early stage and the business plan needs to be developed then the candidate will be entering the “Startup Program” where a team at EI will provide support to the candidate until ready to be presented to investors.

The candidate can then apply to different supports, until it is “investors-ready”, of which the two main ones:

  • An “Innovation Voucher” worth 5,000€ to work with an Irish college for example in order to tackle some issues.
  • “Mentoring, incubation space and a €15,000 scholarship payment” (Enterprise Ireland, ?)

Candidates that have a well-developed business support can then seek for further funding from EI in order to raise some more investment. This is the “Competitive Start Fund” which provides a 50,000€ investment of which only 10% are reimbursable when the business is fully launched.

EI still follows-up with the company after the investment is done through Mentoring Grants, Innovation Vouchers (again) and others.

  • NDRC VentureLab: This investment program focuses on the science and technology start-ups that focuses on a broad market. They provided up to 100,000€ in funds as well as 6 months of monitoring and support. During those 6 months, start-ups are provided with open-space offices in order to share ideas among all the other start-ups. It is an important IT incubator as the end of 2014: “Investments achieved by NDRC portfolio companies now exceed €88m, at an estimated market capital value of €220m and are employing 500” (NDRC, 2015).

  • Bank of Ireland Startup Awards: is a yearly award competition implemented by Bank of Ireland and is free to enter. Every successful participants will receive up to 24,000€ towards IBM products as main prize. There are 10 categories (Service, Product, Retail…) to participate in as well as a Grand Prix Winner. There are many prizes to receive for a category winner of which one of the most important “Up to €120k credits for 12 months against IBM Cloud, Bluemix & Cloudant” (Bank of Ireland, 2015). The Grand Prix winner will win all of the above plus advertisements from Bank of Ireland worth up to 56,000€, among other things.

The conditions to participate are that the participants are setup in Ireland, in business for less than 3 years and with less than 30 employees (ThinkBusiness, 2015). In 2014, around 750 companies entered the awards (ThinkBusiness, 2015).

  • LaunchBox: Started in 2013, it is a 3 months start-up accelerator based in Trinity College. It helps providing TCD students seeking help for early-stage business ideas with the following:
    • Funding, (couldn’t find any figures there…)
    • Mentorship,
    • Investor (& TCD Partners) Network,
    • Collaborative environment

(Trinity College, ?)



Bank of Ireland, 2015. Prize Fund. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 11 2015].

Enterprise Ireland, ?. Have a Start-up Idea?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 11 2015].

Enterprise Ireland, ?. High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Funding. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 11 2015].

NDRC, 2015. €37m raised in follow-on investment for NDRC backed ventures in 2014 – See more at: [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 11 2015].

ThinkBusiness, 2015. Are you Ireland’s Best startup?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 11 2015].

Trinity College, ?. About LaunchBox. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 11 11 2015].

Is Boom for Start-Ups over in Ireland?
Business Angels in Ireland

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *