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Ambition: 2

Ireland as a world-leading location to start and scale a business.

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An open plan room with people working at laptops on desks.
Key Targets:
Start-ups: 450 early-stage companies supported
Scaling: 10% increase in the number of companies achieving sales of €10m, €20m and €50m
Leadership and Diversity: 1,000 leaders and managers on significant management development programmes, with 30% female participants by 2024
Increasing the levels of entrepreneurship and survival rates of start-ups in Ireland over the coming decade, positioning Ireland as a location of choice for entrepreneurs, and growing more Irish enterprises at scale, is key to economic recovery and growth.

Increase the number of new entrepreneurs, fast-growing start-ups and HPSUs across the regions

Enterprise Ireland will build a stronger start-up project pipeline across the regions and increase the number of prospective and fast-growing HPSUs, including the commercialisation of research and innovation-driven entrepreneurship. A coordinated and cohesive delivery model, led by Enterprise Ireland, working closely with the LEOs, and partnering with other entrepreneurship stakeholders and third-level institutions, will provide companies of all sizes with a flexible and proactive support model, responding to their growth and development needs.

We will ensure strong alignment between enterprises and wider entrepreneurship advisory and funding providers and knowledge resources, connecting entrepreneurs to funders, and informing and influencing the development of pro-entrepreneurship policies and measures.

Scaling Irish enterprises to achieve leading positions in global markets

Accelerating the growth of the most ambitious SMEs and midcaps to develop enterprises of scale is a key objective. This includes the development of leadership, management and financial capability, providing pathways to new sources of funding, and assisting enterprises in realising opportunities overseas. We will also strengthen the economic impact of our large companies through advisory and funding assistance, leveraging the success of global leaders.

Partner with Irish enterprise and key stakeholders to foster diversity and deliver the skills necessary for growth

Access to skills, including emerging skills, and increasing diversity, will underpin the future growth and competitiveness of Irish enterprise. Enterprise Ireland will work closely with government, other agencies, industry, education and training partners as part of a coordinated, national approach to assist enterprises to address skills needs, attract and retain talent and embrace diversity.

To achieve our objectives in this area, Enterprise Ireland will:
Start-ups and entrepreneurship
  • Build a strong and diverse start-up project pipeline through:
    • pre-seed project and capability building measures, delivered in partnership with stakeholders across all regions; and
    • commercialisation funding, translating third level research into commercially viable products, services, and companies
  • Fast-track ambitious HPSUs with the highest export potential, through delivery of targeted and enhanced financial and development assistance
  • Develop the ecosystem for ambitious entrepreneurs through:
    • Leveraging investment and building capability through international funding providers (including EU funding programmes)
    • Delivering strategic regional funding (Accelerator & Immersion programmes and Regional Enterprise Development Funding), and
    • Providing pathways for peer to peer, alumni, MNC networking and collaboration
  • Develop options for long term strategic funding (including patient capital) to accelerate scaling, through investments in start-ups and established companies (incorporating State, VC, private equity (development capital), Corporate Venture, European programmes, IPO and other funding)
  • Ensure a clear pathway for progression from the LEOs to Enterprise Ireland, including through an enhanced digital platform for the engagement of micro and small enterprises and integrated LEO client engagement model.
  • Significantly increase leadership capability and ambition in Irish enterprises through adapting and enhancing EI leadership programmes (including our flagship Leadership 4 Growth)
  • Develop capacity and capability in the design and craft sectors to realise greater economic output and internationalisation.
Diversity and skills
  • In line with government targets, further develop funding and advisory measures to achieve greater levels of diversity in Irish enterprise
  • Continue to increase the number of women-led start-ups and the number of women in leadership roles in established companies, in line with the targets outlined in the Enterprise Ireland Action Plan for Women in Business
  • Facilitate increased engagement by enterprise and key stakeholders on addressing critical skills needs, including financial skills, through advisory, funding, and training measures