What is The Competitive Start Fund?
The purpose of the Competitive Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capacity and ambition to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies to reach key technical and commercial milestones. Applications are considered on a competitive basis. Funding is provided to companies who rank highest in a two-phase evaluation process. The maximum level of support per successful application is €50,000, for 10% in ordinary shares in the start-up company, to be released in 2 equal tranches of €25k.
Applicants to the fund should ideally be able to demonstrate the following:
- Be able to clearly demonstrate that product or service has reached Minimal Viable Product (MVP) stage, and that the product is, at a minimum, live in beta.
- That the product or service has demonstrable customer validation with (trial and/or paying) customers.
- A fully articulated proposition addressing a clear gap in the market with market research conducted with customers/potential customers.
- Evidence of innovation, export potential and employment capacity. Clear export market opportunity for the proposed product or service. Clear knowledge of the competitive landscape.
- Clear execution plan outlined, identifying suitable channels to international markets.
The fund is designed to help start-ups reach key commercial and technical milestones, including evaluating overseas market opportunities, building prototypes, developing market entry plans, and securing third party investment. The fund aims to attract new entrepreneurs and drive the creation of new businesses which will result in job creation and prosperity across Ireland. I would encourage eligible early-stage start-ups to apply and make the most of this opportunity to turn their ideas into an international commercial reality.