Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1001)

Bernard Durkan


1001. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a comprehensive new strategy will be introduced for female entrepreneurship; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32438/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Entrepreneurs are one of the most important components of the entire business ecosystem in Ireland. They create new businesses, new jobs, new products and new services. In Ireland men are nearly twice as likely to be an entrepreneur compared to women; this gap between genders is higher in Ireland than in many other European countries.

In order to ensure that Ireland has a diversified, resilient and adaptable enterprise base, in Future Jobs Ireland 2019, my Department committed to deliver a new six-year strategy for female entrepreneurship aimed at:

- increasing the number of females that choose to start a business;

- increasing the number of female founded high potential start-ups; and

- increasing exports and jobs growth in female led companies, by 2025.

My Department recently announced that the Government, through Enterprise Ireland, was opening another Competitive Start Fund (CSF) of €750K specifically geared towards supporting start-ups led by Women Entrepreneurs. This new €750K fund for 2019 will provide valuable and practical support for the next generation of female-led companies with global ambition to compete in export markets. The fund will also help to address the distinctive challenges faced by women in realising their entrepreneurial potential.

Enterprise Ireland’s €750k Competitive Start Fund (CSF) opened for applications on Tuesday, 25 June. Up to €50,000 in equity funding is available to a maximum of 15 successful applicants with early stage start-up companies.

In addition to securing funding, successful applicants will be offered a place on the INNOVATE accelerator programme, delivered by Dublin Business Innovation Centre. Taking place over a 12-week period in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, the interactive INNOVATE programme will increase the capabilities of the participants and move them to investor-ready within a short period.

The purpose of a CSF for women entrepreneurs is to accelerate the growth of women-led start-up companies that have the capability to become High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) companies with the potential to employ more than 10 people and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years.

Introduced in 2012 as part of Enterprise Ireland’s female entrepreneurship strategy, the dedicated fund is designed to enable companies reach key commercial and technical milestones which will ensure delivery of their product or service to a global audience. Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.