Competitive Start Fund - Now Open for Applications


The Competitive Start Fund (CSF) aims to support early stage start-ups. This fund is open to early stage companies in the Manufacturing & Internationally Traded Services sectors, including the following subsectors Agtech, Cleantech, Consumer Products, e-Health, Enterprise Software, Fintech, Food, Games, Industrial Products, Lifesciences, Manufacturing, Medical Technologies & Devices, Mobile, Renewables, SAAS / Digital Technologies, Engineering / Electronics, Deeptech, Internet of Things (IOT), Artificial Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR), Data Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Green Technologies / *Climate Change Solutions

*solutions to address challenges and opportunities regarding Climate Action with an emphasis on decarbonisation (i.e. supporting transition to low carbon) including but not exclusive to Renewables, Carbon capture technology, Innovations in buildings and transport applications and Sustainable materials.

To Apply

This call for applications opens on Tuesday 4th May 2021 and will be open for a 3 week period, and will close on Tuesday 25th May 2021 at 3pm.

Completed application forms must be submitted through the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System by the deadline.

Also, as part of the application process, a Video Pitch must be submitted on the platform (when you commence the application form, an email regarding the video pitch will be sent to you separately).

A valid application must have both a video pitch and completed application form.

Overview of 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 (5% in ordinary shares for each tranche).

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 ideally 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.
Assessments are undertaken on the applications submitted, it is important to note that the greater the progress the applicant has undertaken towards generating sustainable revenues the stronger the application.

If successful in progressing to pitch, the applicant may be required to supply contacts of (trial and/or paying) customers prior to any Enterprise Ireland investment completing as part of our due diligence process.

Previous CSF Winners:

Aisling Kirwan Positive Carbon
This year, Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) is encouraging applications from eligible companies that address the challenges and opportunities relating to climate change. “It’s really exciting to see more environmentally focused businesses coming through,” says Aisling Kirwan, co-founder and Director of Operations at Positive Carbon, a recent recipient of funding through the CSF. Read more about Positive Carbon.

Deirdre Lyons Examfly
Turning a good idea into a viable business takes time, hard work and support – this is what Deirdre Lyons, founder and CEO, Examfly discovered on her two-year journey with online teaching tool start-up, Examfly. As one of the recent recipients of Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF), Examfly has grown from a good idea into a promising business with big ambitions. Read more about Examfly.

Ciaran Brennan LiveCosts
With the help of Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF), Ciaran and Niall Brennan developed their cost-tracking software into a real solution for small and medium-sized businesses in the sector. Read more about LiveCosts

Padraig Neylon AddJust
AddJust is a contract and financial management platform for the construction industry. The company received support from Enterprise Ireland's Competitive Start Fund. Click here to see CEO Pádraig Neylon discuss how the CSF supported their growth.

Martin OConnell Nasal Medical
Getting Competitive Start Fund approval validated Nasal Medical’s efforts to develop a drug-free solution for allergy relief and gave them confidence to grow. Read the full interview with founder, Martin O’Connell.

Sharon Keegan Peachylean
Peachylean is an award-winning shapewear and activewear business with sales worldwide. Here, CEO Sharon Keegan discusses her start-up journey with support from the Competitive Start Fund. 

The TeachKloud Early Learning Management System is a SaaS solution which enables educators to streamline their business, comply with regulations and communicate with parents. CEO Wendy Oke outlines how the CSF allowed TeachKloud to upgrade our product, hire key personnel and raise further funding. 

Full details on the Competitive Start Fund can be viewed here