Hi-Start Programme


Are you an ambitious, growth focussed start up or early stage business targeting  international markets and seeking investment?  Would you benefit from one on one industry expertise and coaching to finalise an investor ready business plan and pitch for investment?  

This programme assists ambitious early stage growth focused companies to identify and build foundations required to secure investment and scale the business in international markets. The process culminates in an investment pitch to the Enterprise Ireland HPSU unit, venture funds, angels and others and the objective is to optimise your chances to secure requisite funding.

Hi-Start has been developed and part-funded by the Dublin and Wicklow Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland and has been running successfully since 2007. 

Benefits of Participation:-

  • 6 x half day group training sessions followed by 6 one to one mentoring sessions
  • Final session is a formal pitch to an Investor Panel – including  Enterprise Ireland, VC’s and others
  • Coaching and mentoring delivered by highly acclaimed international consultant, John McMahon, Forum21 Ltd
  • Extremely highly rated by participants (see testimonials)

Participation is limited to 10 applicants who must:-

  • Have established customer need and demand for the products/service
  • Demonstrate the potential to scale business internationally
  • Be no more than 2 years since start-up
  • Based in Dublin or Wicklow region

The Participation fee is €500.

Programme Overview

Seven half-day workshops have been designed to contribute to the overall development of an investor-ready business plan. After each workshop a related mentoring session will take place to assist the participant with the specific outcomes required.

The training and mentoring is delivered by experts in growth and investment strategists. The principal trainer is the highly acclaimed world-class business development consultant John McMahon of Forum 21 Ltd.

Workshop 1: Strategy for Growth – The Framework, Dates & Times to be confirmed

Focus on building a business strategy framework that can deliver the business owner’s ambitions and vision. Competitiveness, entrepreneurial capability, change management and management of ‘business as usual’ elements will all be explored. The framework will then be employed in the subsequent mentor session and in workshop 2 to guide the evolution of a detailed coherent strategy for each business.

Workshop 2: Strategy for Growth – The Detail, Dates & Times to be confirmed

Participants will be supported in defining their current position, their medium term vision or “bull’s eye” and the key development or change projects they must successfully undertake if they are to realise it. These change projects are the essence of the business strategy. Detailed guidance and direct support for successful implementation will be given and will be a core focus of the remainder of the programme including the following mentoring sessions.

Workshop 3: The Marketing Plan & Plan Implementation, Dates & Times to be confirmed

This workshop will focus on the development of a six step framework to guide the development of detailed marketing plans including segmentation, marketing analysis, product, pricing, route to market and promotional (including sales) aspects, time and resource implications and action plan components. The workshop in tandem with mentoring will support participants in developing the detail of their plan.

Workshop 4: Entrepreneurial and Management Capability,  Dates & Times to be confirmed 

Participants will be supported in identifying and exploiting their own strengths as entrepreneurs and in identifying and addressing any experience or skill gaps essential to the realisation of their ambitions. The role of investors, partners, advisers, key staff, non-executive directors etc in building and enhancing requisite capabilities will be explored together with incentivising of key individuals.

Workshop 5: The Financial Plan and Raising the Money, Dates & Times to be confirmed

This workshop will focus on developing and stress testing requisite financial projections, defining funding gaps and exploring all funding options including debt, equity and grant components, the advantages and disadvantages of each, sources of each and related timescales.

Workshop 6: The Trial Pitch, Dates & Times to be confirmed 

Participants will present draft investor ready business plans and make trial investment pitches for feedback and comment from their entrepreneurial peers and the programme facilitator. Completion of investor ready business plan supported by subsequent mentoring.

Workshop 7: The Pitch, Dates & Times to be confirmed 

Participants will present their final business plans and take part in a formal pitch to an Investment Panel (including Enterprise Ireland, Investors and Local Enterprise Offices)

Am I Eligible?

Participation is limited to 10 companies. Applicants need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have established customer need and demand for the products/service
  • Demonstrate the potential to scale business to international markets
  • Be established no more than 18 months
  • Based in Dublin or Wicklow region


Download here


Angela Tynan, Hi-Start Programme Manager
01 494 8400 / 087 223 5269
Email: angela@nutgrove-enterprisepark.ie