HomeBussinessOpening doors for rookie entrepreneurs – the Enterprise Ireland Pre-Seed Start...

Opening doors for rookie entrepreneurs – the Enterprise Ireland Pre-Seed Start Fund


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Founders often cite access to funding as being one of the most common challenges at that pivotal, early stage of their business’s development, and Enterprise Ireland is aiming to address that with our Pre-Seed Start Fund (PSSF) offer.

This fund has been designed to help early-stage businesses that are close to having a minimum viable product (MVP) to achieve commercial and technical milestones on their journey to becoming fully operational. These could include securing a trial customer, or developing some additional features to get another customer.

Anyone with an early-stage manufacturing or traded services business can apply for the PSSF. It’s not competitive, meaning applications are assessed on their merits rather than against other ideas. And, vitally, the fund is available all year round with no deadlines, so it is there when you are ready to apply.

PSSF can often be a bridge for those startups that are still early stage but need investment to help move to the next

PSSF funding comes in the form of convertible loan notes, worth up to €50,000 or €100,000. The recipient only has to match funding to the tune of 10pc, so they have to put in €5,000 or €10,000 themselves. Enterprise Ireland doesn’t take equity at this point, and there is no value put on the company. The loan can be converted to equity later or it can be repaid.

The Pre-Seed Start Fund has proven to be successful and positive for many, and in 2023 alone more than 70 entrepreneurs were approved for funding under this support.

They included Emma Meehan, founder of Precision Sports, Miriam Savage from Elevre Medical and Loretto Callaghan from Vzarii Therapeutics.

PSSF can often be a bridge for those startups that are still early stage but need investment to help move to the next and a large proportion of successful applications for PSSF have come from New Frontiers programme alumni.

Increasing the opportunities for women entrepreneurs and women in management is a strong focus for Enterprise Ireland, and we have been championing this agenda since 2011 when only 7pc of the start-ups Enterprise Ireland invested in were led by women – by 2023, that figure rose to 29pc.

The PSSF support can typically run for between 12 and 18 months

Fostering diversity in entrepreneurship is part of the remit of the PSSF, and Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting a robust ecosystem which utilises the skills, ambition and talent of a diverse population. True innovation thrives when diversity is fully embraced, as different perspectives can often uncover innovative solutions to complex challenges.

In addition to funding, successful PSSF applicants also have access to peer-to-peer support and networking, an experienced Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser in their sector, mentoring sessions and in-depth market research.

The PSSF support can typically run for between 12 and 18 months, and for many it provides the next step for their journey with Enterprise Ireland.

The PSSF is open for applications throughout the year, and applicants are immediately connected with their local Business Innovation Centre, where they are invited to register for an innovation workshop.

Anna-Marie Turley is Department Manager, Entrepreneurship & HPSU Operations, Enterprise Ireland

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