More than €48 million was invested in 125 start-ups by Enterprise Ireland last year, a record amount.

New figures from the State agency show while the number of start-ups supported was largely unchanged, the amount of funding doubled from the €24 million provided by Enterprise Ireland in 2019. This was due to the introduction of the Covid-19 Sustaining Enterprise Fund and an increase in follow-on investments to help so-called high-potential start-ups (HPSU’s) scale internationally.

A total of 80 companies received funding via the HPSU programme last year. This is a funding initiative that backs businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and reach at least €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.

A further 45 businesses secured investment via Enterprise Ireland’s competitive start fund, which provides a maximum €50,000 in funding for early-stage companies.

Nearly a third of all companies backed were led by women and a half of all the start-ups to secure investment were based outside Dublin.

Key sectors that Enterprise Ireland invested in last year included fintech, cybersecurity, digital health and agtech.

“Despite the impact of Covid-19, 2020 was another successful year for Irish start-ups, with growth noted in the life sciences and ICT sectors. We are also seeing new opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs and start-ups in the green economy as well as doing business in a post-pandemic environment,” said Kevin Sherry, executive director of Enterprise Ireland.

The latest figures come ahead of the agency’s start-up showcase virtual event, which includes a keynote address from Des Traynor, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Irish tech unicorn Intercom.

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Other speakers due to appear at the event include Nicky Deasy, managing partner of Yield Lab, Atlantic Bridge investment director Helen McBreen and Sweepr chief executive Alan Coleman.



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