Enterprise Ireland wants to bring 'clarity' for startups navigating hundreds of State supports

The agency is building a portal to guide founders through the startup landscape.

By Zuzia Whelan Reporter, Fora

THE STATE AGENCY responsible for developing Irish business in foreign markets wants to fix how it communicates the hundreds of supports available to startups after receiving complaints of a lack of “clarity” on what’s on offer.

Enterprise Ireland has tendered the contract for a firm to design and develop an online guide to the country’s startup landscape.

The organisation said the project will create a “one-stop shop” that provides information to young companies on requirements such as office space, incubators and accelerators, community initiatives, sources of funding and State supports.

In the tender documents, Enterprise Ireland said the purpose of the so-called ‘startup landscape database’ is to “provide clarity to entrepreneurs at all stages of business development”.

“It should deliver meaningful, relevant and up-to-date data for entrepreneurs looking for support,” it stated.

The organisation noted that it has received feedback from various key stakeholders, including client companies, that “strongly indicated” there is confusion on the supports available to startups.

Enterprise Ireland identified some 450 sources of startup funding available across about 80 different categories.

However, it said the “comprehensive supports available are of little value if founders and entrepreneurs cannot clearly understand which supports are relevant”.

For that reason, the organisation said there is a need for it to “provide a clear frame of startup supports” and to help companies “understand and communicate the journey for any entrepreneur”.

With an projected launch in August this year, the scope of the guide is to cover “key requirements” for businesses. The estimated value of the two-year contract is estimated to be between €80,000 and €130,000.

Straightforward

Responding to the tender, John Phelan, director of the Halo Business Angel Network, told Fora that in his mind, startup funding is relatively straightforward. 

“If you’re going into the domestic market, you’re going to the (Local Enterprise Office). If you’re going to the international market, you’re going to Enterprise Ireland. Anybody who is involved in an early-stage company who does the basic research and has bit of basic networking skills will find that out very quickly,” he said. 

In response to a request for comment from Fora, an Enterprise Ireland spokesperson said through a statement that the agency is considering “new and innovative ways to support the startup community “including digital platforms to “help entrepreneurs to navigate the startup space”.

Enterprise Ireland’s end of year statement for 2018 showed there were 215,207 people employed in companies linked to the agency. Last year saw 18,846 jobs created with 9,119 net jobs created.

It stated at the time that 60% of these new jobs were outside of Dublin as part of a focus on regional development.

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