EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Enterprise Ireland

Phase: Anticipation
  • Access to finance
  • response to COVID-19
  • Support for digitalisation
  • Advice
  • Attracting investors
  • Fostering innovation
  • Matching/Networking
  • Support of companies' growth
  • Support of internationalisation
  • Support of SMEs
Last modified: 23 July, 2020
Native name:

Enterprise Ireland

English name:

Enterprise Ireland


Enterprise Ireland provides funding and support for companies - from entrepreneurs with business propositions for a high potential start-up through to large companies expanding their activities, improving efficiency and growing international sales. It also provides funding and support for college-based researchers to assist in the development, protection and transfer of technologies into industry via licencing or spin-out companies.

Main characteristics

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. It supports sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment by offering a range of services, from funding to introducing to international markets. Its export assistance includes the provision of in-market services, local market information and the facilities of its international office network. A selection of initiatives is listed below.

'Becoming Lean' programme

'The agency supports competitiveness by helping companies to become leaner through its 'Becoming Lean' programme (based on the three principles: 'time, money and effort'), making them more competitive in international markets. If offers incentives to stimulate in-company R&D through a mix of funding, advice and expertise (new product, service and process development to ensure sustainability, and growth through the evolution of products and services).

Prepare for Brexit

Enterprise Ireland also supports businesses in their adjustment to Brexit. The agency offers a 'Prepare for Brexit' package, which offers a wide range of supports instruments such as information activities, trainings, individual consulting and business evaluation, loans and funding. If an Irish company is heavily impacted by Brexit, it can receive a grant from the 'Agile Innovation Fund' which allows companies to access up to 50% in support of innovation projects with a total cost of up to €300,000. In addition, the 'Market Discovery' programme offers large, medium and small enterprises funding up to €150,000 for exploring new markets.

Fuelling Ambition Roadshow

The programme, which runs every year, targets existing and potential female entrepreneurs. In 2020 the roadshow theme is 'Lead and Succeed’ and showcases successful women entrepreneur  stories. The roadshow includes an Elevator Pitch competition with a cash prize sponsored by Facebook worth €2,000 at each location, as well as additional prizes including including:

  • 10 sessions with Enterprise Ireland Mentors and attendance at Enterprise Ireland’s Excel at Export Selling training programme;
  • Annual membership of Network Ireland.

Excel at Export Selling training programme

During 2020 Enterprise Ireland will run a series of workshops for Irish companies planning to export their products or services. The workshops topics are:

  • 'Gathering information to decide on choice of market, on your competitors, to identify new partners and prospects';
  • 'Developing a Compelling Value Proposition';
  • 'Following a systematic repeatable Sales Process'.

Each workshop lasts one day and companies will attend a specific follow-up session with the experts usually 2-4 weeks after the workshop. Both the workshop and the follow-up seesion must be attended by participating companies.

COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) introduced this Scheme in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need for retail companies to improve their online capability. The fund is administered by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of DBEI with a total fund size of €2 million. The purpose of this fund is to enable Irish-owned retailers to enhance their digital capability and to develop a more competitive online offer, that will enable an increase in their customer base and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace both online and offline. Funding is available for proposals to improve research, consultancy costs for strategy development, implementation and training.

The applicant must be an Irish-owned retail enterprise that had 10 or more employees on or before 29 February 2020 and has the potential to sustain or create jobs, generate growth in online transactions and with an ambition to internationalise their business in future. An application must be submitted in the name of a company registered with the Companies Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application. The business must also:

  • have an existing online presence (e.g. website or social media);
  • have a retail outlet and derive the majority of revenue from the retail outlet(s);
  • must employ at least 10 employees in the Republic of Ireland (on a full-time equivalent basis on or before 29 February 2020);

Previous applicants of the Online Retail Scheme who were unsuccessful will be eligible to re-apply with a modified proposal under this call.

Applications for funding will be invited through a public call for submission of projects. The call was open from 29 April 2020 to 27 May 2020.

Successful applicants will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 80% of the project eligible costs with a maximum grant of €40,000.

The minimum grant amount payable is €10,000 under this scheme.

COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant

The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full-time employees.

The grant is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers (including Enterprise Ireland). The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, enables companies to access external support from approved financial consultants to prepare a financial plan to secure the company in the short to medium terms.


  • National funds

Involved actors

National government
Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.


Enterprise Ireland regularly supports job creation in multinational companies operating in Ireland.

In its 2019 report, Enterprise Ireland noted that its member companies employ 221,895 people, which is the highest number to date. Other relevant figures for 2019 were reported, namely that:

  • 16,971 new jobs were created. two-thirds of which were outside Dublin;
  • 126 new start-ups were supported, 38 of which were women-led;
  • 416 people were involved, spending over 100 hours on management development programmes;
  • 2,000 Brexit-exposed companies were supported, through €125 million in funding.

As of June 19, 2020, there were 584 applications for the Business Financial Planning Grant, 517 of which were successful. A total of €2.55 million was approved for these grants. No data are available for the COVID-19 online retail scheme.


Enterprise Ireland is a very visible and familiar body that offers a wide range of supports and services for businesses making it easier for them to access the specific support they need. Many of the job expansions across Ireland in recent years have been associated with Enterprise Ireland, which demonstrates its ability to boost job expansions.

Enterprise Ireland has responded quickly to major economic impacts, such as Brexit and COVID-19. 




No information available.


An example of Enterprise Ireland's work is its partnership with Smart Dublin (https://enterprise-ireland.com/en/News/PressReleases/2018-Press-Releases/Smart-Dublin-launches-five-new-innovation-challenges-with-800k-in-funding.html)
Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Eurofound welcomes feedback and updates on this regulation

Add new comment