What are the funding opportunities for start-ups in Ireland?

Ireland is a country known for its vibrant business ecosystem, offering a wide range of funding supports to help Irish businesses drive growth and innovation.

Whether you are a start-up with an idea, or an established company looking to expand and scale, there are funding supports available in Ireland to help you on your journey. In this comprehensive guide, Furthr explores the various funding supports available in Ireland, providing you with valuable insights and information, and helping you navigate the Irish funding landscape.


Understanding EU funding

The European Union (EU) plays an instrumental role in providing funding support for start-ups in Ireland. The EU offers financial assistance across diverse areas such as education, research, employment, regional development, environment, agriculture, and more. SMEs, non-profit organisations, researchers, farmers, and public bodies can all benefit from significant support. EU funding opportunities are accessible through various channels and programmes, making it easier for businesses of all sizes to access finance and support.

The EU’s vast array of resources to aid start-ups and SMEs are spread across direct funding, collaborative initiatives and network support. The direct funding includes The Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme, the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator, The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and InnovFin – Finance for Innovators. Few other indirect funding and support provided by the EU for start-ups in Ireland include investments made by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB) through its partner banks, the Horizon 2020 programme, the Eurostars Joint Programme, etc. The EU also has some collaborative efforts that they deliver mainly through Scale Ireland.  


Furthr: Business support for every stage of the Entrepreneurial Journey

Furthr, funded by the Department of Trade and Enterprise, via Enterprise Ireland, provides a range of supports to enable founders to start and scale their businesses, all provided pro-bono to the start-ups. These supports include programmes, workshops and networking events for founders such as Ready, Set, Go Furthr, Pitch Jam, Venture Build and Prep4Seed. Furthr also provides a 1-2-1 mentorship programme, where you can work with a team of business consultants who have also walked in the entrepreneurs’ shoes, having in-depth industry knowledge of having started, scaled and exited many successful businesses. Regardless of where you are on your journey, the team at Furthr can help you. Furthr also has its own venture capital arm, Furthr VC and a private investor network, The Furthr Investor Network.

In April 2024, Furthr launched Furthr Foundry, a 12-week pre-seed accelerator established with the intention of delivering 10 investor-ready high-potential start-ups who will take on pre-seed investment following their successful completion of the programme.

Furthr VC

FurthrVC has significantly shaped the landscape of the Irish start-up ecosystem through strategic investments and robust partnerships. our focus on B2B software and MedTech companies, backed by a €32 million fund, underscores our commitment to nurturing high-potential businesses. We have invested up to €650K initially in numerous startups, with the potential for follow-on investments reaching up to €3m. Notably, our investment in LearnUpon, which raised $56m, exemplifies our impact, adding 100 jobs internationally. 

Furthr Investor Network 

Furthr Investor Network is a private investor network that aims to provide a complete investment experience for sophisticated investors. Our services are designed to be hassle-free, covering all aspects from identifying investment opportunities to providing legal support and ongoing assistance.

What sets us apart is our vast network of private investors who possess in-depth industry knowledge, experience, and sales channel access which is utilised on a deal-by-deal basis. Furthermore, we collaborate and co-invest with our sister company, Furthr VC, whenever it makes sense.

We provide experienced investors who are interested in investing in high-growth start-ups with access to diverse national and international investment options, as well as the necessary resources and support to make successful investments. 

We focus on providing access to curated, later-stage deal flow in emerging sectors including Enterprise SaaS, AI and MedTech. In addition, we host regular events for networking and to hear the ongoing experience from portfolio companies.

Enterprise Ireland: Supporting Business Development

Enterprise Ireland provides an extensive range of support for Irish businesses. They provide funding and other forms of support for companies at different stages of development. Whether you are an entrepreneur with a high-potential start-up (HPSU) or a large company aiming to expand internationally, Enterprise Ireland offers tailored support to help you improve efficiency, grow sales, and drive innovation. Additionally, they provide funding and support for college-based researchers to facilitate technology transfer into industry.

Different Funding Stages for Companies 

Enterprise Ireland provides funding and support across different stages of company development. Let’s take a closer look at the various stages:

  1. Pre-Seed Start Fund (PSSF): Enterprise Ireland provides €50,000 or €100,000 investment which is by way of a Convertible Loan Note (CLN) to accelerate the growth of early-stage start-ups that have the capacity and ambition to succeed in global markets. The fund is intended to enable companies to cover the primary operational costs to undertake key tasks such as the development of a market-ready product/solution, product testing in the marketplace, and building critical skillsets within the founding team.
  2. High Potential Start-ups (HPSUs): For entrepreneurs with business propositions that have the potential for rapid growth and international scalability, Enterprise Ireland offers specific funding and support programmes. These programmes aim to nurture and develop promising start-ups, providing them with the necessary resources and guidance to succeed.
  3. Early-Stage Development: Businesses that have progressed beyond the start-up phase but still require support for further development can access funding and support from Enterprise Ireland. This stage focuses on helping companies refine their business models, strengthen their market position, and enhance their competitive advantage.
  4. Expansion and Growth: Established companies looking to expand their activities, improve efficiency, and grow their international sales can avail themselves of funding and support from Enterprise Ireland. These programmes aim to assist companies in scaling their operations, entering new markets, and driving sustainable growth.

Research and Development (R&D) Funding 

Ireland recognises the importance of innovation and research in driving economic growth. As such, there are various funding supports and mechanisms specifically designed to encourage R&D activities. The most relevant support available to businesses varies depending on factors such as company size and the type of research being undertaken.

SMEs are a vital sector in the Irish economy. To foster innovation and support R&D within these businesses, Ireland’s national development agency, Enterprise Ireland, provides targeted funding supports. The Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) program, designed for SMEs, facilitates access to finance at every stage of business development, from creation to expansion. This programme aims to make it easier for SMEs to secure the funding they need to drive innovation and growth. 

Collaboration with Higher Education Institutes and Research Organisations

To further promote research and development, Ireland encourages collaboration between businesses and higher education institutes (HEIs) or research performing organisations. This collaboration allows businesses to tap into the research expertise, resources, and facilities available within these institutions. By leveraging the knowledge and capabilities of HEIs and research organisations, businesses can enhance their R&D efforts, drive innovation, and create a positive impact on the economy.

The Enterprise Ireland Venture Build pilot programme, designed and delivered by Furthr on behalf of Enterprise Ireland and taking place in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, has seen 15 of the most innovative, University-based, research projects in the state, come together to accelerate the commercialisation of research towards HPSUs (High Potential Start-Ups). Research teams from UCC, UL, NUIG, RCSI, UCD and TCD at the cutting edge of Life Sciences and Deep Tech, and currently receiving Enterprise Ireland commercialisation funding are engaged in a six-month deep dive to determine how to bring their work from the laboratory bench to the marketplace. The programme has given the participants access to industry veterans, VCs, regulators, economists and experts in HR, governance, finance and sustainability, culminating in a real pitch to real investors.

Key Considerations for Funding Opportunities

When exploring funding opportunities in Ireland, it is crucial to consider several factors that can influence your eligibility and the most suitable funding source for your business. These considerations include:

  1. Company Size: Funding support may vary depending on the size of your company. Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises often have access to specific funding programmes tailored to their needs, while larger companies may have access to different funding mechanisms.
  2. Research Focus: The type of research you are undertaking plays a significant role in determining the most relevant funding source. Whether it is R&D infrastructure or research expertise, Ireland’s HEIs, research-performing organisations, and centres of scale offer resources and support for various research areas.
  3. Eligibility Criteria: Each funding programme or initiative may have specific eligibility criteria that businesses must meet to qualify for funding. These criteria can include factors such as location, industry sector, project scope, and collaboration requirements.
  4. Application Process: Understanding the application process and requirements is crucial when pursuing funding opportunities. It is advisable to thoroughly research each funding programme, review the application guidelines, and seek support from relevant agencies or experts to ensure a successful application.


In conclusion, Ireland offers a diverse range of funding opportunities to support businesses at different stages of development and promote innovation. Whether you are a start-up, an SME, or a large company, there are funding supports and mechanisms available to help you drive growth, improve efficiency, and enhance your competitiveness. By leveraging EU funding, collaborating with higher education institutes and research organisations, and accessing funding supports from Enterprise Ireland, businesses in Ireland can unlock their full potential and contribute to the country’s thriving business ecosystem.

As an entrepreneur, venturing into the world of sourcing funding and raising investment can be daunting and that’s where Furthr can help. Furthr has been helping Irish businesses for over 35 years. With a strong presence in the startup ecosystem, Furthr can guide you through the nuances of the start-up environment, helping you to decipher the ecosystem and deliver game-changing impacts for your business. Furthr offers one-to-one and one-to-many programmes to help start-ups at different stages of their journey. For more information visit furthr.ie

If you want to know more about Furthr and how we can support you, please drop us a message at hello@furthr.ie

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