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EI Pledges Graduate Funding

A new funding stream targeting graduate startups has been launched by Enterprise Ireland (EI). The 'Competitive Start Fund for Graduates' will divvy up €500,000 between ten successful applicants and is inviting applications from July 9.

Applicants for funding under the scheme must have graduated with a FETAC level 8 qualification in the last three years.

Applications will only be considered from startups active in manufacturing or the internationally traded services sector. Such activities might include internet, games, apps, mobile, SaaS, cloud computing, enterprise software, life sciences, food, cleantech and industrial products.

Lisa Vaughan, head of scaling and high potential startups at EI, says that the fund is the first of its type for graduates and will provide a package of financial and developmental supports.

She adds: “Applications will be considered on a competitive basis and the financial support will be in the form of equity investment. The support will be towards costs associated with developing the business and achieving key milestones.”

Applicants must not have received equity funding of more than €100,000 prior to the competition closing date and must be pre-trading or recently commenced trading i.e. does not have annual revenues in excess of €60,000.

The awards will be made to ventures that EI considers are capable of creating ten jobs in Ireland and realising sales of €1m within the next three years. The maximum support available is €50,000 for a 10% ordinary equity stake, and this investment shall be released in two equal tranches.

The first tranche will be released to successful applicants only when it provides confirmation of additional new cash investment for equity of €5,000.

The fund will open for applications on July 9 and closes on July 23.

Details of the fund, as well as the application form, are available from http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/graduatecsf. (June 2014)

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