High growth potential start-ups (HPSUs) are companies that, in the view of Enterprise Ireland, can develop innovative technologies, products and services for sale on world markets. Encouraging the establishment and supporting the development of innovation-led HPSUs with a strong export focus is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland and is fundamental to building the next generation of world class Irish companies.
Enterprise Ireland established the Innovative HPSU Fund to support the start-up and development costs of High Potential Start-Up companies. The Innovative HPSU Fund allows Enterprise Ireland to offer equity investment to HPSU clients, on a co-funded basis. This investment goes towards the achievement of an overall business plan, rather than funding towards discrete elements of a business plan, such as R&D or employment creation. The funding of a business plan in this way is similar to a venture capital (VC) approach.
HPSUs that receive investment from the Innovative HPSU Fund are developing and commercialising new or substantially improved technologies, products, processes or service offerings when compared to state-of-the-art in industry players in the European and global marketplace. By their very nature the companies carry a risk of technological or industrial failure and Enterprise Ireland shares the risk with the company and its investors.
ELIGIBILITY: The Innovative HPSU Fund is open to existing Enterprise Ireland clients who qualify as a small enterprise and have been in existence for less than six years and satisfy one or more of the following criteria:
- For companies with no trading record at the time of application, at least 15% of the total operating costs must relate to R&D expenses in the current fiscal year, and/or
- For companies with a trading record, at the time of application, at least 15% of the total operating costs must relate to R&D expenses, in at least one of the three years preceding the application, and/or
- Have an innovative business plan for the development of products, services or processes which are technologically new or substantially improved compared to the state-of-the-art in its industry in the European Community, and which will carry a risk of technological or industrial failure. This will be laid out in a business plan.
FUNDING: The investment decision and level of investment by Enterprise Ireland will be determined following an assessment of the business plan and supporting evidence, and based on the company’s:
- Growth potential
- Potential value to the Irish economy in terms of number and quality of jobs created and exports generated.
- Level of risk
- Quality and innovative aspects of the business plan.
- Achievement of previous milestones or Enterprise Ireland investment targets (for subsequent rounds of funding).
Enterprise Ireland invests in partnership with other investors in an investment round. The promoters will be expected to participate financially in the investment round. The maximum Enterprise Ireland can commit to an investment round is 50% of the investment required.