McHugh Encourages Donegal Graduates with Early-Stage Start-Ups to Apply for €500,000 fund

12th April 2018 - Joe McHugh

Donegal TD Joe McHugh, Minister for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, has encouraged recent graduates from Donegal that they may be eligible to apply for the Government’s €500,000 Competitive Start Fund.

The Fund opened for applications on Tuesday April 10 2018 through Enterprise Ireland, and will close a fortnight later on Tuesday April 24 2018.

Mr McHugh, Government Chief Whip, said: “I want entrepreneurial students and graduates to think hard about competing in this €500,000 fund. It will provide up to €50,000 in equity for up to 10 successful applicants.

“This incentive is designed to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets.

“We have a pool of talented and ambitious entrepreneurs in this country, including here in Donegal, who are still in university or recently graduated, and are making valuable contributions to the economy through their start-ups.

“For these entrepreneurs, Government supports like this one are vital. While the funding is crucial, the competition opens the doors to valuable business support and networking opportunities to the business leaders of tomorrow at the start of their journey.”

The Competitive Start Fund is part of the Government’s strategy to increase the number and quality of High Potential Start-Up companies that have the potential to employ more than 10 people and achieve €1 million in export sales within three years.

Mr McHugh added: “I would strongly encourage budding entrepreneurs from Donegal working in manufacturing and internationally traded services such as cloud computing, software, cleantech, gaming, mobile, apps and LifeSciences to check if they’re eligible and consider applying.”

Final year students and graduates with a third-level qualification within the last three years are invited to apply online and prepare an online video pitch.

Full details on the Competitive Start Fund for Graduate Entrepreneurs, including the application form and eligibility criteria, can be found on Enterprise Ireland’s website at


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