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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure IE-1998-1/2638 – measures in Ireland

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 January 1998
Context COVID-19, Digital Transformation, Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Reorientation of business activities
– Change of production/Innovation
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 14 November 2022)

Background information

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.

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.

Enterprise Ireland is funded by the national government.

Content of measure

A selection of initiatives is listed below.

'Becoming Lean' programme: 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: 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: targets female entrepreneurs. In 2020 the roadshow theme was '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 and annual membership to  Network Ireland .

Excel at Export Selling training programme: 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.

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.

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 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.

An example of Enterprise Ireland's work is its partnership with Smart Dublin (

Use of measure

In its 2021 report, Enterprise Ireland noted that its member companies employ 207,894 people, which is down from the pre-COVID figure of over 220,000. Other relevant figures for 2021 were reported, namely that:

  • 20,348 new jobs were created, but 8,431 job losses (net jobs gain: 11,911)
  • 125 new start-ups were supported;
  • €61.6 million COVID-19 related funding approved in 341 companies;
  • 139 R&D investments worth more than €50,000.

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.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers SMEs
Importing/Exporting companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions




Eurofound (2022), Enterprise Ireland, measure IE-1998-1/2638 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.