A new Irish arm of a global not-for-profit organisation that aims to support high-potential entrepreneurs in growing their business has launched in Ireland, backed by U2, businessman Denis O'Brien and developer Paddy McKillen Sr amongst others.

Endeavor will select between four and six Irish businesses or entrepreneurs each year who will take part in the body's programme.

They will first have passed through a start-up phase and have shown an ability to expand rapidly, with the potential of scaling at least ten times their current size.

This will see them provided with networking opportunities, connections to talent and mentors, as well as access to funding.

The body will work with existing enterprise agencies and within the existing entrepreneur ecosystem across the island, north and south.

The Irish board will be chaired by U2 guitarist, The Edge. 

Other board members will include Digicel boss Denis O'Brien, developer Paddy McKillen Sr, Atlantic Bridge founder Elaine Coughlan, Anne Heraty from CPL Recruitment, chief executive of Ding, Mark Roden and Alan Foy, the Group CEO of StarBlue.

Speaking at this afternoon's launch, The Edge said U2 had for some time been looking at how it might use its influence to help in this area.

"This is about enabling home grown entrepreneurs to scale up," he said.

He added there is a ceiling that entrepreneurs reach when they first enjoy a level of success and they often end up selling too early.

This is because they do not have access to the right advice to push through on their business and expand, and it means a loss of jobs to Ireland and a loss of economic benefit, he claimed. 

Endeavor Ireland will be self-funded by the Irish based directors initially with a long-term funding plan set to be put in place. It will be led by investment director Rory Guinan. 

The Dublin office will open at the end of November and will be its fifth in Europe. 

The organisation was set up in 1997 in the US by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Keller. 

Since then it has expanded to 36 markets and has assisted over 1,200 companies, which collectively have revenues of $20 billion. 

Endeavor and Enterprise Ireland board member, Elaine Coughlan, said from her perspective, anything that improves access to a global world is a positive. 

"No one company or no one agency can have a monopoly on relationships," she added. 

Asked if individuals and organisations, like U2, who choose to pay tax outside the country were to pay tax here instead it would help negate the need for an organisation like Endeavor, The Edge said U2 is an international business.

"We therefore pay tax all over the world and we do pay tax all over the world and are very happy to do so," he said.

"But I would say also that we are very proud of the contribution we've made to the Irish economy over many years and the contribution we've made to the profile of the country. And that is what we are focused on," he added.