Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow have secured €3m from Enterprise Ireland to operate the New Frontiers entrepreneur development programme in the south east over the next five years.
The New Frontiers programme is for potential entrepreneurs who have a business idea or an innovative technology that has the potential to be developed into a scalable, high-potential start-up company.
The two institutes are working together to create a technological university for the south east.
The funding will allow the two institutes to work with over 400 early-stage entrepreneurs over the five-year funding period. 95 of the high-potential entrepreneurs will receive a payment of €15,000 each to participate in New Frontiers.
The programme will be delivered at the ArcLabs innovation hub in Waterford and the ERIC incubation hub in Carlow. It is now taking applications from entrepreneurs and innovative business start-ups.
The intensive training and support programme also includes desk space, mentoring, business master classes and networking.
"Enterprise Ireland is proud to offer such a critically important-programme like New Frontiers which will be delivered by IT Carlow and WIT, " commented Brian Fives, Senior Regional Development Executive at Enterprise Ireland.
"New Frontiers is Enterprise Ireland's national entrepreneurial development programme and by combining practical advice, mentorship and funding, it can help reduce the risk and dramatically increase the chances of success, for aspiring start-up entrepreneurs," he added.
The New Frontiers Programme Manager at Waterford Institute of Technology, Eugene Crehan, said the programme is designed to help ambitious individuals bring their business idea from concept to successful start-up.
He noted that recent participants have gone on to attract significant funding after New Frontiers.
These include Immersive VR Education, who raised €6.7m on the London and Dublin Stock Exchanges in 2018 and recently closed a €9m funding round, while OmniSpirant received €9.4m in the Disruptive Technologies Fund 2020.
"Having strong, innovative, regionally-based export companies is vital to balanced economic development and creating high value jobs into the future. Through this partnership The South East New Frontiers Programme provides a critical platform to support entrepreneurs, talent, innovation and investment in the region," Mr Crehan said.
Gemma Purcell, the New Frontiers Programme Manager at Institute of Technology Carlow, said that IT Carlow has been delivering such programme since 2007.
It has already been responsible for the creation of numerous successful enterprises in the region such as MicroGen Biotech and Seed Golf, both international sucess stories.
She noted that Microgen Biotech raised $5.1 m in Series A funding and has been selected as a finalist of the 2021 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year competition.
Seed Golf has customers in 34 countries and is currently raising €1m through crowdfunding and direct investment, she added.