Enterprise Ireland invested more than €28m in high potential start-ups last year, according to the semi-State body.

That is spread across 125 firms - 11 of which emerged from academic research.

It compares to an investment of €48m in 125 firms in 2020.

Of last year's investments, more than €18m of the funding was approved for 82 high potential start-ups, while 43 firms shared €2m from EI's Competitive Start Fund.

Of the 125 companies backed, 40 (32%) were female-led.

Enterprise Ireland's high potential start up programme aims to back start-ups that it believes could succeed on the global market.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

"At Enterprise Ireland, our mission is to help accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to achieve leading positions in global markets, and this means supporting Irish founders and their hard-working teams from the beginning," said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

"We are committed to supporting this drive and ambition, not just with funding, but also with strategic guidance and other development supports," he added.

Details of the 2021 figures comes as it is set to hold its annual Start-Up Showcase 2022 event at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

"Enterprise Ireland has been working closely with start-ups throughout the year to grow their businesses at every stage. We work with entrepreneurs on their growth journey as they build world-class teams," said Jennifer Melia, who is divisional manager of Enterprise Ireland's Technology & Services Division.

"This year we have seen extraordinary resilience and business potential from Irish-founded start-up teams. 2021 was a strong year for Ireland's start-up economy," he said.

"As we emerge out of an incredibly challenging two-year period, it is important to recognise the extraordinary growth and accomplishments of our domestic startups in Ireland," said Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

"I commend anyone across the country who has taken the leap and started a business. I have seen the enormous resilience of Irish start-ups and I admire the tenacity of every Irish entrepreneur leading Ireland towards a future where innovation is front and centre," he added.