Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers is the nationwide programme for ambitious startup founders with an innovative business idea that has the potential to scale and provide employment.
New Frontiers will equip you with the right connections, the right skills, and the right route to capital. We’ll empower you to build a successful and sustainable startup business.
Ready to develop your idea and turn it into a revenue-generating business? This is the right time!
New Frontiers is for founders who:
- Are new to business, have experience in a completely different industry, or haven’t yet successfully scaled a business.
- Want to leave full-time employment and grow their own business.
- Have an innovative business idea in a commercial market with export and employment potential.
- Have experience, expertise, or other direct insight into the sector/industry their business is in.
- Have the drive and ambition required to commit fully to building a successful startup
See our Eligibility Criteria page for more details on eligibility.
How does the programme work?
New Frontiers is a programme of three phases, taking you up to readiness for pre-seed fundraising. Whatever your business idea or sector (our alumni come from sectors as diverse as food and drink, consumer products, engineering, medical devices, pharma, digital media, and cleantech), you will develop a wide range of business skills and get expert guidance from advisors and successful entrepreneurs. All this happens in the supportive environment of a local incubation centre, where you and your fellow participants will be based.
Thanks to New Frontiers, thousands of founders in Ireland have developed their connections, confidence, and capital.
Key features of the New Frontiers programme
Unlike many accelerator programmes, Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme does not take equity in your business. The focus is on developing your founder toolkit, giving you skills you can immediately put to work in your business (for example, customer research, marketing, or financial planning). Key features of New Frontiers include:
- National access via 13 programmes across Ireland.
- A €15,000 tax-free allowance for one co-founder/founder (Phase 2, subject to performance). Founders participating in all three phases experience a support package valued at over €40,000.
- A community of support offering help, advice, collaboration, and feedback when you need it most.
- Understand the Irish startup ecosystem and how it can help you.
- One-to-one mentoring with seasoned business mentors from the Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network.
- Workshops facilitated by industry experts and experienced founders.
- Networking opportunities and introductions.
- Access to R&D facilities and specialist expertise at the institute or university.
- Investment-readiness preparation, including development of a strong business plan.
One programme, three phases
The different phases of New Frontiers bring value at different stages of your startup journey. On each phase, you’ll benefit from a supportive environment in which to discover the proven tactics, core principles, and best practice behind successful startups.
Phase 1 – Part-time evening sessions or weekend bootcamp
Typically held part-time over an 8 to 10 week period, Phase 1 helps you to research and test the market potential of your business idea. These sessions will help you evaluate your idea, understand your customer needs, and identify your value proposition.
- Part-time across weekends or evenings
- You can continue in employment
- A great introduction if you are thinking of applying to Phase 2
- Helps you arrive at a go/no-go decision
Phase 1 is for very early-stage ideas. Some founders may feel that Phase 2 is a better fit for their level of knowledge and stage of development.
Phase 2 – Full-time for six months
Phase 2 is a full-time six-month intensive commitment and places are offered following a competitive selection process. You will discover how to develop and validate your business proposition as you work on your capacities as a founder. You can expect workshops, mentoring, lunch-and-learns, and regular milestone reviews. New Frontiers has been described by alumni as a mini MBA. It gives you access to insights from those who have gone before and will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of startup life.
- A support package worth over €30,000, including a €15,000 tax-free allowance (subject to eligibility and satisfactory performance)
- No equity taken in your business
- Regular milestone review meetings to monitor your progress
- Personalised one-to-one mentoring with seasoned business mentors
- Expert-led workshops in all areas of building a business
- Access to Enterprise Ireland resources such as our Market Research Centre
- Expert advice and guidance from an experienced programme team, investors, and alumni
- Introductions to seed and early-stage capital investment networks
- Free co-working space (during Phases 2 and 3)
- Access to third-level R&D facilities and expertise, including interns and graduates
- Preparation of vital business assets such as a strong business plan
You don’t need to complete Phase 1 in order to apply for Phase 2. However, lots of founders find it beneficial to start with Phase 1.
Phase 3 – Follow-on support and guidance
Having successfully completed Phase 2, participants can apply to Phase 3 of the programme. Additional financial support will be available for eligible participants. During this phase, your are expected to focus on implementing your business plan by bringing your product/service to market and preparing to raise further funding.
- Further support package valued at over €10,000
- Introduction to government and private investment support opportunities
- 3 one-to-one mentoring sessions with Enterprise Ireland mentors
- Co-working space for a further 3 months
Phase 3 is only available to graduates of Phase 2. There are limited places available; completion of Phase 2 will not guarantee a place on Phase 3.