04/11/2003

Start-up companies create 3,600 jobs in Ireland in three years

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Mary Harney, has hailed Ireland's indigenous small business sector as "critical to economic success".

Inside three years, 84 new high potential start up companies supported by Enterprise Ireland have generated sales of euro 250 million, exports of almost euro 93 million and have created 3,600 jobs in the process.

The Tánaiste was speaking at the recent presentation of the Mallin/Invest Start-up Award in DCU, which is designed to encourage and promote entrepreneurship in the University.

"This demonstrates quite clearly that not all new jobs are created by large multinationals locating their business in Ireland and underlines the important role played by the indigenous small business sector in the Irish economy," said Ms Harney.

The Tánaiste also paid tribute to DCU for the role the University has played in supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship: "Although this Award is only in its second year, 50 business plans of a very high standard were submitted by members of the DCU community. Alumni, researchers, graduates, postgraduates and campus companies were all amongst those with entrepreneurial spirit and ambitions to establish their own companies. Furthermore, DCU's new incubation centre for start-up companies has been in operation for two years and already 21 companies are developing the products and services here. That record speaks for itself.

"The benefits of close collaboration and interaction between higher education and industry are well recognised in this country. Indeed, the college campus has been identified internationally as an ideal location for high-tech, start-up companies. Early stage technology companies have a huge potential to grow and the academic community plays a major part in their success."

Emphasising the government's commitment to fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation among third level students and graduates, the Tánaiste said that Enterprise Ireland fund's Third Level Business Incubation Programme had started a special programme to provide incubation space for early stage biotechnology companies in universities and teaching hospitals.

"The Universities and Institutes of Technology have a key role to play in building a supportive environment for business growth. Their contribution to innovation development improves the business climate and influences the conditions in which growth is achieved. I am confident that the InVent Centre will continue to foster creativity and innovation, and that it will contribute to the growth of Ireland's knowledge-driven economy," the Tánaiste added.

(SP)

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