About New Frontiers

New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme, delivered at local level by Institutes of Technology and funded by Enterprise Ireland. If you have an innovative business idea and are planning to establish and run your own company, the New Frontiers Programme can provide you with help and support to accelerate your business development and to equip you with the skills and contacts that you need to successfully start and grow your company.

How does New Frontiers benefit entrepreneurs?

  1. Training in all areas of business including financial management, market research & validation, business process, patenting, product development, sales training.
  2. Mentoring from experienced business advisers and practitioners.
  3. Office space and other business incubation facilities.
  4. Up to €15,000 tax-free scholarship to cover your full-time participation in the course (paid to the participant, not the business).
  5. Networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and business development agencies.
  6. Introductions to seed and early-stage capital investment networks.
  7. Access to entrepreneurship best practice – both national and international.
  8. Peer group learning from participants in the region and across the country.
  9. Access to the expertise in Enterprise Ireland through our Market Research Centre.
  10. Expertise from the Institutes of Technology and the supportive environment of their business incubation centres.

Launched in February 2012, the Programme’s primary purpose is to accelerate the development of sustainable new businesses that have strong employment and growth potential and contribute to job creation and economic activity in regional locations.

Programme detail

New Frontiers is a three-phase programme, designed to provide an integrated and comprehensive set of business development supports to participants.

Phase 1: Testing your business idea

Held part-time over an 8-10 week period, Phase 1 will help you to validate the market potential of your business idea. These weekend and evening workshops will provide information and general start-up training, allowing you to evaluate if your idea can be turned into a viable proposition.

Key benefits are:

  • Two evenings per week for 8-10 weeks
  • Business validation and market research workshops
  • Peer to peer networking and learning
  • You can continue in your current job
  • Improve your chances of accessing Phase 2
  • De-risk your business model
  • Arrive at a go/no-go decision

Phase 2: Business planning

Following a competitive selection process, committed participants who have a strong value proposition and who can demonstrate that their business proposition has potential to grow and create jobs may be offered a place on Phase 2. If successful, you will receive intensive support for six months to develop both your own skills and to work up your business proposition. This will entail full-time participation in workshops, mentoring and regular reviews. Using this support, you will fully detail and validate your business proposition and identify potential customers, sales channels and funding options. You must be available for full-time participation in this six-month course. To facilitate this, you will receive up to €15,000 in funding, subject to satisfactory performance and development reviews. The aim of this phase is to support you in the development of an investor-ready business plan.

Key benefits are:

  • Full-time incubation support for 6 months
  • Grant of up to €15,000 for the participant
  • No equity taken from your business
  • Develop a strong business plan
  • Comprehensive and intensive mentorship and coaching
  • Peer to peer networking and learning
  • Access to R&D facilities
  • Hot-desk and other incubation facilities
  • Web hosting and support from Amazon worth $15,000
  • Access to Microsoft’s BizSpark platform for software developers worth €100,000

Phase 3: Business development

Businesses emerging from Phase 2 will be guided to the most relevant government support that can best help them at their particular stage of development. Further incubation facilities and support may be available to participants for a limited period, in conjunction with ongoing support from the Incubation Centre Management team.

Key benefits are:

  • Full time for 2-3 months
  • Further hot-desk and incubation facilities
  • Introduction to government and private investment opportunities
  • Delivering on the business plan

Am I eligible? Who should apply?

The New Frontiers Programme is for entrepreneurs from early-stage startup companies in Ireland. The programme is open to applications over the age of 18, from a range of sectors including food & consumer products; information & communication technology; engineering & electronics; medical devices; biotechnology; pharma, digital media; cleantech/renewable energy and eligible internationally-traded services. Ideal candidates:

  • intend to establish a manufacturing or internationally-traded services business OR a new domestically-traded service business with the potential to trade internationally.
  • are ambitious and have the capability and commitment needed to develop a sustainable business.
  • are growth-orientated – planning to achieve turnover greater than €500,000 and create more than five jobs in three to five years’ time.
  • will develop a business that is built upon on a strong foundation of innovation and/or technology.
  • can show evidence of a commercial market for the proposed product or service.

Is New Frontiers for me?

To help you decide if New Frontiers is the right programme for you, we’ve put together some short videos sharing the thoughts and advice of previous New Frontiers participants:

How do I apply?

The first step is to register your interest with your nearest participating Institute of Technology. You can do this using our simple online form. A Programme Manager will get in touch to discuss your project and you will then be sent an application form. (Please note: no applications will be available from or considered by Enterprise Ireland.)

If you believe that you are capable of building a sustainable new business, creating employment and generating revenue in your locality, act now and apply for a place on Ireland’s largest entrepreneur development programme!

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Enterprise Ireland's national entrepreneur development programme Register your interest