Scale Ireland State of Startups Survey 2023

Scale Ireland, supported by Microsoft Ireland, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, Atlantic Bridge, PorterShed, Science Foundation Ireland and Spark Crowdfunding, will host their second annual Regional Summit on 25th February 2023.

To coincide with the Summit, Scale Ireland launched a ‘State of Start-ups’ Survey to gauge the sentiment offounders around the country under the headings of economy, employment, taxation, state assistance, gender and climate.

248 start-up founders and CEOs completed the survey, which comprised of over 20 questions.Interestingly, one of our key findings was around sustainability, where 66.9% say do not have a sustainability plan, down from 70.4% in 2021.

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Key Findings

The findings provide valuable information and insights about the challenges facing founders and the sector at this critical time. A summary of the key findings is listed below.

Difficult to attract capital.

More than half of the CEOs and founders surveyed (51.6%) considered funding to be their biggest challenge in the last year, (up from 47% in 2021) while 80% of respondentsfelt it was difficult or very difficult to attract capital.

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Difficult to recruit & retain staff.

35% of start-ups have found it more difficult to recruit or retain staff in 2022, down from 45.7% in 2021. And while 40% of start-ups have lost staff in the last year, 22% of start-ups have let staff go.

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State supports remain unattractive.

Uptake of state supports remains unattractive with 83.1% of respondents not availing of the KEEP share options scheme (up from 77.8% in 2021), and 66.1% not availing of the R&D Tax credit (similar to 2021).

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State supports remain too complex.

While 73% of those who availed or looked at availing of the Employment Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS) found the process difficult or not easy. 49% of respondents found the R&D Tax Credit scheme complicated.

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Pre-Seed Fund is an improvement.

Almost two thirds of respondents (62.5%) found Enterprise Ireland’s new Pre Seed funding will improve the environment for start-ups.

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Cost of living impacting business.

12% of respondents identified the cost of doing business as the biggest issue facing start-ups. 65.7% said inflation or cost of living issues had impacted their business.

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