CSF Masterclass 2021 by Donncha Hughes Independent Business Advisor

Enterprise Ireland launched the Pre-Seed Start Fund in October 2022 effectively replacing the highly successful Competitive Start Fund (CSF). The Pre Seed Fund provides funding of €100,000 – former recipients of CSF can apply for €50,000. Over the years, CSF has been tweaked and this latest change resulted in a new name along with increased funding. The Pre Seed application is very similar to CSF but there is no video pitch at the shortlisting stage. There also doesn’t seem to be any external assessors involved. I am not at all involved with the assessment of the Pre Seed Fund. I did help a client to apply for the first round. I would imagine that the evaluation criteria are essentially the same. In due course I will probably update my CSF Masterclass online training. But in the meantime, I consider that a lot of the content included in the CSF Masterclass remains relevant to the Pre Seed Fund. What I have done is move all the ‘relevant content’ specifically my thoughts on how to consider answering the questions in the online application, to the FREE preview. So you don’t need to buy the programme at all. Just sign up for a free account to access the free preview.

Update by Donncha Hughes – November 2022

so here is the original article …

Competitive Start Fund (CSF) Update – Early 2022

I was delighted to launch my first online training programme in 2018. The subject matter of the online programme was Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF). EI has tweaked the application process since 2018. So, I am delighted to say that I have updated the programme to reflect changes made by Enterprise Ireland in 2021 and early 2022. The CSF Masterclass is a 90-minute video-based programme for people applying for CSF – €50,000 Competitive Start Fund investment with Enterprise Ireland. It is ideal for startup entrepreneurs who have applied before and were not shortlisted for the Pitch Stage on the basis of deficiencies in the application form.

The pre-recorded video requirement has now been removed by Enterprise Ireland. I have removed that module and added a note to the programme to acknowledge the change. The questions are now asked in written format in the Business Model section.

The other big change since my programme was published is that the Pitch stage is now gone online. EI use Teams. What the panel is looking for has not changed but it is a significant change to the process. So I have added a new video to Module 4 that addresses the Pitch stage. A video interview has been added with a startup promoter who shares his experiences of securing CSF investment at the end of 2021. In this 23-minute video, John explains the timeline involved, the process including questions he was asked at the Pitch stage, and how he and the team prepared for the Stage 2 evaluation. 

The interview with Donncha was recorded via Zoom in March 2022 providing a great update since EI went online with Stage 2 of its evaluation. John had just finished New Frontiers Phase 2 in IT Carlow at the time of the interview. 

Here is the 2-minute promo video…

In recent years, I have written 2 blogposts on applying for the Competitive Start Fund so this was a natural choice for my first online training programme (Cost €50 – create free account to see free preview of the programme).

Check the Enterprise Ireland website for the latest news on Calls

Competitive Start Fund (CSF) Online Masterclass

The online training programme comprises 8 modules across four sections with a total of 90 minutes of video plus other download resources. When you click on the button above you will be brought to my Thinkific-powered online training programme website. You will have to create an account by providing your email – but you can check out some of the content for free before purchase including the Zoom interview with John regarding the Pitch stage! Below is the introductory video (8 minutes) –

I do hope that you check out this online training and my blogposts about Competitive Start Fund (CSF) and/or pass on this link to startup entrepreneurs applying for CSF.

Comments and social shares welcome.


donncha (@donnchadhh)

p.s Comments in the Online Training are those of the author and don’t necessarily reflect those of Enterprise Ireland – Donncha is an independent online Trainer and Business Advisor.

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