New Frontiers


New Frontiers at AIT and Maynooth University

We can help you develop and test your business and build a strong case to secure equity investment.

The AIT-Maynooth New Frontiers programme – working in close partnership with the Enterprise Ireland team and the Local Enterprise Offices in the region - has built a reputation for helping start-up ventures to attract investment and move to the next level. Over the past two years, participants on our programme have amassed no less than eight Competitive Start Fund (CSF) awards from Enterprise Ireland. Each CSF award is worth €50k and is an excellent vehicle to ensure there is space and funds to grow the business in the early stages. Our participants have also been significantly supported by the LEOs in the region.

As well as a Programme Manager, the AIT-Maynooth programme team includes an Enterprise Development Manager whose focus is on preparing participant projects to secure High Potential Start-Up funding from Enterprise Ireland and investment from private sources – with a significant track record of success.

Our CSF and HPSU successes – as well as our strong relationships with the LEOs in the region - are great quality validation of the AIT-Maynooth programme which continues to evolve and improve.


What is New Frontiers?

New Frontiers is an Enterprise Ireland programme aimed at supporting the establishment and growth of technology or knowledge intensive ventures that have the potential to trade internationally and create employment in Ireland.

Phase 1 lasts approximately six weeks and is part-time in nature – typically entailing one evening session per week and includes a weekend bootcamp (Friday evening and all day Saturday). The programme facilitators will introduce the group to relevant start-up strategies, challenge each participant’s business idea and encourage participants to demonstrate market validation of their proposed product or service. Participants who complete Phase 1 will be encouraged to apply for Phase 2 of New Frontiers 2018.

Please note that participation in Phase 1 is not a prerequisite to applying for Phase 2.

Phase 2 includes Enterprise Ireland funding support for each participant, subject to rigorous and frequent assessment of performance and progress. Phase 2 participants, who must be working full-time on their venture, engage in a series of interactive workshops and 1:1 supports addressing all aspects of accelerating the development of their business. Phase 2 participants are provided with start-up facilities in the Midlands Innovation & Research Centre at AIT or in MaynoothWorks at Maynooth University.

Phase 3 is a period of flexible support, helping successful participants towards investment and expansion.

    We are now open for applications to AIT-Maynooth New Frontiers 2018.

    Interested in Applying ?

    For more information, please contact Nick Allen, Programme Manager, at:

    090-6483043 or email

    See schedule below for New Frontiers 2018.

    Event Date
    Phase 1 Applications Close 22nd June 2018
    Phase 1 Start July 2018
    Phase 1 End August 2018

    Phase 2 Applications Close
    31st August 2018
    Phase 2 Programme Start October 2018
    Phase 2 Programme End March 2019

    Who should apply?

    The programme can help you if you:

    • Can demonstrate the capability and commitment needed to develop a sustainable business.

    • Are ambitious, intending that your enterprise will achieve turnover greater than €500,000 and create more than five jobs in three to five years.

    • Plan to build your business on a strong foundation of innovation and/or technology.

    • Can provide evidence of a commercial market for your proposed product or service.

    • Propose setting up an enterprise that is a manufacturing or internationally traded services business, or a new domestically traded service business with the potential to trade internationally. The AIT-Maynooth New Frontiers programme is open to applications from a diversity of sectors including:

      • Food & consumer products.
      • Information & communications technology.
      • Engineering & electronics.
      • Medical devices.
      • Biotechnology, pharma.
      • Digital media.
      • Eligible internationally traded services.

      What does New Frontiers provide entrepreneurs?

      • Training in all areas of business development including financial management, market research and validation, business process, business planning, patenting, product development, sales training, raising funds.

      • Mentoring from experienced business advisers and practitioners.

      • Office and other business incubation facilities.

      • State-of-the-art business start-up facilities at AIT and Maynooth University.

      • Strong linkages with Enterprise Ireland and with the LEOs in the region.

      • €15,000 six-month financial support from Enterprise Ireland for participants on Phase 2.

      • Networking with peer entrepreneurs.

      • Support in winning CSF and HPSU funding from Enterprise Ireland.

      • Introductions to seed and early stage capital investment networks.

      • Access to entrepreneurship best practice, both national and international.

      • Peer-group learning from New Frontiers participants in the region and from across the country.

      • Access to Enterprise Ireland’s market information centre.

      • Access to the expertise, facilities and resources of AIT and Maynooth University.

      The Programme

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

      Phase 1 - Testing Phase 2 - Developing Phase 3 - Implementing


      Provide knowledge and skills to test business idea


      Intensive development of promoter and business proposition
      Developing and testing business model
      Learning to pitch the business
      Developing an investable business plan


      Determine viability of the business
      Pursue funding opportunities


      6 weeks
      No stipend


      6 months


      No stipend


      Preparation of promoters for intensive planning phase


      Fully explored business proposition
      Viable and tested business model
      Milestone-based implementation plan and business plan


      Sustainable business entry to Enterprise
      Ireland or Local Enterprise Office process
      where appropriate

      * Any income tax liability will be the sole responsibility of the participant, and individuals are encouraged to seek professional advice.

      Phase 1 - Testing the business

      The first phase will be part-time over a six week period and will help you to validate the market potential of your business idea. These evening (and a weekend) workshops will provide information and general start-up training, allowing you to tease out the feasibility of your business idea and to see whether a viable proposition exists.

      Phase 2 - Planning the business

      Following a competitive application and selection process, committed participants who have a strong value proposition and can demonstrate that their business 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 on the programme including workshops, mentoring and regular reviews. Using these supports, 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 on the programme / in the development of your business. To facilitate this, you will receive up to €15,000 financial support from Enterprise Ireland subject to satisfactory development reviews.

      The aim of Phase 2 is to support you in your development of an investor-ready business proposition.

      Phase 3 - Developing the business

      On the basis of their potential to develop sales and/or secure investment and/or create jobs, businesses emerging from Phase 2 will then be guided to the government supports that can best accelerate the development of their business.

      A key objective of the AIT-Maynooth programme is to increase the number of Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Ups in the region.


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