Acumen Programme

Enterprise Ireland

Rolling deadline
For profit
Not for profit (incl. NGOs)
Public sector
R&D and Higher Education
Northern Ireland
Employment Organizational Support and Development

The Acumen Programme is a cross-border Business Development Programme designed to stimulate cross-border trade (between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) and develop other forms of commercial co-operation amongst SME's throughout the island of Ireland. Financial support may be provided for

  • Acumen Consultancy: to help companies explore and research the market and how to approach it.
  • Acumen Prospector: to contract an external professional to work on your behalf in the target market place.
  • Acumen Key Manager: contribution to the cost of hiring a new key manager to develop cross border business

Funding for the Programme is comprised of contributions from the International Fund for Ireland, Development Agencies and Participant Companies.

Acumen Consultancy

Where a company wishes to undertake a significant new cross border initiative, Enterprise Ireland can assist them with consultancy support under the Acumen Programme. The types of activity that will be considered for support include:

  • Planning and Implementation of first-time market entry into a new cross border market on the island
  • A Review and evaluation of a company's existing cross border business activities
  • Development and expansion of existing cross border trade opportunity
  • Development of a cross border joint venture or strategic alliance business arrangement.

Acumen Prospector

Under the Acumen Programme there is additional support that refines and enhances the pure consultancy option. Prospector consultancy offers companies an alternative to hiring a full-time person in the target cross-border market. This support assists the company in finding an appropriate contractual representative in the target market and provides critical funding support while the market opportunity is being explored and developed. The prospector proposition is that the prospector should, after an initial period of familiarisation, earn his/her return for the work done, through a contractual arrangement with the company. Acumen involvement will cover the initial period only (before the contractual arrangement/relationship commences) and will, in all cases, last no longer than a twelve-month period.

Acumen Key Manager

Support is provided towards the recruitment of a NEW key manager with skills that are critical for the development of cross-border business.

Maximum Funding Available

Acumen Consultancy: Support up to 50% of the cost of the consultancy or a daily rate of up to €900, up to a maximum of grant €5,000, whichever the lesser. The consultancy period can be spread over six to twelve month period.

Acumen Prospector: Support up to 50% of the cost of the consultancy, or a daily rate of up to €900, up to a maximum grant of €10,000, whichever the lesser. The Prospector consultancy period can be spread over six to twelve month period.

Acumen Key Manager: Support of up to 50% of the key manager’s first year's salary by to a maximum grant of €18,750 (i.e. 50% of €37,500 salary). The level of grant is determined by the size of the company as set out below;

Maximum Funding: The maximum grant funding is 50% of the eligible costs incurred. Receipt of other grants from Enterprise Ireland may impact on your eligibility for support under this initiative.


Enterprise Ireland clients are eligible to apply for Acumen consultancy/Prospector and or Key Manager grant support if they are one of the following:

Manufacturing or internationally traded services SME company employing 10-249 people If you are not already a client of Enterprise Ireland, please contact your Enterprise Ireland Regional Office.

How to apply:

  • Companies must first apply to Intertrade Ireland Acumen Programme Manager for pre-approval.
  • If successful at this stage you must then apply for an Acumen grant from your Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser in the normal way via the Online Application System. Note Pre-approval by IntertradeIreland does not guarantee approval by Enterprise Ireland. Funding decision will be determined by need for funding and performance against previous financial supports.
  • Note: On the online application system you must select Strategic Consultancy Grant for Acumen Consultancy and Acumen Prospector Grants or Key Manager Grant for Acumen Key Manager Grant.

Note: Any expenditure incurred prior to receipt of the application by the Client Service Unit will not be eligible for grant aid.

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19 April 2023