Graduates 4 International Growth – For Companies

How will Graduates 4 International Growth Benefit My Company?

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support

The objective of Graduates 4 International Growth is to assist companies with ambitious growth plans in key markets to acquire a graduate market research resource and possible future business development capability.

Companies that are supported will create one or more entry level graduate market researcher position(s). Graduate market researchers will work overseas for a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 12 months to complete a project related to companies’ growth plans in the overseas market.

Graduates will work within an infrastructure that supports them, both in their development and in the completion of this project, for the duration of the programme. Prior to the overseas element of the programme, Graduates will spend 6 months in Ireland. During this initial induction period, Graduates will attend 12 days of skills modules delivered by the IMI while working with companies. On completion of the G4IG programme, Graduates will have attained a prestigious academic award (a Postgraduate Diploma in International Business Development) equivalent to 60 credits on the National Qualifications Framework awarded by University College Cork.

G4IG Offers Your Company:

  • An opportunity to recruit the best graduate talent
  • Assistance from Enterprise Ireland to advertise and attract graduates
  • By bringing a graduate into your company through the Programme, you will have the opportunity to expand your business and to gain market research for a potential market
  • The G4IG programme enables SMEs to compete with larger companies in attracting capable young graduates through a national Enterprise Ireland campaign
  • The programme assists companies address new market opportunities; expand existing market opportunities or introduce new products in to existing markets with the assistance of a competent/developed and supported graduate
  • The involvement in this programme is financially supported by Enterprise Ireland for successful client companies as follows:
  • Grand aid towards the graduate employment for 18 months (to include a minimum 6 months overseas placement and block release to attend IMI programme)
  • Support for the training costs in the IMI
  • The IMI will provide structured outreach support to graduates while overseas, through distance learning platforms and regular Skype calls to monitor progress
  • The IMI will provide a one-day training session to in-company mentors on hwo to link the learning the graduate receives in the IMI to achieve best results for the company in delivery of their project in line with company KPIs
  • The company will be provided with access to a recruitment system to support the attraction, recruitment and shortlisting of graduates; which will drastically reduce normal attraction/recruitment costs
  • The programme will grow potential young management capability for Irish SMEs in export markets


Is My Company Eligible?

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support

G4IG Graduate employment cannot commence until Enterprise Ireland has confirmed that the company’s application has been approved.

Eligible Companies:

G4IG is open to all manufacturing and internationally traded services companies (1)

In addition to the above, companies must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • Have a minimum of 10 employees;
  • Have a turnover of at least €1 million;
  • Be generating sales for at least 2 consecutive years

Company Project Support:

Projects submitted by eligible companies will be grant-aided to receive full or partial funding available under G4IG subject to:

  • A Company De Minimis limit of €200,000 over 3 fiscal years (i.e. have an available De Minimis balance ( – please discuss with your Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser
  • The number of projects submitted by a company approved for support
  • SMEs can be supported for up to two graduates to a maximum of 50% of agreed eligible expenditure up to a maximum of €30k per graduate
  • Additional projects may be partially supported (Training Grant only)
  • Large companies can be supported for one graduate to a maximum of 50% of agreed eligible expenditure up to a maximum of €30k
  • Additional projects may be partially supported (Training Grant only)
  • All companies must identify a suitable company mentor

Ineligible Companies:

  • Food companies and/or food ingredient companies with graduate projects targeting foods for human consumption, or horticulture companies, are ineligible. Bord Bia provides alternative programmes for graduates in this area
  • Companies who have received High Potential Start Up Funding in the past 3 years


How do I Apply?

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support

Company Application Process

Companies should contact their Development Adviser in advance of submitting an application.
Guidelines and application forms for companies are available on the Enterprise Ireland website.

The application form must be submitted through this online application process.

A pre-requisite to the company submitting an application is that the company has a clearly developed project related to the company’s growth plan in an overseas market.

Following the approval of company application by Enterprise Ireland’s Investment Committee, the company can then progress the shortlisting and interviewing of graduates and offer stage. This process will be supported by Enterprise Ireland via


Success Stories

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support

  • Many companies are repeat users of the programme.
  • Over 60% of companies have employed their graduate on a permanent basis on completion of the programme.

Validated client feedback where companies have made a direct link between the G4IG graduate and business impact:

  • Company A: €150,000 new business in India
  • Company B: over €200,000 new contracts in UK, Spain, and Germany
  • Company C: First Pharma contract in the US – initial value $20,000
  • Company D: €145,000 in new UK business with an additional €650,000 added to the sales pipeline
  • Company E: Two engineering project tender wins in the UK totaling over €50 million
  • Company F: Increased UK new business by 200%
  • Company G: 4 tender wins for the provision of telecoms engineering in the UK market– total value over €7 million
  • Company H: Construction project tender win in the UK – Value €80 million
Xtratherm, Meath

What has been the impact of the programme for your company (exports/new markets explored)?
The graduates assisted in the development of a number of new and existing export markets, specifically Australia, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, and Norway. The company has commenced doing business in two new markets, Australia and Sweden.

Was it useful for your company to have a recent graduate working with you?
As a company we have found it very useful, it allowed the company to review new market possibilities. This involved initial desk research by the graduates, presentations of their findings to the Management Team and follow up visits to the markets in some cases.

How have you found the experience?
The programme has overall been a good experience. The graduates have played an important role in supporting the company’s new business development efforts and have assisted in commencing business in two new markets.

P & S CIVIL WORKS LTD, Stradone, Co Cavan

What has been the impact of the programme for your company (exports/new markets explored)?
Our company was only newly established in Scotland when we took part in the G4IG Programme. At that stage, we had limited knowledge about the markets and our suitability at fitting into an industry in a new country. Without the G4IG programme we would not have correctly explored our visions, UK company structure, branding, website and overall presentation of the company visually or personally. We would not have been in a position to attend various meet the buyer events which are important networking occasions and assist in identifying key influential personnel within our business. The candidate in the programme allowed our company to explore and consider all sectors surrounding our business rather than focusing on current projects and the tasks involved to complete successfully.

Was it useful for your company to have a recent graduate working with you?
Our graduate was exceptional in their ability, and quickly became part of the management structure which was formed for the Scottish market. Her commitment towards assisting the company reaching goals and targets was exceptional and ensuring the correct people were involved during the delivery.

How have you found the experience?
Our company has benefited from the experience by realising there are many aspects of the business which need to be considered when developing for a new market which requires continuous improvement and should be never be assumed complete.

Any other additional comments?
We are privileged to have been part of the G4IG programme. Our candidate brought a wealth of knowledge with her to the business from her own experience and the various courses attended in Enterprise Ireland, which we learned from and thankfully adapted in many areas which have resulted in a company who is experiencing great success in Scotland.

Trinity Fund Admin, Blackrock, Co Dublin

What has been the impact of the programme for your company (exports/new markets explored)?
The graduate programme has led to a number of positive developments for our company. While it is difficult to directly quantify the impact, the company’s marketing strategy has been able to add a number of new strings to its bow thanks to the skills and enthusiasm our graduate brought into the company. Our graduate has assisted us greatly in our efforts to expand into new markets in Brazil, Russia, and the US. In-depth research of the market participants, setting up meetings for the marketing trips as well as follow up and lead generation work are all part of our graduate’s weekly tasks.

Was it useful for your company to have a recent graduate working with you?
Our graduate, Marie Claire brings numerous ideas from her recent course learning to our monthly marketing meetings, many of which have been put into practice. She also takes a very thorough approach to learning about the industry and the various participants which operate in it, together with the many new regulatory changes and responsibilities which fall on our company as a result.

How have you found the experience?
As a small company working on a very limited budget, it has enabled us to explore many different avenues in terms of business development, research and explore new markets and maintain a regular and informative output of market and company information that would not have been possible otherwise.


In-Company Mentor

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support


The potential of graduates is huge, they have grown up in a world of information, they know how to get information and apply it. Theirs is a global community and their willingness to take risks, try new things, and propose new ideas and ways of doing things is of huge benefit to the companies that employ them. It is in this context that the benefits of mentoring are outlined.

The overall objective of mentoring the graduate is two-fold:

  1. It is a condition of this grant support that the company assigns a mentor to the graduate
  2.  It is to enable the graduate to contribute to your company quickly, become effective in their role and gain success.

Being a mentor is not an unnecessary, expendable task. It is an important task which can be very rewarding and can have a profound impact on the graduate and the company.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring provides new graduates who may have less experience in the workplace with regular and objective feedback, valuable insight and support. They act as a confidential sounding board to the graduate and help them with any questions and generally become their ‘go-to’ person.

Company Benefits of Mentoring a Graduate

Some of the many benefits of mentoring a graduate include:

  • Enhancing strategic business initiatives
  • Encouraging retention – people who are mentored stay in a job / company longer
  • Reducing turnover costs
  • Improving productivity

Selecting a Mentor

When selecting a mentor try to select an experience employee who is naturally helpful, good with people and has the desire to help a graduate to manager their career and transition into your company.

Of course the mentor likely has a full-time job themselves however, the relationship offers reciprocal benefits for mentors willing to invest their time in developing another professional. As well as the personal satisfaction of sharing their skills and experience with a willing learner, being involved in mentoring also provides some tangible benefits that can reward mentors professionally.

  • Recognition as a subject matter expert
  • Satisfaction in sharing expertise with others
  • Exposure to fresh perspectives, ideas and approaches
  • Opportunity to reflect on own goals and practices
  • Development of personal leadership and coaching styles

To reap the benefits of mentoring will require that protégés and mentors are carefully matched. Mentoring is a shared job. The mentor is not solely responsible for creating a successful mentoring relationship. The graduate being mentored needs to be flexible, hones, open and receptive to feedback and insight. The graduate also needs to be willing to give the mentor feedback and talk about what is or isn’t working well in the relationship.

Benefits to the Graduate

The mentor experience is a very valuable and effective development opportunity for a graduate. Being offered the guidance, support and encouragement of a trusted and experienced mentor can offer the graduate a range of personal and professional benefits which will ultimately benefit the company through improved performance in the workplace.

Benefits include:

  • Develop a sharper focus on what is needed to grow and be successful within the company
  • Learn from a mentor’s real-world experience
  • Learn specific skills and knowledge relevant to achieving goals
  • Insider’s perspective on how things work in the company
  • Someone to bounce ideas off
  • Someone to provide impartial advice
  • Receive critical and timely feedback
  • Assist in career decisions


IMI Programme Structure and Content

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support

As part of the G4IG Programme graduates will attend the IMI and obtain a Level 9 Post-Graduate Diploma in International Business Development.

The programme is funded by Enterprise Ireland.


International Growth Strategy (4 days)

  • International Business Competency Development
  • Generating Awareness and Customer Acquisition
  • Strategic Positioning
  • Continuous Intelligence Gathering
  • Building Resilience with Emotional Intelligence

International Market Penetration (4 days)

  • Routes to Market
  • Strategic Selling
  • International Buying & Sales Process
  • The Effective Leader & Manager (1)

International Cultural Awareness & Skills (4 days)

  • Competitive Selling and Account Management Skills
  • International Presentation and Communication Skills
  • Cross-Cultural Understanding
  • The Effective Leader & Manager (2)

International Market Execution (2 days)

  • Scoping the Integrated Company Project
  • Financing International Growth

Capstone Module: Integrated Company Project (1 day)

  • Integrated Company Project Presentations

Attendance at all modules is mandatory

The course will be delivered onsite at the IMI, Dublin 16 and will commence in September 2017.


About the IMI

IMI has built a firm reputation as Ireland’s leading provider of Graduate Development Programmes. The programmes harness the potential of graduates and stretches them to deliver real value from the outset of their careers. The IMI is currently developing over 600 graduates from over 30 countries in the IMI for companies such as Kerry Group, Civil Service, Musgrave, Aryzta, Dublin Airport Authority, Glanbia and Ornua. Their experience, expertise and collaborative approach enables the delivery of a best-in-class programme for Enterprise Ireland that directly addresses the requirement for a bridge between the academic and professional world of work for graduates.

Established in 1952 to raise the standard of management practice in Ireland, the Irish Management Institute (IMI) has worked throughout its 60 year history with Ireland’s industry leaders to equip them with global best-in-class leadership competencies and tools to execute at the forefront of their sectors and industries.

In November 2016, IMI merged with University College Cork (UCC). This merger follows on from five years of a successful Strategic Alliance between IMI and UCC and cements a shared ambition to advance managerial education in Ireland by enabling organisations and individuals to fulfil their potential through world-class executive education.

IMI nonetheless remains a membership organisation. The members reflect a spectrum of Irish industry, from start-ups to the world’s largest multinationals.

Thousands of senior executives attend developmental programmes at IMI annually, ranging from NFQ level 9 Masters and Diploma qualifications to one and two-day master classes. IMI also acts as a “business partner” for organisations that are looking to align comprehensive learning and development strategies to support the execution of business growth strategies.


5 Great Reasons for a Graduate to work for an SME

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support

Enterprise Ireland’s SME clients are a key component of the Irish economy and crucial to economic recovery. They are drivers of entrepreneurial activity, innovation, export market growth, competitiveness, and employment.

While SMEs are often smaller in size by comparison to large companies and multi-national corporations, SMEs can offer many benefits to graduates in their career due to their size.

5 Great Reasons . . .

  1. The job role is broader and more varied. SMEs tend to be less rigid in structure and job roles are usually less defined. In SMEs, the approach is more hands-on, giving graduates more exposure and responsibilities. This offers graduates more opportunities to develop their skills in a broad range of roles which might not be possible to do in bigger companies. As a result, the graduate will broaden their skill set and plump up their resume further.
  2. There’s often less emphasis on hierarchy, which can create an open work environment – graduates may have greater opportunities to interact frequently with middle and senior management. Working in closer proximity with management allows graduates to share thoughts and ideas and give feedback on company matters.
  3. Better communication between graduate and management can help the graduate to get their work done and receive recognition for it.
  4. Go further, faster. The bigger the company, the more competition there is. Hard work in an SME will not go unnoticed, especially if the graduate has proved their worth. Graduates who started working for SMEs often realise that they make more of a contribution to the company than their peers in large organisations.
  5. Everybody knows your name….the smaller workforce in SMEs means that the culture is more personable and is often more informal and friendly. Everybody generally knows everybody else and there is fewer office politics involved.


FAQs – Get Answers

Attract Top Talent – Access New Markets – Get Financial Support

What is the definition of a graduate?

A graduate is someone who has graduated within the last two academic years i.e. they have been awarded their degree either in 2015, 2016 or 2017.

What qualifications does the graduate need to have?

The graduate must hold a Level 8 degree which is an honours degree with a minimum grade of a 2:2.

Can my graduate work from our head office in Ireland for the duration of G4IG but I will ensure that they are working on an overseas market?

No. The graduate must spend at least six months consecutively and up to 12 months in an overseas location.

My graduate will travel over and back to the market but will not be based in the market at all times, does this qualify?

No.The graduate must spend at least six months consecutively in an overseas location. For the remaining six months, the graduate may travel over and back.

I want a graduate with language skills for Germany/another market where English is not the first language. How do I hire a graduate with language skills?

Your job specification will define the language skills you need. As part of the application process, graduates will be required to demonstrate language proficiency where required. Appropriate language capability is deemed to be (1) equivalent of the language component in a mixed undergraduate degree i.e. marketing and languages or (2) a native speaker.

I hired two graduates earlier this year and before the call for G4IG – I qualify under the criteria – can I claim funding retrospectively for these graduates?

No.G4IG is only open to graduates hired through the G4IG offer.

Can I hire more than one graduate?

SMEs can be supported for up to two graduates to a maximum of 50% of agreed eligible expenditure up to a maximum of €30k per graduate. One additional project may be partially supported (Training Grant only, subject to approval).

Large companies can be supported for one graduate to a maximum of 50% of agreed eligible expenditure up to a maximum of 30k. Up to TWO additional projects may be partially supported (Training Grant only, subject to approval).

My graduate won’t be able to attend all modules of the course – is there flexibility on this?

No.Graduates must be released to attend all modules of the Diploma course. Overall, there are 15 working days dedicated to the course.

Who should I nominate as a mentor for the graduate?

It is preferable that the mentor is from a business development function. They will need to allocate time to mentor the graduate on your business needs and be available for questions and direction particularly when the graduate is overseas.

Prior to the start of the programme, the IMI will hold a training/induction session for the in-company mentor on the mentoring and remote management of the graduate.

We had planned to send our graduate to the US (or another market) but we can’t secure a visa – can the graduate work from Ireland? Will this impact our employment grant?

The organisation of visas is a matter for the company and Enterprise Ireland do not have any role in this. The Programme rules state that a Graduate must work overseas for six months, therefore your company may not be paid the full salary grant if the student does not work overseas for any reason. In the case of certain barriers, the graduate will be allowed to work from Ireland, only while the issue is being resolved.

I want to hire a graduate. How will the salary grant be paid?

The G4IG grant is payable in two moieties. The 1st moiety is payable when the Company has entered into a written contract of full-time employment with a Graduate for a period of at least 18 months.
The 2nd moiety is payable upon completion by the Graduate of 18 months full-time employment in the Company. A key condition of the grant agreement is that the graduate is placed in the overseas markets for a minimum of six months while completing a project related to your company’s growth plans.

What proof does Enterprise Ireland need that the graduate was overseas?

Copies of the employment contract for the graduate employee on which subsidy is being claimed. The contract should be dated and signed by both the company personnel representative and the employee.
A Director’s statement outlining duration and location of the graduate overseas is required to draw down the second moiety of the employment grant.

Payslip and proof of payment; A copy of the final payslip for the employee and proof of payment i.e. Bank Statement and relevant payroll.

A signed Director’s statement declaring the details of the graduate placement.

Does Enterprise Ireland set the salaries?

No.It is up to each company to negotiate the salary with their chosen candidate.

Who will pay for the graduate’s flights to the overseas country?

It is your responsibility to negotiate this with the graduate.


Contact Details

If you are an Enterprise Ireland client company, please contact your Development Adviser. If you are unsure of who your Development Adviser is please go to the Enterprise Ireland website to find their contact details.

This website uses cookies to improve our website, provide more personalised services to you and analyse our traffic. To find out more information about our use of cookies please read our Cookies Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.