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The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD and the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD launched a new €90m fund for Irish start-ups yesterday at Trinity College Dublin’s Tangent Ideas Workspace for student entrepreneurs.

By investing in several underlying venture funds, the Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme will provide vital capital to innovative Irish companies at the crucial seed stage and will be an important step in developing and growing the Irish equity ecosystem.

Investment will be targeted and prioritised in areas such as regional development, climate change and female entrepreneurship. It will focus on sectors that have experienced difficulty in attracting early stage investment including:

  • Lifesciences;
  • Healthcare & Pharma;
  • Fintech;
  • Technology & Digitalisation;
  • Food & Agri-Tech;
  • Sustainability & Climate Change; and
  • Women-Led Enterprises. 

Launching the Programme, An Tánaiste said:

“This is about backing Irish entrepreneurs and their ideas at an early stage, giving them a much-needed boost from the beginning. We’re looking for companies working in a number of areas we’ve identified as strategic opportunities for Ireland but have traditionally struggled in attracting early-stage investment, including Lifesciences, Healthcare and Pharma and those working to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.“One of my three priorities as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is to get to the point where we’ve 2.5 million people at work in Ireland by 2024, which would be the highest level of employment we’ve ever had in the country. This Fund is an important part of that, we have to reward those creating the jobs of the future and help them reach the next stage of development.“I’m particularly pleased to see that there will be a focus on women led enterprises. We’ve traditionally seen a deficit in funding go to start-ups with female leadership teams and I think we need to correct that imbalance.” 

 

Minister Donohoe said:

“I am very pleased to announce the launch of the €90 million Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme today. This Programme will increase early-stage funding for SMEs and is an important step in supporting our indigenous, high innovation enterprises to reach their full potential.The Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme brings together three experienced partners in SME funding, each allocating up to €30 million - the European Investment Fund, Enterprise Ireland and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund participating as a co-investor.The growth of indigenous business is a cornerstone of our economic model and working together, these funding partners will deliver an ambitious programme which will support our SMEs now, and as they innovate for future growth.”

 

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said:

“Since Enterprise Ireland first established our programme of venture funding in Ireland over 28 years ago, the landscape has evolved significantly.  Over that time, we have committed €630m to venture funds that have, to date, supported more than 750 Irish companies. “In our new strategy Leading in a Changing World we have committed to further accelerating entrepreneurship in Ireland. We are delighted to launch this important €90m programme with the European Investment Fund and ISIF to support innovative, early-stage companies, driving future jobs and economic growth.”

 

A first call for proposals under the programme will launch later this week on the European Investment Fund website.

 

The fund programme will be led by Enterprise Ireland, with the European Investment Fund acting as fund manager and will be structured as a fund of funds.

 

A fund of this size, backed by these three experienced partners is an important step in developing the equity ecosystem in Ireland. It aims to attract both new fund managers and new private investors to crowd-in further private equity investment into Ireland.

 

The fund programme, totalling €90 million, will be made up of a €30 million contribution from the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, whilst the European Investment Fund will match this investment by providing a further €30 million. The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will seek to co-invest with a further €30 million on selected investments. 

 

This information was taken from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.