Ireland announces E9m VC fund

Enterprise Ireland and Enterprise Equity Venture Capital Group are each to contribute E4.5m to a regional venture capital fund.

Ireland’s Ministry for Enterprise, Trade and Employment today announced a new E9m venture capital fund to support existing companies and early stage start-ups with high export growth potential in the country's West and Border Counties.

The fund has received E4.5m in backing from Enterprise Ireland (EI), the Irish government's enterprise development agency, and Enterprise Equity Venture Capital Group, the private venture capital group based in Galway that will manage the fund.

Mr Conor O'Connor, chief executive of Enterprise Equity, said: 'Investments will be made by way of equity investment in companies and normal commercial criteria will apply. We plan to invest average sums of between E250,000 and E1.35m in individual projects. Larger investments can be facilitated through syndication'.

Making the announcement Mary Harney, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, said: 'This new fund is part of the roll-out of a major injection of liquidity into the venture capital market by EI. EI is investing E95m in twelve new VC funds which will leverage an estimated E400m in private sector funding for start-up and early stage businesses.”

Enterprise Equity provides venture capital to new and expanding businesses in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo. More recently the company's remit was extended to the west of Ireland. It was set up in 1987 by the International Fund for Ireland as a commercial venture capital company.