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Enterprise Ireland launches first call under €175m Seed & Venture Capital Scheme

Enterprise Ireland today announced the first call for expressions of interest, from seed and venture fund managers, under its new Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2019-24). The Scheme was announced in October 2018 by the Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation and is aimed at providing substantial additional funding for high-growth Irish companies with the potential to start and scale their businesses from Ireland and thereby drive a significant increase in export sales and jobs.Under the Call, Enterprise Ireland proposes to allocate up to €100m to funds focused in three specific areas. Up to €50m will be available to funds focused on Pre-Seed and Seed investments, supporting Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up strategy, and a further €30m to funds making investments at Series A and beyond in companies seeking to scale. In an important new initiative under this Seed & Venture Capital Scheme, up to €20m will also be made available to funds focused on the Food and Foodtech sectors. 

Enterprise Ireland is seeking proposals from fund managers, both domestic and international, who can bring real added value in terms of commercialisation and connectivity to their investee companies. For those funds focused on the Pre-Seed and Seed Stages of development, under this new scheme Enterprise Ireland can invest an increased maximum of up to 70% of these funds.

The preceding Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2013-19) provided €175m capital for the Irish early stage ecosystem. Since the Seed & Venture Capital programmes commenced in 1994, the investment provided through Enterprise Ireland commitments has leveraged substantial additional external funding and as a result over 500 Enterprise Ireland clients have received in excess of €900m in investment.    

Making the announcement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “Today I am delighted to launch the first call under the €175million multi-annual Seed & Venture Capital Scheme for 2019 – 2024, which I announced on Budget Day last year. The new programme will be oriented towards seed and early stage investments, where there is a very clear market failure. It will actively direct investment to key sectors that have been identified for development as part of overall enterprise strategy and will be closely aligned with other key enterprise support programmes.

“The benefits to businesses of the scheme are twofold. It will provide them with much needed finance during the stages in their business cycle when finance can be extremely difficult to come by. Crucially, it will also introduce young businesses to networks and connections that will provide an invaluable source of mentoring and guidance. This scheme builds on the previous Seed & Venture programmes and aims to develop the flow of high-growth and innovative companies in the economy needed to sustain growth and employment,” she continued.  

Kevin Sherry, Executive Director, Global Business Development, Enterprise Ireland said: “It is now 25 years since the first Seed & Venture Capital Scheme was launched, and in that time we have seen how the successive Schemes have transformed and strengthened the funding ecosystem in Ireland, from business angels to venture funds with a resulting substantial increase in the number of new high growth start-up companies in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland’s support has enabled the venture sector to achieve greater leverage from private investors who recognise the exciting investment opportunities these companies represent, most notably in the ICT and Lifescience sectors. The new Scheme is focused on increasing the availability of that essential early stage and growth capital and addresses equity funding availability within the food sector, further driving Ireland’s reputation for quality and innovation in this important sector.”

ENDS

Contact:      

Conor O’Donovan, Head of Communications, Enterprise Ireland

087 967 1342 / conor.odonovan@enterprise-ireland.com

Nicola Corboy, Press & Media Relations, Enterprise Ireland

01 727 2149 / 086 021 0114 nicola.corboy@enterprise-ireland.com              

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish government agency responsible for the development and growth of Irish companies internationally in order to grow exports and jobs. Enterprise Ireland works with entrepreneurs and businesses to help them to start-up, develop innovative products and services, and scale internationally. Enterprise Ireland facilitates access to international markets through its international office network, supports business strategy and management capability training and provides finance, investment and research expertise. For more information, go to www.enterprise-ireland.com.

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