The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, have unveiled a new €90-million fund for Irish startups at Trinity College Dublin’s Tangent Ideas Workspace for student entrepreneurs.
The newly launched Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme will invest in several underlying venture funds to offer vital capital to innovative Irish companies at the crucial seed stage. This will be an important step to develop and grow 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 life sciences, healthcare and pharma, fintech, technology and digitalisation, food and agritech, sustainability and climate change and women-led enterprises.
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.
The fund programme, totalling €90 million, will be made up of a €30 million contribution from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and 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.
Talking about the new programme, the 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 life sciences and those working to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”
"We will have 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,” he added.
Minister Donohoe said: "The 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. It 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.”
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