Enterprise Ireland to help create 1,500 jobs
Development agency Enterprise Ireland will help 102 Irish startups to create 1,500 new jobs over the next three years, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said.
Last year 81 startups were aided by its Competitive Start fund, which gives early-stage funding to new businesses.
Mr Bruton said the agency has been at the heart of a journey "moving away from the sort of speculation that was rewarded to focusing on enterprise."
"Moving away from property to focus on innovation, moving away from debt to focus on competitiveness, that's what's at the heart of the success that I think Enterprise Ireland is now creating," he said.
Mr Bruton said a CSO report showing Ireland was the fifth most expensive EU country in which to live in 2013 was a residue from the Celtic Tiger years "when we were the second most expensive country in Europe".
"In the intervening years our rate of inflation has come down much more rapidly than the rest of Europe so we are improving our ranking. In terms of our competitiveness generally, our unit wage costs have improved by about 20pc and the growth of a lot of Irish companies is off the back of a much more competitive base," he said.
Separately, the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) announced that Irish SMEs raised €401m from venture capital investors in 2014, a 41pc jump on 2013.
"The Irish venture capital community continues to be the main source of funding for Irish innovative SMEs both through direct investment and as the local lead investor for international syndicates who invested €200m in this period," IVCA chairman John Flynn said.
Around an eighth of the funds came from Silicon Valley-based investors, which IVCA director general Regina Breheny called "a tremendous validation of Irish technology."