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Firms get €50m fund to break into new markets

THE Government is to spend €50m on a new fund to help businesses expand into new markets.

The State will put the money into two funds as part of a new plan called the Development Capital Scheme. The funds will be managed by Enterprise Ireland and are expected to be leveraged up to be worth €150m by the summer.

No investors are lined up at present, but Enterprise Ireland boss Frank Ryan, said his organisation was confident it would secure the required capital to get the funds up to the €150m target.

Launching the scheme yesterday, Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said the scheme was aimed at medium-sized companies that are looking to expand their business.

"In contrast to many other countries, we have a shortage of large indigenous companies in manufacturing, technology and services. Mid-sized, high-growth Irish companies in these sectors often do not grow to their potential, often because of a lack of access to the right kind of finance," he said.

Although Mr Bruton emphasised the scheme was not based purely on replacing bank lending -- the investors will also provide guidance to firms trying to break into new markets -- it is "aimed at addressing a funding gap for mid-sized, high-growth, Irish businesses with significant prospects for growth and job-creation".

The Government is specifically targeting manufacturing and technology firms, as well as high-growth trading services companies in engineering, food, life sciences and electronics.

Those businesses will typically have 60 to 160 staff. Potential investors have until July to put money into the fund.

Irish Independent