Thursday 22 February 2018

New €175m fund will aid IT, life science firms

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

A NEW government scheme will provide €175m worth of funding for fast-growing IT and life sciences companies.

The money will be awarded by Enterprise Ireland to venture capital funds, which in turn will invest in businesses. The Government intends that these private investors will pump in another €525m alongside the state-provided funds.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton says that this kind of private sector matching of funds is realistic and that private investors provided €3 for every €1 invested by the Government in a recent similar fund.

The Department of Jobs is now inviting expressions of interest from venture capital funds for the first €100m and advertisements will appear in newspapers from this weekend on.

It will take a number of months before money starts to be allocated.

The scheme is part of a series of new funding drives that the Government says will provide Irish business with a total of €2bn in non-bank lending, including €850m for small and medium enterprises funded by the National Pension Reserve Fund and €450m in a credit guarantee scheme for businesses.

"In the last year we've seen 2,000 new jobs per month and analsyis shows that two-thirds of these came from companies under five years of age, so it is absolutely vital that Ireland creates the environment and financial infrastructure that will allow young dynamic companies to grow rapidly," said Mr Bruton at the launch yesterday.

The Department of Jobs says the scheme will benefit hundreds of Irish companies, generate tends of millions in additional export sales and create thousands of jobs.

However, the minister confirmed that some of the money available in the last round of funding was not used.

He also defended the €25m worth of grants awarded by the Government to Apple and Google, two of the wealthiest companies in the world, and said that grants had always been a feature of jobs policies.

Irish Independent

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