Santa Cowen expands BES

6 Dec 2006

It’s good news for Ireland’s indigenous technology and science sectors as the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen TD said this afternoon that the Business Expansion Scheme (BES) will be expanded for a further seven years.

Cowen said the scheme, which has benefited hundreds of small businesses and was due to expire on the 31 December, had been reviewed at his request.

The ceiling of the BES scheme has been doubled from €1m to €2m.

In addition, the annual limit for investors has been raised from its old limit of €31,750 to €150,000.

The annual investor limit for the BES sister scheme, the Seed Capital Scheme, has been put at €100,000.

Cowen said these changes would require approval from the European Commission and that the total cost to the exchequer next year would be €25m.

By John Kennedy and Gordon Smith