Software chief calls for more tax breaks for start-ups


18 Nov 2002

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More attractive tax incentives at the seed-capital stage are needed if Ireland is to increase the number of technology start-ups, the head of the Irish Software Association (ISA) has said.

Speaking at the ISA Annual Awards in Dublin on Friday night, Paul O’Dea, chairman of the association said that the future of the Irish software industry, which employs over 30,000 people in high skilled jobs in Ireland, could be greatly enhanced by government initiatives to boost entrepreneurship.

“While the venture capital environment has improved over the last five years, there is a strong need for innovative tax measures at the seed capital stage to encourage more Irish start-ups,” he said.

He called on the Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, TD who was in the audience, to raise the ceiling in his forthcoming budget on amounts which are available to companies under the Business Expansion Scheme and Seed Capital Scheme to €2m.

“Encouraging start-ups and creating the award winners of the future is a win-win situation for the Exchequer in terms of tax revenues and jobs,” said O’Dea. He added that establishing or growing a software company in the current business climate is highly challenging and venture capital funding is proving almost impossible to secure for early start-ups in the sector.

Meanwhile, in the awards presentation, Fineos picked up the main award of the evening. The customer relationship management software provider to banks and insurance companies was judged Company of the Year. Other winners included: Aircraft Management Technologies – New Company of the Year Award; Automsoft – Technical Innovation Award and Network365 – Marketing Innovation Award.

By Brian Skelly