A new €10m International Start-Up Fund is aiming to encourage overseas entrepreneurs to locate start-up businesses in Ireland.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, launched the fund today.
Enterprise Ireland will administer the fund, which will be open to company promoters anywhere in the world, but will be targeted particularly at the Irish diaspora, international expatriates, the “New Diaspora” (people from overseas who have previously worked or studied in Ireland), as well as serial and mobile entrepreneurs.
Key geographical targets will include North America, the UK, Europe and Australia, and the fund will focus on the internet, gaming, med tech, cloud computing and financial services sectors.
The fund will also target investor-ready projects seeking between €200,000 and €500,000, and funding will be in the form of an equity stake taken by the State in the company.
To support the marketing of the fund overseas, Enterprise Ireland will be appointing high-profile, successful Irish entrepreneurs to act as International Start Up Ambassadors. Dylan Collins, the founder of various online games and internet companies such as Jolt and DemonWare, is one of the first to accept the role of fund ambassador.
“I am delighted to be the first international ambassador for this start-up fund," Collins said. "It’s an excellent way to build on Ireland’s position as one of the leading start-up hubs in Europe. If you’re in a start-up anywhere in the world which has international ambition, you need to come and talk to us right now.”
‘We are open for business’
Bruton said the Irish Government’s ambition is not only to turn the country around and get employment growing again, but to once again create a dynamic economy that is the envy of the world and has over 2m people at work.
“This will not be easy, but one key strand of our new industrial strategy will be to create a genuine indigenous engine of growth," said Bruton. "As I have said before, our ambition must not only be to attract the next Google or Microsoft to Ireland, but we must also seek to grow the next Google or Microsoft in Ireland. Indigenous companies provide proportionally more than three times more benefit to the Irish economy than multinational companies.
“Today’s announcement is a direct intervention by Government to create more start-up companies here," Bruton added.
"Across the world, many of the start-up companies which go on to succeed and create jobs are driven by people within a small class of mobile, innovative, serial entrepreneurs. What the Irish Government is saying very clearly today to the international technology community gathered in Dublin is – come and start your company in Ireland, we are open for business, and we will support you."
Bruton also said there is no reason why Ireland shouldn’t be a global centre for international start-ups.
"We already have a growing number of mobile start-ups locating here, and with strong Government supports, a business-friendly environment, a deep pool of skills, as well as all the benefits that come with a base of multinational companies that is the envy of the world”.
Frank Ryan, Enterprise Ireland chief executive, also spoke of the new initiative.
"Stimulating the flow of new high-potential start-ups and supporting their growth are fundamental building blocks in Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for economic growth and job creation. We want mobile entrepreneurs to locate their businesses in Ireland and to see Enterprise Ireland as their dedicated partner.
"The addition of the €10m fund provides a core offering around which the rest of our overseas entrepreneurship marketing and promotion efforts will be centred. The attraction of overseas entrepreneurs to Ireland is an important opportunity to expand our start-up activity and they will significantly add to the diversity and skill-base of the Irish start up community."