Business angels are a crucial part of the funding ecosystem in Ireland.
The Government of Ireland, through Enterprise Ireland and the European Investment Fund, has signed an agreement to double the size of the existing European Angels Fund Ireland to €40m.
The European Angels Fund Ireland co-invests alongside approved business angels in Irish-based, internationally trading SMEs, and allocates sums from €250,000 to €4m over 10 years to angel investors, to double their investment into SMEs.
‘Doubling the firepower of the European Angels Fund to €40m will enable Irish business angels to significantly increase investment activity’
– ANDREW MCDOWELL
The first €20m of the fund is now fully allocated, following agreement with nine Irish business angels, who have invested in 20 early-stage companies to date.
“The extended fund will enhance the existing financing environment for more entrepreneurs, enabling their businesses to develop and grow, and ultimately leading to the creation of employment,” explained the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD. “My goal is to develop, through my department and working with Enterprise Ireland and partners, a financing ecosystem that ensures the availability of appropriate finance for businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Helping angels to fly
By increasing the fund to €40m, it is anticipated that up to 100 companies will be supported over the next 10 years.
“Doubling the firepower of the European Angels Fund to €40m will enable Irish business angels to significantly increase investment activity and help world-class companies to grow,” said European Investment Bank vice-president Andrew McDowell.
In recent years, business angels have become an increasingly important part of the funding ecosystem for Irish SMEs. In 2017, support for Irish business angels through the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) totalled 43 investments and provided more than €12m for Irish start-up and early-stage companies.
In recent days, Siliconrepublic.com reported how HBAN is creating a new €10m fund that will be led by women angel investors. The fund is now up and running, and the local subadvisor invites experienced business angels to apply via its website.
“Building a strong funding ecosystem at each stage of the funding journey for start-ups is of critical importance to the success of Enterprise Ireland client companies,” explained Kevin Sherry, executive director in charge of global business development at Enterprise Ireland.
“The availability of angel funding at the essential early stages of a company’s development provides both essential capital and hugely valuable industry experience to support companies through this early phase of growth. Enterprise Ireland is very encouraged by the strong take-up of the funding to date amongst the angel community and can already see the positive impact first-hand through the accelerated growth and development of Irish businesses.”
Updated, 9.03am, 12 November 2018: This article was updated to clarify the role of Andrew McDowell at European Investment Bank.