Enterprise Ireland opens latest call in scheme to boost seed funding

22 Mar 2021

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Up to €82m is available for venture fund managers, both domestically and internationally, that are investing in Irish companies.

Enterprise Ireland has opened up the third call for expressions of interest in the agency’s Seed and Venture Capital Scheme.

The scheme is open to venture fund managers focused on early-stage investments, such as backing pre-seed, seed and Series A rounds, supporting companies in Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-up programme and scaling companies.

Operated under the €175m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme that runs between 2019 and 2024, up to €82m is available to funds in this call. Applications are open until 7 May.

‘The availability of that essential early stage and growth capital will help the next generation of ambitious Irish companies’

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, said the scheme will provide a “significant boost to the funding available” to early-stage companies in Ireland.

“Our indigenous enterprise sector is a major employer and a crucial part of our economy,” Varadkar said. “It’s been a really difficult year for many. This is part of an overall package that is in place to help Irish business recover, and indeed flourish, post-pandemic.”

The scheme goes some way to addressing early-stage funding shortfalls for Irish start-ups. Recent figures from the Irish Venture Capital Association showed a stark decline in funding for younger companies during 2020 when investors instead shored up their bets in existing portfolio companies.

Enterprise Ireland has invested in four Seed and Venture Capital Schemes since 1994 and provided €561m in funding, which has led to a further €1bn in external funding being deployed.

Leo McAdams, divisional manager of finance and investment services at Enterprise Ireland, said more than 740 Irish companies have benefitted from this scheme so far.

“This sustained investment has been a catalyst for the growth and evolution of Ireland’s funds ecosystem as a whole,” McAdams said.

“We’re inviting applications for both domestic and international fund managers, who can bring added value in terms of commercialisation and connectivity to their investee companies,” he said.

“The availability of that essential early stage and growth capital will help the next generation of ambitious Irish companies that are just starting out and will further bolster Ireland’s world-leading reputation for quality and innovation in this important industry.”

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin