Gillian Buckley named as chair of Irish Venture Capital Association

26 Aug 2020

Gillian Buckley. Image: Irish Venture Capital Association

Gillian Buckley has been elected as chair of the Irish Venture Capital Association – the first woman to be appointed to the role in the organisation’s 35-year history.

Today (26 August), the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) announced that Gillian Buckley will be taking on the role of chair, following an election within the organisation.

Buckley will be the first woman to serve as chairperson of the association in its 35-year history. She takes over from Neil McGowan, director of MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland, who has completed his term in office.

Buckley is currently an investment manager with the Western Development Commission (WDC), which is headquartered in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon.

WDC was set up as a statutory body to promote social and economic development in the west of Ireland, covering the counties of Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. It operates a seed and venture capital fund focused on counties in the region.

First female IVCA chair

The IVCA is the representative organisation for venture capital and private equity firms in Ireland. According to an independent report from Dublin City University earlier this year, Irish venture capital and private equity firms have invested €5bn in Irish SMEs since 2003, and through syndication have attracted a further €3bn in funding from international firms.

Buckley will bring 25 years of experience in investing, managing and advising SMEs across a range of sectors to her new role with the IVCA.

She joined the WDC to establish its investment fund, negotiating the original €32m exchequer allocation with the Government before devising a strategy that has allowed the fund to become self-financing since 2010. Buckley has also overseen the investment of more than €60m into around 200 SMEs, community and micro enterprises.

Commenting on her election, Buckley said: “It’s an honour to be elected the first woman to chair the Irish Venture Capital Association. It should be noted that the four most senior roles in the association of chairperson, director general, vice-chair and manager are now held by women.

“The programme for Government recognised the strategic role that venture capital has to play in the Irish economy in these challenging times and post-Brexit. The Irish Venture Capital Association looks forward to working in partnership with Government to further develop the sector to support more world-class start-up and scaling Irish companies.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic