Thursday, 19 May 2022
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Enterprise Support Services
66. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will detail the number of companies in each of counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford that have applied for funding under the Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme in tabular form; the number that have been successful in each county; and the total funding awarded in each county to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24971/22]
76. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of companies in each of counties Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal that have applied for funding under the Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme in tabular form; the number that have been successful in each county; and the total funding awarded in each county to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24973/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 76 together.
On February 9th, the Minister for Finance and I announced the launch of the Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme which has a strategic emphasis on attracting new fund managers to the Irish equity ecosystem and opening new pipelines for finance. This programme is a fund of funds, which is an indirect form of equity financing for SMEs. SMEs will not directly apply for funding through this programme.
The programme, which is being managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF), will provide vital venture capital to innovative Irish companies at seed stage and is an important step in developing and expanding the pool of private capital available to early-stage companies wanting to grow in Ireland.
Totalling €90 million, the programme is made up of a €30 million contribution from the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment through its agency Enterprise Ireland (EI), whilst the EIF will match this investment by providing a further €30 million. The Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) will co-invest a further €30 million. This €90 million, backed by these strong partners, will be an important cornerstone investment and will attract private co-investment.
Essentially, this programme is a pool of funding drawn from multiple sources, that provides capital for specialist fund managers, who will in turn then seek to invest that capital in SMEs from areas that are often less well served across a variety of sectors and regions in Ireland.
The first call for expressions of interest from experienced fund managers was issued in February and closed on April 29th. It is expected that three to four successful funds will receive investment, and they will, in turn, invest in multiple SMEs from different sectors and regions across the State.
The programme partners, EIF, EI, and ISIF, have been processing and screening the applications, in line with the programme’s strategic goals. Once these are fully processed, the plan is to sign at least one fund before the end of 2022 with the remaining agreements to be signed in the first half of 2023. It's not a question of SMEs applying directly to the Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme. Once an agreement has been signed with a fund, the fund will then seek SMEs in which to invest.