The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Enterprise Ireland have signed an agreement to launch the €20m European Angels Fund Ireland (EAF Ireland) which will double the investment capacity of approved business angels and other non-institutional investors investing in internationally oriented SMEs.

The fund will co-invest with approved Irish Business Angels in Irish-based internationally trading SMEs with investments ranging from €250K to €4m over 10 years. In recent years, Business Angels have become an increasingly important part of the funding eco-system for Irish SMEs and in 2015, Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) supported Irish Business Angels made 40 investments totalling €8.8m in Irish start-up and early-stage companies.

CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon, said: “The funding ecosystem in Ireland has seen the range of supports increase exponentially in recent years helping companies accelerate growth and increase business at home and overseas. I warmly welcome the launch of this new co-investment initiative between the European Angels Fund and Enterprise Ireland which will provide investor expertise and ensure that Irish companies can access the funding necessary to expand and grow exports over the next 10 years.”

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Enterprise Ireland in launching the EAF in Ireland. Business Angels can benefit from significant financial support for their investment activity while maintaining maximum freedom to operate. Through the European Angels Fund, Business Angels can draw on the expertise and network of the European Investment Fund. In addition to our support for micro-companies and larger innovative SMEs with Enterprise Ireland we are pleased that another funding source can be made available in Ireland for the benefit of Irish businesses which can further develop the Irish venture capital and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’ Connor TD said: “I am acutely aware that one of the most important tasks for entrepreneurs, and also one of the biggest challenges in the start-up or the expansion phase is to secure financing. There are already State supported initiatives in place such as the Employment and Investment Incentive and the HBAN Programme which promote equity financing. This new Fund will enhance the financing environment further in order to develop and grow businesses which will create employment. I want to see a broad spectrum of finance options, matching the different stages of an enterprise’s development, and business angels play a key role in supporting entrepreneurial performance.”

The fund is now up and running and active and the local subadvisor invites experienced Business Angels to apply via its website at: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/equity/eaf/Ireland.htm

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