Today in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Government of Ireland, through Enterprise Ireland, and the European Investment Fund (EIF) announced the signing of an agreement to double the size of the existing European Angels Fund Ireland (EAF Ireland) to €40m.
The European Angels Fund Ireland co-invests alongside approved Business Angels in Irish-based internationally trading SMEs and allocates sums from €250K to €4m over 10 years to the Angels, to double their investment into the SME.
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. By increasing the fund to €40m, it is anticipated that up to 100 companies will be supported over the next 10 years.
In recent years, Business Angels have become an increasingly important part of the funding eco-system for Irish SMEs. In 2017 support for Irish Business Angels through the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) totaled 43 investments and provided over €12m for Irish start-up and early-stage companies.
The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD said: “I know that securing appropriate finance is one of the most difficult challenges facing entrepreneurs in the start-up and growth stages of their businesses. For this reason, I am delighted with today’s announcement of the extension of the European Angel Fund. 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. My goal is to develop, through my Department and working with Enterprise Ireland and partners, a financing eco-system that ensures the availability of appropriate finance for businesses and entrepreneurs.”
EIB Vice President Andrew McDowell said: “Doubling the firepower of the European Angels Fund to EUR 40 million will enable Irish Business Angels to significantly increase investment activity and help world-class companies to grow. The EIB Group is delighted to strengthen our backing for business investment in Ireland through the European Angels Fund and expand cooperation between the European Investment Fund and Enterprise Ireland. Through the European Angels Fund, Business Angels can draw on the expertise of Enterprise Ireland and unique network of the European Investment Fund. Innovative companies across Ireland will benefit from an additional funding source that builds on the proven contribution of venture capital financing in Ireland and we look forward to building on the constructive discussion with leading venture capital and growth finance firms today at a round table market discussion in Dublin.”
Kevin Sherry, Executive Director, Global Business Development, Enterprise Ireland said: “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. 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.
This commitment of an additional €20m by Enterprise Ireland and the European Investment Fund recognises the importance of Business Angels and will help to ensure that more Irish companies can access the funding necessary to build scale and expand their reach in international export markets over the next 10 years.”
The fund is now up and running and active and the local subadvisor invites experienced Business Angels to apply via its website at: eif.org/what_we_do/equity/eaf/Ireland.htm