Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

It's central to growth throughout the island

Alternative funding methods from venture capital and business angels are essential if the economies in both Northern Ireland and the Republic are to grow.

That was the conclusion of the 12th annual InterTradeIreland (ITA) Venture Capital held in Dublin yesterday which also found that venture-backed companies grow quicker and create more wealth and employment than other businesses.

Drew O'Sullivan, Lead Equity Advisor with cross-border ITA, said there's no shortage of available funding

"There is a substantial amount of seed equity funding. In Ireland we are seeing approximately 40-50 deals a year, each from €500,000 to €1million, which is almost triple the level three years ago. There are also several accelerator funds that are working to get early stage companies off the ground," he said.

"For longer-term funding requirements, there is interest in the commitment of €500 million by the National Pensions Reserve Fund to three new long-term funds to provide equity, credit and restructuring investment for Irish small and medium-sized companies," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"We also look forward to the launch of the two new £60m development funds in Northern Ireland. It is a good time to be seeking equity across the island."

Martin Cronin, chairman of InterTradeIreland, said the sector is booming. "InterTradeIreland continues to see a buoyant venture capital and business angel sector as essential to a strong growing economy."