It was announced last week that the Government of Ireland, through Enterprise Ireland, and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have signed 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.
Speaking last week, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys 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."
Executive Director, Global Business Development at Enterprise Ireland, Kevin Sherry said, "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."