Scale Ireland, the independent not-for-profit representative organisation for Irish start-ups and scaling companies, has called on the government to significantly increase the next allocation of funding for Enterprise Ireland’s (EI) multi annual Seed and Venture Capital Scheme to over €300 million in Budget 2024.
Scale Ireland believes it is critical that significant funding is put in place for the next allocation of the Seed and Venture Capital Scheme from 2024-2029. The current allocation of €175m to support start-up and scaling companies from 2019-2024 has already been completely deployed.
The Government, through Enterprise Ireland, made €175m available for the Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2019-2024) to stimulate job creation and support the funding requirements of early-stage innovative Irish companies with global ambitions. The scheme aims to increase the availability of risk capital for start-ups to support economic growth through the continued development of the Seed and Venture Capital industry in Ireland and to create a more robust, commercially viable sector. All funds are independently managed by private sector fund managers who make all decisions on investments.
The CEO of Scale Ireland Martina Fitzgerald said ‘We need to match the ambition of the Government’s White Paper on Enterprise and ensure Ireland becomes a global innovation leader. Enterprise Ireland’s Seed and Venture Capital Scheme has played a critical role in supporting start-up and scaling companies since 1994. However, the level of funding provided by the
government has not increased over the past 15 years. As part of our contribution to the current consultation on the scheme, we are calling for the level of funding for the scheme to be increased to over €300 million. This would also take into account the challenging funding landscape.’
The Chair of Scale Ireland Chair, Brian Caulfield said “It is critical that more funding is also available for 2024. The current scheme and funding round is due to run for a further year, all of the €175m has been deployed. While it is positive that there is a pipeline of companies which have attracted investment, it also creates a challenge in the short term. We need to ensure that Enterprise Ireland remains in a position to continue that work with adequate funding for next year especially given the current funding climate. Separately, we would like to see the scope and approach of the scheme expanded to address the €3-10 million funding gap for scaling companies, which has been identified by the government’.
Scale Ireland’s State of Start-ups Survey 2023 (published in late February 2023) found that funding remains the key concern of founders and company CEOs with 80% finding it difficult or very difficult to raise capital. Enterprise Ireland investment plays a critical role in leveraging additional private sector investment into this important sector of the indigenous economy.