Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said today that a major new venture capital initiative established by Invest Northern Ireland would help to boost private sector growth.
The Minister was commenting on the introduction of two new sources of finance which will support young innovative companies to accelerate their development.
Arlene Foster said: "Many of our young innovative companies with high growth potential have historically experienced difficulty securing funding from other sources because, whilst they may potentially offer high rewards, they are viewed as high risk.
"The introduction of new potential funding sources, which will be a combination of public and private sector monies, will fill a gap in the local venture capital market and ensure that early stage companies do not suffer from lack of investment.
“As the existing Northern Ireland Spin Out fund has shown, there is strong demand for financing in the £50,000 to £250,000 range locally. The introduction of a new Co-investment Fund, which will typically offer capital in the £250,000 to £450,000 range, and a Development Fund, which will operate in the £450,000 to £2million deal size, will allow local companies to attract funding at a level appropriate to their needs.”
As part of Invest NI’s wider Access to Capital strategy, these various elements will become part of a Fund of Funds, which will be managed in a way that will allow recycling of funds, flexibility between different elements, and access to additional funding. It is intended that further elements, including a loan fund, may be added to this suite of funding in due course.
The Minister concluded: "Encouraging and supporting the growth of our private sector is a key aim of the Programme for Government. Our entrepreneurs need to be supported to grow their innovative companies to scale and compete successfully in global markets. The establishment of this substantial pool of funding will give them access to the capital required to do so."