AIB Seed Capital Fund announced

2nd July 2007

Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin T.D Launches Enterprise Ireland Supported €30m AIB Seed Capital Fund

Fund to Invest in Start-up and Early Stage Businesses in Ireland

Today (Monday 2nd July 07) Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin T.D launched the AIB Seed Capital Fund. The €30m fund is the first to be established under Enterprise Ireland’s Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2007-2012, launched by Minister Martin in May 2006.  AIB and Enterprise Ireland are equal partners in the fund, each investing €15m.

Making the announcement the Minister said:
“I am delighted to announce the establishment of the €30m AIB Seed Capital Fund. This fund is specifically targeted at companies in the early stages of development and will make available essential finance for innovative start-up and early stage Irish companies, throughout the country.”

“I would like to congratulate AIB Bank and Enterprise Ireland on working in partnership together to create this €30m fund and I appreciate the commitment and the significant work involved in bringing this fund to fruition. The fund is to be managed by Dublin Business Innovation Centre and Enterprise Equity, who both bring a wealth of investment expertise and regional knowledge” the Minister added.

Welcoming the Ministers announcement Donal Forde, Managing Director, AIB Bank said:
“The AIB Seed Capital Fund initiative is aligned to AIB’s SME development strategy, which has seen the Bank support other successful Venture Capital Funds. AIB is particularly pleased to partner on an exclusive basis with Enterprise Ireland in this initiative. The overarching objective of the Fund is to support entrepreneurship and provide risk capital to help develop competitive internationally oriented businesses in Ireland.”

Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland added:
“The AIB Seed Capital Fund announced today, as part of Enterprise Irelands €175m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2007-2012, will be a vital contributor to the development of a commercially viable and sustainable Seed and Venture Capital industry in Ireland.”


Notes to Editors

Profile of the AIB Seed Capital Fund
The AIB Seed Capital Fund is the first fund to be established under the €175m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme. In 2006, AIB was selected by Enterprise Ireland to partner with them on an exclusive basis to create a €30 million Seed Capital Fund.  The selection was made as a result of AIB’s participation in a competitive tender process.

The average initial investment to be made by the fund will be in the order of €250,000 but smaller investments of c€100,000 will also be evaluated.  The Fund has an economic life of seven years and it is expected that it will make in the region of 50 to 60 investments. The investment strategy of the fund will be focused on early-stage businesses, particularly high potential start ups in knowledge intensive sectors.

AIB’s position in the business banking market is evidenced by independent research (MRBI) which confirms that “AIB has a relationship with one in every two of the estimated 250,000 Irish SME’s” – making it Ireland’s largest business bank. AIB supports SME’s by providing finance for credit worthy and performance related projects.  In 2006 AIB’s total lending to Irish business exceeded €30bn, up over 30% on 2005 levels.

Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2007-2012
Enterprise Ireland is investing €175m in a new round of Venture Capital funding, which will create an estimated overall investment of €1bn in start-up, early stage and development stage businesses. This scheme was announced in May 2006.