Enterprise Ireland Annual Report and Accounts 2009

Chief Executive Officer's Report (Continued)

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Access to finance

Accessing finance represented a major challenge for companies in 2009. In response, Enterprise Ireland prioritised providing access to finance for client companies through new and existing funding supports and through enhanced co-operation with the main banks.

Financial support to enterprise

In April 2009, the Government established the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund to help viable internationally trading enterprises survive the global downturn. During the year the fund, administered by Enterprise Ireland, approved direct financial support of €68 million to 180 projects across all sectors.

In 2009, Enterprise Ireland approved financial support for 1,460 client companies amounting to €167.4 million.

Enterprise Ireland financial payments to companies in 2009 amounted to €156 million. This included €74 million in share capital investment, €62.8 million in R&D, training and other capability building support, and €19.2 million in capital and employment support for capacity expansion.

Seed and venture capital funds

As well as investing directly in client companies, Enterprise Ireland enters into partnership with seed and venture capital funds to provide equity finance to Irish companies. A €26 million Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund was launched in the last quarter of 2009, and an additional €23 million was invested in the AIB Seed Fund to bring its total value to €53 million. Since 2007, eight funds have been established, raising approximately €525 million.

These investments represent a significant broadening of access to funding for the start-ups and entrepreneurs who will be the employers of the future.

In 2009, 38 co-investments with Irish seed and venture capital funds valued at €29.8 million were completed. In addition, Enterprise Ireland is actively involved in matching international venture capital funds with Irish companies. There were 14 international venture capital investments in Enterprise Ireland client companies during the year.

The Halo Business Angel Network (a joint venture between Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland) was launched in 2009 to develop and foster the growth of private equity and business angel activity in Ireland. Private investors are matched with pre-screened investment opportunities in start-up enterprises. During the year, there were nine investments made by private investors in Enterprise Ireland client companies.

Sustaining jobs

During 2009, 7,443 new jobs were created in Enterprise Ireland-supported companies, bringing the total number employed to 133,523. However, there was an overall net decline of 19,078 jobs.

The Government, through the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation, introduced the Employment Subsidy Scheme (Temporary) to protect jobs at risk, in vulnerable but viable companies with ten or more full-time employees, as a result of the global and financial economic crises. Enterprise Ireland administered the scheme on behalf of the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation.

Under the first round of the Employment Subsidy Scheme (Temporary), a total of €66 million was approved to 455 companies to subsidise 7,275 jobs. As a result these companies committed to maintaining over 34,500 jobs to the 30 November 2010.

In addition, approximately 7,803 jobs were sustained in the companies supported under the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund.

JFC Manufacturing Ltd Logo

JFC Manufacturing Ltd, headquartered in Tuam, Co Galway, announced that it is expanding into South Africa in a joint venture with local plastics design company Accelerate Design Ltd.

"This is a significant step for JFC. South Africa is a large market with massive growth potential. With every downturn, there is opportunity and we don't believe in standing still. The timing is right for JFC to take on the new challenge of growing markets. This new venture is the direct result of working closely with Enterprise Ireland's South Africa team over the last two years."

John Concannon
Managing Director
JFC Manufacturing Ltd