According to analysis carried out by economic research organisation, Indecon, the Western Development Commission’s Western Investment Fund has given the Irish economy a €3.3 billion boost since it was first established 20 years ago.
Indecon says the fund has provided “an impressive contribution to economic activity in the western region and has made a significant contribution to the national economy”.
The fund, it says, has achieved a financial return on investment of almost two and a half times its original Exchequer allocation of €31.75 million, has been self-financing since 2010 and and is currently valued at €73 million.
The WDC Investment Fund provides seed and venture capital and loan finance to companies and community projects across Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare. It co-invests with private sector investors on a commercial basis and all returns are reinvested back into the region.
The contribution of companies supported by the fund to Ireland’s economy since 2001 is estimated by Indecon to be almost €3.3 billion.
In terms of employment, the research found that at least 5,300 jobs are supported by fund-supported companies or enterprises when economy-wide impacts are considered. Through the payment of taxes, companies have contributed more than €276 million to the State.
Commenting, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD said: “I welcome this report which demonstrates the very significant and positive impact that the Western Investment Fund has had on the western region over the past two decades, in terms of creating jobs and economic prosperity.
“The fund has time and time again provided essential finance to businesses at crucial stages in their development. This has resulted in highly impressive returns for the taxpayer and an ongoing legacy of success and growth for west of Ireland-based businesses and community enterprises”.
Commenting on the success of the fund, Gillian Buckley, Investment Manager at the WDC, the statutory body that promotes economic activity in the western region, said: “The fund has proved a very patient investor and even though investment is a calculated risk, the report shows the very impressive impact it has had on the region. A great number of supported companies have reported that they would not be here today if it was nor for the early-support of the fund which has helped businesses to leverage further funds”.
Tomás Ó Síocháin, Chief Executive Officer of the Western Development Commission, added: “The remarkable success of the fund over 20 years is to have changed the culture around investment in the region, to help develop key sectors like MedTech and in doing so, to use the profit on investments to re-invest in new business and to lend to communities across the region”.