Picture caption: Western Development Commission CEO Tomás Ó Síocháin, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD and Western Investment Fund Manager Gillian Buckley.
• Western Investment Fund started in 2001 with €31 million – now worth €73 million
• Companies supported by the fund directly or indirectly employ 5,300 people
• Economic impact of companies supported by fund is estimated at €3.3 billion
A unique fund set up 20 years ago to invest public money in West of Ireland-based businesses has generated a return of almost two-and-a-half times its original value and helped provide Ireland’s economy with a €3.3 billion boost, new research has revealed. An analysis into the socio-economic impact of the Western Development Commission’s Western Investment Fund was carried out for the WDC by Indecon, Ireland’s leading independent economic research and consultancy organisation.
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”. It has achieved a financial return on investment of almost 2.5 times its original Exchequer allocation of €31.75m: the fund is currently valued at €73m and has been self-financing since 2010.
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.
The research found that companies supported by the investment fund have achieved major global success in their markets with companies clocking up an estimated €1.6 billion in exports and collectively spending €396 million on Research & Development (R&D) in the region.
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.”