County Longford has become the first County in Ireland to launch its own private equity fund in an effort to attract further inward investment to the County. The fund is being made available through a County based Business Angel Network which will be affiliated to the Halo Business Angel Network, the all-island umbrella group for angel investing in Ireland. The Network comprises 20 individuals, most of whom have family or business connections to Longford, who have each agreed to invest €50,000 to create a €1,000,000 fund available for investment in new high potential start-ups looking for seed capital – indeed many Angels are prepared to invest in excess of that sum in the right business idea.
The dominant eligibility criterion in order to qualify for investment is that the new business must be prepared to locate in County Longford. Also on offer to potential entrepreneurs is a start up package including free business mentoring, accountancy advice and rent free periods.
The fund was launched on April 28th 2011 by Sean Gallagher, well known entrepreneur and star on the popular TV show on RTE , the Dragons Den. Speaking at the launch Mr. Gallagher welcomed the initiative as the first of its type in Ireland. He expressed his enthusiasm for the proactive approach taken by business leaders in the community to move away from negative sentiment and focus on the positives of the region. He added that, ‘the availability of a seed capital fund at a time when many new businesses are struggling to access necessary start up capital is most welcome and should help to give Longford competitive advantage over competing locations. Local communities like Longford need to reinvigorate themselves and they need to create new wealth by attracting and nurturing job creating enterprises. The fund being launched here today coupled with the business start up package on offer provides budding entrepreneurs with a real opportunity to turn their ideas into viable businesses”.
The Business Angel Network is the first initiative of the Longford Business Forum which was recently established in order to raise Longford’s business profile and proactively promote the County as a viable location for inward investment.
Chairman of the Longford Business Forum, businessman Padraic Ward said that “the Forum consists of local business people working together motivated by a realisation that if the local business community wants to bring further business, wealth and jobs to the County, in the current economic climate, this can only be achieved through harnessing the wide ranging skills, connections and resources which exist within the business community. The Forum’s aim is to show a wide audience that we are a pro business County with self designed support mechanisms and packages available for potential investors”
Also speaking at the launch was James Morgan, a chartered accountant specialising in business consultancy who is both a member of the Forum and one of the 20 Angels willing to invest in new start ups. “The Angels are all successful business people with experience in a variety of sectors including agri business, healthcare, accountancy, manufacturing, food processing and retail. The Angels are prepared to not only invest their money in new projects with good growth prospects but also to offer their knowledge and expertise which will no doubt prove invaluable to new business ventures”
The Business Forum members would be happy to meet anyone with a high potential business idea who might be looking for equity funding. Initial contact can be made by telephoning group member Michael Nevin on +3534333 42757 or by email to info@longfordbusinessangelnetwork .com.