Can my business avail of the €2bn pandemic fund?

Q&A: Amongst several measures announced on Saturday was a fund being overseen by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund

Scheme caters to company’s employing more than 250 staff. Photograph: iStock

On Saturday, the Government announced several measures designed to help restart the economy. While some of those haven't been fleshed out yet, others have, including a €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund which is being overseen by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

What is the purpose of the fund?

The focus of ISIF’s fund is to invest on a commercial basis in medium and large scale enterprises, which are significant employers, and which have been “negatively and materially impacted” by the Covid-19 pandemic.

How is a medium scale enterprise defined?

While measures are being devised to help small businesses, this is not one of them, and caters to company’s employing more than 250 staff or with annual turnover in excess of €50 million. What’s key here is that these business must be able to demonstrate that their business was commercially viable prior to the pandemic, and that they can return to viability when the crisis passes.

Are there any exceptions?

ISIF has said it might consider investing in businesses below those pre-defined levels if they are viewed as being of substantial scale and of significant importance at national or regional level.


Does my business need to operate in a certain sector?

The short answer is no. You may be aware that ISIF has priority themes for its investment portfolio such as regional development, housing, climate change, indigenous businesses and Brexit. But don’t worry if you fall outside those themes where this fund is concerned as ISIF said businesses seeking funds under this regime don’t need to align with those themes.

Why should I seek investment from ISIF rather than other sources?

There’s no hard and fast rule that could answer that question. It’s important to note, the ISIF markets itself as an investor with a long term horizon and “patient capital” in that it will sign up as a non-controlling minority investor.

But ISIF won’t necessarily come to the rescue as the sole investor if you already have backers. The body says that where existing shareholders have capital available, they’ll be expected to meaningfully participate alongside ISIF in any recapitalisation.

If I meet the criteria will ISIF come on board?

It’s not a given. ISIF is keen to point out that a commercial return remains core to its mandate. It is a prudent investor but it still needs to make money.

How do I go about gaining access to the fund?

For a start, and if you meet the criteria or believe that you may fall into the exceptional category, contact ISIF with general information including a description of your organisation, financial information and how the Covid-19 crisis has effected your business.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business