Western Development Commission has been awarded ‘Best Regional Investment Promotion Team’ in Europe by Capital Finance International (CFI). The award recognises the organisations exemplary work in establishing the Western Investment Fund (WIF) and its contribution to the region’s socio-economic growth and development.
The Western Investment Fund provides equity finance and loans to business, communities, strategic initiatives and the creative industry based in, or moving to, the Western Region in Ireland.
Speaking about why the Western Development Commission won this award, the Jury said;
“WDC operates according to the belief that communities are stronger working together. It relies on evidence-based research to co-create positive socio-economic impacts throughout the region. It targets organisations with long-term vision and the capacity to scale on a national and global level. CFI stands four-square behind all well-focused efforts to support the West of Ireland and its people. WDC has been working wonders in this glorious part of the world for the past 20 + years, and fully deserves recognition for its outstanding regional revitalisation programme”.
The Western Investment Fund is open to companies across a range of sectors including green technology, creative industries, food and natural resources, ICT, manufacturing, Medtech, life sciences.
Gillian Buckley, Investment Manager, Western Development Commission welcomed the award saying;
The CFI award is recognition of the impact that the WDC’s Investment Fund has had on the Western Region over a 20-year period. The WDC has funded over 300 SMEs, strategic initiatives, community projects and social enterprises in this timeframe which enhance the quality of life of our region’s citizens and supported over 6,000 jobs across our portfolio companies. The Western Investment Fund is a unique entity in Europe with all financial returns reinvested back into enterprises in the region.
WDC launched an independent review of the Western Investment Fund by Indecon Economic Consultants in 2022 which highlighted the impact of Western Investment Fund across the region, with portfolio companies generating an economy wide GVA of €1.6 billion, R&D spend of almost €400m and paid €293 million in taxes to the exchequer. In addition, the WIF has generated a financial return on investment of 3 times its original Exchequer allocation.
The organisation has been at the forefront of the development of the Western Region Audio-visual Producer’s Fund (WRAP Fund). The WRAP Fund was set up to help build the region’s audio-visual sector. It is designed to provide strategic investment that encourages regional production activity across the film, television drama, animation and gaming sectors, to support local talent, create sustainable employment, build the audio-visual infrastructure and contribute to the culture and language of the Western Region.
It has also led out on strategic initiatives such as Creative Enterprise West (CREW) which is focused on the empowerment of Digital Creatives in the West of Ireland to create, develop and scale globally. The network aims to enhance the profile and competitiveness of the region’s creative sector, which includes traditional crafts, design and digital media.
Recent investments include Mayo biotech company, Ovagen Group Ltd. The company produces the world’s first ‘germ-free’ eggs, a ground-breaking development for vaccine production. With the investment from WDC, Ovagen will carry out R&D evaluation trials on vaccine batches; officially launch the world’s first germ-free eggs targeting major world drug manufacturers; and expand its team by 65 in the next five years.
Interim CEO Allan Mulrooney added;
We are thrilled to receive this prestigious award which recognises the hard work and dedication of our investment fund team and the supporting role they have played in the growth and development of the Western Region. The fund work aligns closely with the Irish Government's "Our Rural Future" policy which recognises the potential of rural areas to drive innovation and growth and sets out a range of measures to promote balanced regional development, including investment in key sectors. Looking ahead, we see great potential for growth in key sectors such as green technology, creative industries, ICT, manufacturing, Medtech, and life sciences. We are committed to continuing our work to promote investment and economic growth in the West of Ireland.
This award from CFI.co underscores the importance of the WDC’s work in promoting investment and economic growth in the Western Region. With the support of the WIF, WRAP, CREW and other initiatives, the region is well positioned to continue to thrive and attract investment and talent in the years ahead.