Ireland’s largest financial services provider, AIB, has appointed SME and sustainable infrastructure investment manager, Foresight Group, to manage a new SME equity fund, targeting €75 million. The fund will support businesses looking to accelerate Ireland’s low-carbon transition.
To the impact fund, AIB is providing a €30 million investment, which will go toward stimulating job creation and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in building a greener future for Ireland. Initially, the fund has set out to provide equity investments of €2 to €5 million but will have the flexibility to make larger or smaller investments.
Cathy Bryce, AIB’s managing director of capital markets, says: “As Ireland’s largest financial services provider with 2.8 million customers, AIB is committed to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, reducing our own carbon footprint, and helping our customers to do the same.”
“Our ambition is that green and transition lending will account for 70% of new lending by 2030,” Bryce continued. “But as well as acting through lending, AIB is ensuring equity has a key role to play in backing the green businesses of the future. That is why we are delighted to be partnering with Foresight, whose strong environmental, social and governance focus will be invaluable to small companies with big ambitions to play a role in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.’’
James Livingston, partner, Foresight, adds: “We are delighted to be working with AIB in a partnership that will see us open an office in Dublin and support Irish SMEs across the whole decarbonisation agenda. Energy generation is just the start of the low carbon journey, and we need to change the way we live, work, what we consume and how we travel.”
Foresight seeks to invest across the spectrum of the low carbon agenda – from companies enabling the circular economy, to advanced technology that supports smart cities.
Pending regulatory approvals, the AIB Foresight SME impact fund will reach first close imminently and will be open to firms in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is expected to contribute to job creation, and deliver strong, long-term economic growth.