A report shows that €42m was invested in 74 companies last year under a venture capital scheme run by Enterprise Ireland.

The Enterprise Ireland Seed & Venture Capital Programme is aimed at providing funding to start-up businesses.

Enterprise Ireland says the amount of seed capital funding available to Irish firm increased by €18m during the year.

This was because of the launch of a new €17m Bank of Ireland Start-up and Emerging Sectors Equity Fund 2010 and a €1m investment by Galway University Foundation in the original Bank of Ireland Seed & Early Stage Equity. A new €75m Atlantic Bridge II Limited Partnership Fund was also launched.

Feargal Ó Móráin, director of corporate and investment services at Enterprise Ireland, says the total amount of capital available for early-stage businesses has now increased to €124m.