An encouraging entrepreneurial pipeline is developing in Ireland as today's "Kardashian generation demonstrates an increased appetite to start their own businesses", according to Dr Eric Clinton, associate professor in entrepreneurship at DCU Business School.

Dr Clinton lectures 300 students in entrepreneurship in DCU.

He said, "Thanks to social media they have an outward looking perspective and are influenced by 20 plus year old global role models who are carving out successful new businesses, many internet related."

"At a time when Ireland remains overly dependent on Foreign Direct Investment, it is vital that the Government creates the environment to harness this appetite for entrepreneurship. For example, current capital gains tax rates are a disincentive to younger members taking over a family firm."  

He also said that incentives offered to entrepreneurs in other European countries are overtaking those offered in Ireland. 

Dr Clinton said that while many students were still attracted to employment in multinational marquee names like Google and Facebook, recent years have seen much greater interest in starting their own businesses.

Dr Clinton is the author of a report on venture capital and private equity backed firms, which according to the economic impact study, helped to create up to 100,000 high level jobs since 2003.

Neil McGowan, Chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association, Dr Eric Clinton, associate professor in entrepreneurship at DCU Business School and author of the report, and Gillian Buckley, Vice Chairperson, IVCA.

"Based on estimates that these companies support up to three additional downstream jobs means that equity funded companies helped to create up to a further 75,000 jobs or 100,000 in total," said Dr Clinton.

"This may be a conservative estimate of job creation as our study does not include the growth in employment in equity backed firms since they exited the portfolio due to acquisition or IPO." 

Neil McGowan, chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association said, "Irish venture capital and private equity firms have invested €5bn in Irish SMEs since 2003 and, through syndication, have attracted in a further €3bn in funding from international firms."  

He said that in 2017 activity levels reached an all-time high with 291 funding rounds raising €994m. During the three year period 2016-18, 748 funding rounds have raised €2.6 billion.  

"Compared to the previous study period (2012-2015), this is an increase of over 60% in the number of fundraising rounds and a 115% increase in the amount of capital raised by innovative SMEs." 

Mr McGowan added that there could be up to €1 billion available for investment up to 2024. "The Government has been proactive and through Enterprise Ireland committed up to €175m as a cornerstone investor to venture capital funds under the Seed & Venture Capital Scheme 2019-2024. ISIF (Ireland Strategic Investment Fund) is also a critical funding partner of IVCA members.  Based on historic activity, it is anticipated that the venture capital and private equity industry will leverage this commitment by a multiple of four to five times."