New York State Common Retirement Fund takes £5 million punt on SME growth by investing in Kernel Capital

New York State comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli
Gary McDonald Business Editor

PENSIONERS in the Big Apple are taking another punt on Northern Ireland by investing in the economic growth of its small businesses.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is pumping $7 million more (about £5m) into the Kernel Capital Growth Fund, set up in 2013 by Invest NI and Bank of Ireland to assist local SMEs to accelerate growth.

“We're pleased to announce another investment in Northern Ireland's dynamic economy that will provide a solid return for the New York State Common Retirement Fund,” the state's comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.

“Northern Ireland is on the move, as I saw first hand during a recent visit. The peace process has opened doors and created economic opportunities for all communities.

"We're proud to be able to play a part in Northern Ireland's economic resurgence, and this partnership will benefit our retirees, taxpayers and Northern Ireland for years to come,” he added.

The New York investment in Kernel Capital comes from its $115 million Emerging Europe Fund.

Kernel was selected following an analysis by 57 Stars, which manages the fund (which had previously invested in another Belfast-based venture capital fund Crescent Capital).

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “This significant investment by the New York State Common Retirement Fund demonstrates a solid commitment to helping Northern Ireland's businesses grow and is a real endorsement of the strong entrepreneurial spirit which exists in our business community.

"In the last few years our economy has grown from strength to strength, and this added investment, combined with Kernel Capital's impressive track record of investing in high growth companies, will continue to support our thriving business community into the future.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: “This investment by a major international pension fund is a vote of confidence in the north's economy and demonstrates a strong commitment to help businesses here."


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