Cork Foundation, a new not-for-profit funding organisation established by a group of leading business and public figures to help drive social and economic growth throughout the Cork region, will be launched this evening, 7th March 2013, at the Port of Cork, Custom House Street, Cork by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD and the Chairman of the Cork Foundation Strategic Board, Sean O’ Driscoll, Chairman and CEO, Glen Dimplex.

Acting as a catalyst to economic and social development, the Cork Foundation is the first of its kind in Ireland. With an initial target to raise €5 million, the Foundation’s aim is to connect contributors from home and abroad directly to Cork businesses and community enterprises. It will complement existing enterprise support services by bridging gaps in current funding models, addressing many of the challenges facing Cork businesses and communities in accessing credit and bridge finance. All returns on investments will be recycled back into the Foundation to fund further investment initiatives.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, said: “We are calling on people both at home and abroad to rally together to lead the region into a new era of employment and prosperity. It’s time to work collectively towards generating sustainable job creation and economic prosperity for the Cork region”.

“The Cork Foundation will provide a new and flexible life-line to Cork businesses and community enterprises to help them to develop to their full potential and ultimately, lead to the creation of jobs and increased economic activity,” added Minister Coveney.

A unique aspect of the Cork Foundation is that it will be self-funded after year one through contributions from the Cork diaspora, Cork-based businesses and philanthropists. With the Global Irish diaspora estimated at 70 million people, 3 million of whom are Irish passport holders outside of Ireland, the Cork Foundation is confident that it will reach its target of €5 million.

Leading West Cork businessman Sean O’ Driscoll, Chairman and CEO Glen Dimplex and Chairman of the Cork Foundation Strategic Advisory Board, said: “The Cork region has immense potential due to its infrastructure, resources and the experience and spirit of the Cork people. The Foundation will allow organisations to capitalise on opportunities immediately by providing swift access to funding which is not limited by sector, export capacity, size or funding caps”.

Seed capital for the Foundation has been provided by Cork County and City Councils’ Economic Development Fund.
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