Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen

Irish Prime Minister  Brian Cowen will launch a $700 million venture capital fund plan aimed at making Ireland the “innovation hub” of Europe.

Cowen is set to outline details at a meeting with business leaders at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

Cowen stated  the scheme will commence in September, with the government investing $350 million over five years and the rest coming from private investors.

 The aim of the fund aim is to address the lack of a venture capital culture in Ireland.

Cowen, in his  speech on Wall Street, will tell his audience the fund will make Ireland “a honeypot for the best European entrepreneurs”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics , Cowen stated  he wanted venture capital companies not only to invest in Irish companies but also to locate in Ireland.

He suggested the venture capital culture of the US could be replicated in Ireland.

The fund will be overseen by an advisory board chaired by Damien Callaghan of Intel Capital. It will  call for “expressions of interest” in early September, through Enterprise Ireland.

What is done in this field in Israel is the model for the plan cited most often.

The Israeli government has created more start-ups than any country in the world by matching funds with venture capitalists.

Cowen will be in the US until Wednesday and will attend the Irish Voice ‘Women of Influence’ awards at the Irish Consulate.

He will also announce the opening of the first Irish Consulate in the southern US, in Atlanta.

“For the last two years since I became leader... we have been working on getting the sort of joint venture funds that will enable businesses to access capital to grow in scale,” he told The Irish Times.