Medtech sector calls for support for entrepreneurs

The Irish Medtech Association, the Ibec group that represents the medical technology sector, has called for Government support to allow entrepreneurs grow their businesses, re-invest profits and help maintain Ireland’s position as a global hub for medtech investment post-Brexit. In its pre-Budget submission published today, the Association said that while Irish medtech start-ups are successfully attracting international investment, Ireland must do more to increase the number of investors and venture capitalists based here so start-ups can thrive and entrepreneurs can develop new, vital technologies.

To support start-ups the Irish Medtech Association has said Budget 2020 should see the implementation of its Four Point Plan:

•Point 1: An increase in the threshold for the reduced rate of Capital Gains Tax from €1 million to €10 million to encourage risk taking and re-investment.

•Point 2: Reform of the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP), including an increase in the limit on market value of issue, but unexercised, shares under the scheme to €10 million to attract and retain talent.

•Point 3: Reform of the Employment Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS) including an increase in the limit on investments to €2 million to drive investment.

•Point 4: Government support, backed by industry, and IDA Ireland investment, for an Advanced Manufacturing Centre of scale, located in County Limerick, to act as a shared space to allow companies work together to develop technology and talent. Such a centre would compete with the likes of the Catapult centres in Britain, which were established to transform the UK’s capability for innovation and help drive future economic growth.

Irish Medtech Association Director Sinead Keogh said:

“Medical technologies are used to save and transform lives by preventing, diagnosing, monitoring and treating diseases and other conditions. Medtech start-ups are drivers of disruptive innovation and develop new technologies to address unmet clinical needs.

“To get products to patients we need sufficient funding to get technologies through key stages including, prototyping and clinical investigations, to obtaining regulatory approval and getting products into the health system. Budget 2020 offers an opportunity to help our sector at this crucial time”.

Irish Medtech Association Chairperson, Conor Hanley said;

“Ireland has a rich pipeline of medtech start-ups and experienced entrepreneurs supported by a collaborative community. But if we want to keep start-ups here and help them scale we need a business environment that supports entrepreneurs or risk losing them to competitor economies such as the UK, the United States and Israel.

“Other countries are enticing entrepreneurs with a more beneficial tax treatment than Ireland’s. With the prospect of Brexit looming there is a fear of growing uncertainty and the risk of Ireland falling behind others in the race to attract investment”.