COVID-19 Equity Investment Fund


The Minister for the Economy, Diane Dodds announced on 8th September 2020 that Invest NI is launching a new £5 million COVID-19 Equity Investment Fund (CEIF). CEIF will help early stage high-growth potential businesses in Northern Ireland access financing to progress their business plans and prepare for recovery and growth.


Support Available:

Support of up to a maximum of 50% of the funding round, is available:

  • through equity investment or convertible loan notes of up to a maximum of £700,000; and
  • on pari passu terms (meaning on substantially the same terms) as other investors in the funding round.

 It will offer access to investment funding if a company has maximised investment from all other funding sources, such as institutional and private investors, the Future Fund and Invest NI’s Access to Finance funds.



The fund supports technology and innovative businesses, with a focus on the following sectors:

  • Advance manufacturing, materials and engineering, including materials handling
  • Digital and creative technologies
  • Life and health sciences
  • Cyber security
  • Precision medicine
  • Big data, internet of things and analytics


Who is eligible?

As an early stage high-growth potential business, you are eligible if:

  • The majority of your business operation is based in Northern Ireland.
  • Your business is an unlisted small and medium-sized business (SME) operating in a market for less than seven years following the first commercial sale.
  • Your business was not in financial difficulty or subject to insolvency procedures at 31 December 2019, but is adversely impacted by COVID-19, including its ability to raise financing.
  • You can quantify the impact CEIF support will have on your business such as research and development into new products and/or helping you access new sales and marketing opportunities.
  • You can demonstrate your business has innovative technology, a significant international market opportunity, export growth prospects, credible promoters and a scalable business model.
  • You can demonstrate how the funding will increase the value of your business and outline potential exit opportunities.
  • You have already sourced investment from other investors but still have a shortfall in what you need to achieve your business plan.


Who cannot apply?

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • Banking and insurance companies.
  • Businesses operating in coal, steel or shipbuilding.
  • Businesses involved in decommissioning or the construction of nuclear power stations.
  • Manufacturing businesses associated with the processing and marketing of tobacco and tobacco products.
  • Businesses investing in airport infrastructure unless related to environmental protection or accompanied by investment necessary to mitigate or reduce its negative environmental impact.
  • Businesses facing difficulty within the meaning of Article 22 of the State Aid COVID-19 Temporary Measures at June 2020.
  • Agricultural producers associated with the processing and marketing of agricultural products supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
  • Agricultural producers in fisheries and aquaculture supported by the European Fisheries Fund.
  • Businesses providing general education to children of school age.
  • Businesses supporting or refurbishing retail facilities.
  • Businesses working in the synthetic fibres sector.
  • Businesses operating in defence and safety.


How to Apply:

CEIF is now open to applications and they can be submitted online.

If you have reviewed your funding needs with existing and potential funders and can confirm there is a gap as a direct result of COVID-19, please contact Invest NI to progress an application. 

If you are an existing Invest NI customer, you should contact your Client Executive.

If you are not an Invest NI customer, you should use the enquiry form to contact the CEIF Team at Invest NI who will assign you a Client Executive.


Click Here for the Enquiry Form


Click Here for Detailed Guidance Notes on the Application Process

 You will need the following information to complete the online application:

  • Your business name.
  • Your contact name and number.
  • Your business address and postcode.
  • The date you established your business in Northern Ireland.
  • If applicable, the group structure of your business.
  • Number of people you currently employ in Northern Ireland and other locations.
  • The financial year end of your business.
  • The annual turnover of your business.
  • The balance sheet total of your business.
  • Your company registration number or CRN issued by Companies House, beginning with NI followed by six numbers, for example NI123456.
You will also need to provide the following documentation electronically:

  • Your funding proposal template. – Click Here for the Template
  • Your latest financial statements, management accounts, capitalisation tables and financial forecasts.
After completing your funding proposal, the online application process should take approximately one hour, providing you have all the necessary information available. You can save your application and return to it at any time before the closing date on the 31st December 2020.