BLUE Sky Alternative Investments (ASX: BLA) has been selected to manage South Australia's new $50 million Venture Capital Fund (SAVC).

The SAVCF will support local ventures with high growth potential to secure funding and accelerate growth into national and global markets.

As part of the deal Blue Sky, which is number 24 on our 2017 Brisbane Top Companies list, will expand its presence in Adelaide through its subsidiary Blue Sky Venture Capital with employees dedicated to the SAVCF.

Brisbane-based Blue Sky will work alongside local businesses and organisations to identify high growth potential South Australian companies for investment and help attract additional private sector funding from investors.

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill says the SAVCF will stimulate the local economy.

"The Venture Capital Fund will support our innovative businesses to become more competitive and reach new markets, stimulating economic activity and job creation for our state through government and private sector co-investment," says Weatherill.

"This means an additional $50 million in external capital will be made available to support innovative South Australian companies."

Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher says the fund will attract investors to Adelaide.

"This fund will turbo charge venture capital attraction to South Australia, providing a strong incentive for investors to look at opportunities in our state," says Maher.

"The state government is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs through our extensive support programs for innovation such as the $10 million SA Early Commercialisation Fund and the $7.6 million GigCity Adelaide ultra-fast internet."

Blue Sky, founded by Queensland chief entrepreneur Mark Sowerby, has a reliable history of performance; since 2006 the group has delivered a 25.4 per cent gross internal rate of return and is in the top quartile of venture capital fund managers globally.

The group has offices across Australia and in New York City with strong networks to 'angel' investors, high net worth investors, self-managed superannuation funds and institutional investors.

Sowerby handed over to new MD Robert Shand (pictured) in October 2016 and since then the company has hit the $3 billion mark in assets under management and has invested more than $250 million in South Australian businesses that employ approximately 1,000 people.

Dr Elaine Stead, head of Venture Capital at Blue Sky, says the group is excited to help grow South Australian companies.

"We are delighted to have been appointed by the South Australian Government to manage this long-term, $50 million commitment to innovation," says Stead.

"Blue Sky has a long history of partnering with South Australian businesses, and we are excited about applying our venture capital expertise to help early state companies realise their full growth potential in national and international markets.

"Start-ups under two years old are responsible for 90 per cent of net positive jobs growth across Australia. We are confident that the SAVCF will be an important catalyst for job creation in South Australia."

Blue Sky Alternative Investments Ltd, the parent company of Blue Sky Venture Capital, is currently trading 0.94 per cent down to $9.45.


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