Microfinance Ireland secures European Guarantee for small business loans

There is some welcome news for small businesses in the electrical, engineering or related sectors which have been refused credit by the banks. Microfinance Ireland, which was set up just last October to help fund small businesses have been turned down for credit, has signed a loan agreement with the European Investment Fund, aimed at supporting micro-enterprises and self-employed entrepreneurs across the country.

Microfinance Ireland (MFI) was established in October 2012 by Minister Richard Bruton as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and works in partnership with the County and City Enterprise Boards across the country. It can provide loans of up to €25,000 to new and existing micro enterprises with commercially viable proposals that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by financial institutions.

These loans are available to companies in, among others, electrical and engineering, plumbing, transport and services areas, with less than ten staff and a turnover of less than two million euro and can be for business start-ups, expansion costs or working capital – the funding they need to grow at this crucial time, in a challenging lending environment.

Nationally, the scheme is expected to assist around 5,500 micro enterprises over the next decade, helping to create an estimated 7,700 jobs.

Engineering or electrical firms interested in securing a loan from Microfinance Ireland can enquire through their local County or City Enterprise Board. Where assistance with the application process is not required, existing businesses and start-ups may apply directly to Microfinance Ireland, through www.microfinanceireland.ie.

The Chairperson of Microfinance Ireland, Ms. Geraldine Kelly, said: “The scheme is open to sole traders, partnerships and limited companies, across all industry types and business sectors, from services to manufacturing. We’re encouraging new start-ups to apply, in addition to micro-enterprises looking to expand. Working in partnership with the County and City Enterprise Boards, our doors are open for business in every county.”

Ms. Kelly added: “To date, over two-thirds of applications are from Start-Up companies, with the remainder from businesses which are looking to expand and develop. I would encourage more existing businesses, who are seeking a loan, to contact Microfinance Ireland.”

The loan guarantee agreement, signed between the European Investment Fund and Microfinance Ireland, is given under Progress Microfinance, managed by the European Investment Fund on behalf of the European Investment Bank.

Further information on Microfinance Ireland and the application process is available from www.microfinanceireland.ie and www.enterpriseboards.ie.