Over €90million in additional lending to 5,500 micro-enterprises will be made available under a Government scheme which is expected to create 7,700 jobs over 10 years, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD announced last week. Minister Bruton was speaking as the Microenterprise Loan Fund Bill was published following Government decision last Tuesday
The Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme, which is expected to be operational from early autumn, will initially facilitate €40million in additional lending to businesses employing not more than 10 people over the next five years, with provision for the scheme to be extended to provide an additional €50million of lending over a further five years at that point. Start-ups, sole traders and existing microenterprises will be eligible to apply for a loan under the scheme.
Today’s announcement represents a key step towards the delivery of a major commitment in the Programme for Government and Action Plan for Jobs 2012.
The key features of the scheme include:
- It will be operated by Microfinance Ireland, a subsidiary company of Social Finance Foundation, which was founded in 2007 by the Minister for Finance, and has substantial experience in this area
- Businesses, including sole traders, across all sectors employing not more than 10 staff will be eligible for the scheme
- In order to be eligible for the scheme, a request for credit must first have been declined by the banks. The Scheme will provide loans for commercially viable proposals that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by the banks for various reasons, including the absence of collateral
- The scheme will be demand-led
- In the initial 5-year phase, €10million of Exchequer funding will be leveraged to achieve a total of €40million in additional lending
- In the initial 5-year phase, more than 2700 microenterprises are expected to benefit from the scheme with the creation of 3,800 jobs
- Loans of up to €25,000 will be provided, and the average loan is expected to be €16,000
- An application will be made by Microfinance Ireland to the European Investment Fund for a guarantee to help optimise the State’s investment
- CEBs/LEOs will actively engage with applicants in the development of business propositions
- The Scheme will be closely monitored and will be comprehensively reviewed after two years of operation