Almost 1,000 New Jobs Supported Through Microfinance Ireland Loans in 2016
The Government-funded, not-for-profit lender, Microfinance Ireland (MFI), supported the creation of almost 1,000 Irish jobs through loans to small business in 2016, MFI reported on Monday.
A record number of 397 loans totaling €5.4 million were approved in 2016, supporting the creation of 990 jobs. This brings to 2,811 the number of new jobs supported by MFI through €17 million in approved loans to 1,167 businesses since it was established as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs in late 2012.
“Microfinance Ireland was established in 2012, at a time when banks were not lending, and small businesses were finding it very hard to get much needed financial support,” Microfinance Ireland CEO Garrett Stokes said. “While banks are lending again there is still significant growing demand for Microfinance Ireland loans. This demand is reflected in the records number of businesses and jobs Microfinance Ireland supported in 2016.”
MFI offers four separate loan packages ranging between €2,000 and €25,000 to start-ups or established businesses who want to scale up, all with no fees. Businesses given funding in 2016 come from a diverse range of sectors , including Retail, Wholesale , IT, Hospitality, Transport, Professional Services, Social and Support Services, Construction and the Arts. .
MFI also offers expert one-to-one mentoring to approved loan applicants through Local Enterprise Offices, increasing the chances of small businesses achieving commercial success, and helping to sustain jobs in the longer term.
In July 2016, Microfinance Ireland reduced its interest rates on loans by 1 per cent to a fixed rate of 6.8 per cent APR for applications received through Local Enterprise Offices, Local Development Companies and Banks. It has a fixed rate of 7.8% APR for directly received applications.
Launching the MFI 2016 Annual Results at the MFI offices in Clonskeagh, Dublin, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said: “Every single job created in Ireland counts and helps to contribute to local and rural economies. I am particularly pleased to see the regional spread of loans, and note that there were approvals in every county in 2016. This is in line with the main Government priority of ensuring that there are 135,000 new jobs created in the regions by 2020. To secure the future development of Microfinance Ireland I obtained additional exchequer funding of €10m in December which will further support the fund.”