I am currently in the process of introducing a Microenterprise Loan Fund that will facilitate the growth and expansion of viable microenterprises from all industry sectors across the country, that have been refused access to credit from the banks. The Fund has a significant entrepreneurship focus to encourage all would-be entrepreneurs across the country who may be unemployed, but have the potential to generate employment for themselves and others. It will form an important complementary element to funding supports provided by enterprise agencies or Local Area Partnerships, where credit is required for the sustainability of the project. It will also add value to other Government schemes of support for entrepreneurs and unemployed persons, such as the Back to Work Allowance or the Seed Capital Scheme.
Support will be in the form of loans for up to €25,000, available to start-up, newly established, or growing microenterprises, with viable business propositions, that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by banks. The potential viability of the business proposal will be the dominant factor in all credit decisions. The €10m allocation, supplemented by €15m borrowing from other sources in tranches of €5m over years 2, 3 and 4, of the life of the Fund will generate €40m in additional lending for microenterprises. More detail on a variety of supports for companies is now available at www.djei.ie.