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Minister for Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen TD welcomes Microfinance Ireland’s strong performance in 2017 and the further commitment by EIF to Irish Micro-Enterprises over the next 5 years

  • Record number of loans approved– 400 loans totalling €5.5M and 1,141 jobs created or sustained by Microfinance Ireland (MFI) in 2017

  • €30M commitment from EIF for micro-enterprises in Ireland over the next 5 years

Pat Breen TD, Minister for Trade, Employment and Business, has welcomed the publication of the Microfinance Ireland’s annual results for 2017 and its agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) to provide an additional €30 million in loans to Irish borrowers over the next five years. 

Microfinance Ireland’s annual results for 2017 shows that €22.6m of loans have been approved under the Microenterprise Loan Fund which is part-funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  This has helped to support 3,952 jobs in borrowing companies.

In addition, the European Investment Fund (EIF) has signed a second agreement with Microfinance Ireland, providing a guarantee that enables MFI to provide an additional €30M in loans to micro-borrowers over the next 5 years.

Commenting on these two significant milestones, Minister Breen stated “It is very encouraging to see that the demand for Microfinance Ireland’s services continues to grow.  This initiative is making a real difference across every town and county in Ireland. 

This additional guarantee provided by EIF is also a very strong endorsement of Microfinance Ireland and the valuable work they do in supporting micro-businesses looking to start and grow a business. This guarantee will enable a large number of additional micro-enterprises, who may be challenged in accessing funding from traditional lending providers, to avail of loan finance over the next 5 years.

I would like to congratulate Garrett Stokes, CEO of Microfinance Ireland and his team on the strong performance in 2017 and their continued good work in supporting small businesses which are at the heart of the economy in Ireland.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, press.office@dbei.gov.ie or (01) 631-2200

Note for Editors

About Microfinance Ireland (MFI)

Microfinance Ireland is a not-for-profit lender established in 2012 to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund.  Microfinance Ireland benefits from a guarantee funded by the European Union under the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EASI).Microfinance Ireland provides an alternative source of funding to micro-enterprises* – both new and existing - who may be having difficulties in accessing finance from commercial providers. It ultimately supports the creation and/or retention of jobs.

*Micro-enterprises are defined as any business with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of less than €2M.

About EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on EIF's work under EFSI.

About EaSI

The European Commission’s Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) aims at supporting EU's objective of high level employment, adequate social protection, fighting against social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions. The EaSI guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 by the European Commission and managed by EIF.

It provides support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business and micro-enterprises, notably through loans of up to EUR 25 000. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission is helping social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500 000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is currently being implemented through the EaSI guarantee scheme, which enables financial intermediaries to reach out to micro-entrepreneurs and social enterprises that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations

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