The Fund provides support in the form of loans for up to €25,000, available to start-up, newly established, or growing microenterprises employing less than 10 people, with viable business propositions, that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by banks.
Repayments will generally be monthly, but there is scope for exceptions if such exceptions will aid the sustainability of the project. To be eligible for a loan, persons must possess a business plan, must have a commercially viable proposal, and must have the capacity to repay the loan.
The fund is administered by Microfinance Ireland, which also works closely with the Local Enterprise Offices which provide a range of important business supports, including advice, training and mentoring, to microenterprises.
Banks are the main supplier of finance to the micro-enterprise sector. However, due to its focus on job creation and the benefits this creates, Microfinance Ireland has a greater risk appetite than Banks could possibly have and therefore is able to fund and help create and sustain additional micro-enterprises which cannot satisfy conventional Bank credit criteria.
Review of Microfinance Ireland 2015