As Microfinance Ireland (MFI) announces a record number of loan applications and approvals in 2015, Local Enterprise Office South Dublin is encouraging more small businesses to consider microfinance for their business.

Under a very successful partnership between Microfinance Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, business loans of €2,000 to €25,000 are available through the Local Enterprise Office South Dublin. Offering a preferential interest rate and flexibility on repayment terms on the loan, companies must be less than 10 employees and a turnover of less than €2m to apply.

MFI, the State backed not-for-profit lender to micro-businesses, announced a record 48% rise in the number of loan applications during 2015, with a total of 752 businesses applying for loans in 2015, compared with 508 applications for the previous year.

Approvals for start-ups, sole traders and small businesses also reached an all-time high in 2015 with the lender approving €5.4 million in funding to 357 businesses across every county in Ireland throughout 2015, lending that supported the creation of 930 jobs last year.

Chairman of Microfinance Ireland, Cyril Forbes, credits an effective partnership with the Local Enterprise Offices and banking sector along with the new Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme for the record number of applications last year. He said: “We shall continue to “put air in the tyres” of all viable, genuine and creditworthy projects or individuals by giving access to affordable funds through MFI, equally striving to ensure than no borrower takes on unsustainable debt. We shall pursue this single objective with the wholehearted support of Government and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, together with partners such as the Local Enterprise Office network and our parent company, the Social Finance Foundation.”

Kieran Comerford, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices said: “The ability of SMEs to access finance is important for funding business investment and ensuring businesses reach their growth potential, and for facilitating new business start-ups. In our experience a lack of finance can constrain cash flow and hamper businesses’ survival prospects therefore hinder employment creation. Our association with Microfinance Ireland has provided a valuable access to finance for SME’s which complements the variety of supports available from the Local Enterprise Offices and the state agencies”.

A subsidiary of Social Finance Foundation, MFI (www.microfinanceireland.ie) was set up in 2012 by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation under the Action Plan for Jobs, and the European Investment Fund.

For full details on loans from Microfinance Ireland through Local Enterprise Office South Dublin, see: www.localenterprise.ie/SouthDublin/Financial-Supports/Microfinance-Ireland/