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Home » International Women's Day » Start or grow your business with financing from a government-supported lender

Des McCarthy

CEO, Microfinance Ireland

Empowering female entrepreneurs in 2024, a government-supported lender is offering business loans up to €25,000 and mentoring for both startups and established businesses.

This is a chance many may have been waiting for: the opportunity to start a business or, for established businesses, to finally take that step and grow by hiring another person, getting bigger premises or investing in new equipment.

How microfinance helps women entrepreneurs

Government-supported lender Microfinance Ireland is continuing to support women entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions. Led by CEO Des McCarthy, the nonprofit organisation is providing small loans through the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund, which helps businesses — from startups to established brands — get the financial support they need.

Getting financial support from a big bank when you’re a small business (also known as a microenterprise) can be a challenge. Too often, these efforts can end in failure and stop businesses that are trying to get off the ground.

However, Microfinance Ireland is all about helping businesses that find it hard to get a loan from a bank or a traditional lender. They can provide unsecured loans of up to €25,000, with fixed interest rates you can repay over three to five years. Whether you’re a startup or an established business in need of extra cashflow that was denied a loan by a bank, they’re here to help.

Whether you’re a startup or an established
business in need of extra cashflow that was
denied a loan by a bank, they’re here to help.

Supporting diverse businesses nationwide

The lending institution supports women-led businesses nationwide, with 75% of loans allocated outside Dublin. This means they’re supporting all businesses across Ireland, from urban to rural, with startup loans, cashflow loans and expansion loans. The female-owned businesses include, for example, the food, health, fitness, childcare and service sectors. You don’t have to be an Irish citizen, but you have to be living in Ireland to get finance.

Finance and mentoring

While finance is important, mentoring also plays an important part in this mission. Working alongside Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), business mentors are available to help entrepreneurs in all areas, from their business plans to cashflow projections.

Unlike most other lenders, they will help with the application and guide the applicants through the process. With a focus on the future, Microfinance Ireland is funding the ambitions of business owners and entrepreneurs.

Read about some of the businesses we have supported at

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