CEO, Microfinance Ireland
Helping to create and sustain employment by providing loans to small businesses can enable microenterprises to grow and thrive in the Irish economy.
Established to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund, Microfinance Ireland (MFI), is a not-for-profit lender that offers small businesses loans of up to €25,000. At MFI, we provide funding to startups as well as established businesses that are finding it difficult to get finance from other commercial lenders such as banks and credit unions.
Types of loans and support available
We provide startup, cashflow and expansion loans from €2,000 to €25,000, as well as small loans from €2,000–€5,000. In addition to loans, we offer free mentoring to our borrowers if needed. We provide this mentoring to give businesses the best chance of success.
Alternative sources of funding
At Microfinance Ireland, our loan products are simple, flexible and affordable; and the application process is straightforward. We provide unsecured, term loans of up to €25,000 repayable over a three to five-year period to businesses with fewer than 10 employees and turnover of up to €2 million.
We have affordable interest rates of 6.5.% (5.5% if submitted through the Local Enterprise Office). We speak directly to each applicant to ensure that they can make the best case for their business proposal. We lend to startups and established businesses. Our loans can be used for cashflow or business expansion, which could include buying stock, premises fit out or purchasing a second-hand work van.
We have seen a growing trend in loan applications
from female entrepreneurs, and females now
account for about 33% of our applicants.
Female entrepreneurship growth
Supporting female entrepreneurship is a key strategic goal for our organisation. Over the past number of years, we have seen a growing trend in loan applications from female entrepreneurs, and females now account for about 33% of our applicants.
In 2023, we had a number of events focused on female entrepreneurs. In 2024, we anticipate a further increase in applications from female entrepreneurs as we encourage and support women in business to continue their journey.
Working with the Local Enterprise Offices
Many of our customers come to us either directly or through their Local Enterprise Office (LEOs).
We work closely with the Local Enterprise Offices. Loan applications submitted through the LEO receive a discounted interest rate of 5.5%. LEOs also deliver free mentoring to MFI clients.