Funding

Microfinance Ireland provides loans to small businesses with no more than 10 employees, including sole traders and start-ups. The loans of between €2,000 and €25,000 are for commercially viable proposals that have been refused credit by the banks. Details of how to apply and forms are available on microfinance.ie.

Under a partnership between Microfinance Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, Business Loans are now available through the Local Enterprise Office.

• Unsecured loans from €2,000 up to €25,000
• Term from 3 to 5 years
• Reduced Interest Rate 7.5% (7.8% APR) for LEO clients
• Flexibility on repayment terms

The loans are provided and underwritten by  Microfinance Ireland and application may be made through the LEO office and will be in the first instance will be assessed locally. Microfinance Ireland was established by the Government to provide additional lending to start-up and existing micro enterprises. The final decision for all loan applications is made by Microfinance Ireland. Loans are repayable to Microfinance Ireland according to the terms and conditions set out by Microfinance Ireland.

Sole Traders, Partnerships and Limited Companies with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover of less than €2m are eligible to apply. Unlike some of the other financial supports available from the LEO, all business sectors are eligible to apply. Loans can be used to fund start-ups, existing and growth microenterprises and can be used for working capital or the hiring of new employees, the purchase of stock, equipment, machinery and business vehicles.

By applying through the Local Enterprise Office you will get :

• 1% reduction on normal interest rate of 8.5% (8.8% APR)
• Assistance and feedback on application
• Business advice and support

If you would like to apply for a loan please call or email your local Enterprise Office.

JobsPlus is a new employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who employ jobseekers on the Live Register. There are 2 levels of incentive: €7,500 for recruits unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months and €10,000 for recruits unemployed for more than 24 months. Eligible employers who recruit full-time employees on or after 1 July 2013 may apply for the incentive, which will initally operate on a pilot basis for a period of 6 months. JobsPlus has replaced the Revenue Job Assist and Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption Scheme which ended on 30 June 2013, but existing participants on these schemes will not be affected.

Under the Trading Online Voucher Scheme vouchers of up to €2,500 will be available to businesses who demonstrate that they have a credible plan to trading online. The scheme is being extended to all counties during 2014 and further details are available from your Local Enterprise Office.

The Supporting SMEs Online Tool is a new guide to Government supports for start-ups and small businesses. It includes information on over 80 business supports available from a range of government departments and agencies.

Chambers Ireland and the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) have developed a website, smallbusinessfinance.ie, for small businesses looking for information about financing or funding their business. The information is aimed at a range of businesses including start-ups, established businesses seeking to expand or innovate, businesses entering export markets and businesses with financial difficulties.

Credit 

Many small businesses have difficulty getting credit. Your Business Your Bank (pdf) is a guide on getting funding for small and medium businesses. It includes information on how to prepare a bank credit application. The Central Bank published a revised Code of Conduct for Business Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (pdf) which came into effect on 1 January 2012.

If you have a small or medium business and your application for credit is refused by one of the participating banks you may apply to the Credit Review Office to have your case reviewed. To be eligible for a review your application must have been in writing. There is a bank lending application form on the website of the Credit Review Office. The fee for the review ranges from €100 up to a maximum of €250.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme aims to encourage additional lending to small and medium businesses who are commercially viable but have difficulty in accessing credit. Under the Scheme eligible applicants will be assisted in obtaining a loan and in establishing a favourable credit history. You can find out more in the information booklet about the Scheme (pdf). There are also Customer Frequently Asked Questions (pdf) as well as details of eligibility criteria (pdf).

If you are having difficulties with your creditors the Chartered Accountants Voluntary Advice service (CAVA) can give free advice and assistance on your business affairs. Contact your local Citizens Information Service or Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) to see if they offer the service.

MABS is a free and confidential service for people in Ireland with debt and money management problems. You can find out more in our document on dealing with debt.

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