Micro-enterprises in line for extra €30m from EIF over next five years
06 February 2018
Kyna Brady, a recipient of the EIF funding
The European Investment Fund (EIF) has signed a second agreement with Microfinance Ireland (MFI) to support 2,100 micro-entrepreneurs under the European Commission’s EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) after the first one signed in 2015.
As a result of the EU support, the EaSI guarantee provided by the EIF will enable MFI to provide an additional €30 million in loans to micro-borrowers including migrants and entrepreneurs over the next five years. This new financing agreement was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe.
More than 2,000 micro-entrepreneurs to get support
“Thanks to this new financial boost of €30 million from the EU, more than 2,000 micro-entrepreneurs will get financial support to start up or develop their business,” said European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen.
“Considering that Microfinance Ireland already created 4,000 jobs through loans to small businesses, we can safely say that these loans are an excellent means to boost jobs and growth, whereby the most vulnerable people in the labour market are not left behind.”
Sustaining more than 1,100 jobs
“I am delighted with the ongoing progress being achieved by Microfinance Ireland who last year supported the creation and sustaining of more than 1,100 jobs, by providing loans to more than 400 small businesses at a cost of less than €2,500 each, the cheapest rate of any government job initiative, across every town and county in Ireland, many in vulnerable sectors such as youth, unemployed, females, migrants and seniors,” said Cyril Forbes, non-executive chairman, MFI.
“The guarantee from EIF is an important endorsement for the valuable support provided by MFI to small businesses who may be having difficulties in accessing much needed finance for their business. This five year guarantee from EIF which enables MFI to continue to support financially vulnerable micro-enterprises is a very welcome development.”
Were unable to source finance elsewhere
“Microfinance Ireland is delighted that 400 loans were approved to businesses in 2017 who were either setting up or trying to expand,” said Microfinance Ireland CEO Garrett Stokes. “None of these business were able to get the finance they needed from either banks or other lending institutions to support their business ideas.
“We are also very grateful to EIF for providing us with this new guarantee. This enables us to continue to support financially vulnerable microenterprises that cannot borrow through traditional lending channels. Through these future loans, MFI will support the creation and sustainment of more than 4,000 jobs in the next five years.”
For further information about Microfinance Ireland loans and mentoring services go to www.microfinanceireland.ie.
*Micro-enterprises are defined as any business with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of less than €2 million.