Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Enterprise Support Services
As Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, I recognise the importance of supporting business start-ups if we are to encourage entrepreneurship and create more jobs. I also acknowledge that micro enterprises can find it very difficult to access funding from traditional sources, particularly at start-up phase.
For this reason, the Minister for Finance and I confirmed on the 10th of May last, as part of the recent Jobs Initiative, that the Government is committed to setting up a dedicated Microfinance Start-Up Fund that will provide start-up and expansion loans to potentially viable businesses at the micro level. Microfinance applies to businesses with up to 10 employees and individual loans cannot exceed €25,000, although average loans will be significantly less. The Fund, including scheme design and appropriate delivery mechanisms, will be developed with a view to formalizing proposals in the context of Budget 2012.
My Department is taking the lead on this initiative and has almost concluded detailed discussions with relevant stakeholders, including the Department of Finance, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the European Investment Bank and other organisations with experience in the area. Work is currently progressing on the development of a suitable model for delivery.