News & Events

Almost 1,000 new jobs supported last year through Microfinance Ireland small business loans

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor reveals over 2,800 Irish jobs supported through Government funded lender since 2012

The Government funded not-for-profit lender, Microfinance Ireland (MFI), supported the creation of almost 1,000 Irish jobs through loans to small business in 2016, it has been announced.

Figures released by the lender reveal that a record number of 397 loans totaling €5.4 million were approved in 2016, supporting the creation and sustaining of 990 jobs, which also represents a record number of jobs supported in one year.

This brings to 2,811 the number of new jobs supported by MFI through €17 million in approved loans to 1,167 businesses since it was established as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs in late 2012.

The MFI Annual Results for 2016, announced by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D. shows a strong regional spread of loans with counties Dublin (73), Cork (29), Galway (26), Tipperary (26), Wexford (24), Limerick (20), Clare (18), Longford (18) Waterford (15) and Mayo (14) performing particularly well across a range of businesses. MFI approved loans in all 26 counties.

MFI offers four separate loan packages* ranging between €2,000 and €25,000 to start-ups or established businesses who want to scale up, all with no fees or hidden costs. Businesses given funding in 2016 come from a diverse range of sectors , including Retail, Wholesale , IT, Hospitality, Transport, Professional Services, Social and Support Services, Construction and the Arts. .

MFI also offers expert one-to-one mentoring to approved loan applicants through Local Enterprise Offices, increasing the chances of small businesses achieving commercial success, and helping to sustain jobs in the longer term.

In July 2016 Microfinance Ireland reduced its interest rates on loans by 1 per cent to a fixed rate of 6.8 per cent APR for applications received through Local Enterprise Offices, Local Development Companies and Banks. It has a fixed rate of 7.8% APR for directly received applications.

Launching the MFI 2016 Annual Results at the MFI offices in Clonskeagh, Dublin, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., said:           “I welcome the very positive Microfinance Ireland results for 2016 which show that almost 1,000 jobs were supported through loans of €5.4 million to 397 small businesses. This activity is proof that the Government strategy to create jobs by supporting start-ups and enterprises keen to grow is reaping results.”

“Every single job created in Ireland counts and helps to contribute to local and rural economies. I am particularly pleased to see the regional spread of loans, and note that there were approvals in every county in 2016. This is in line with the main Government priority of ensuring that there are 135,000 new jobs created in the regions by 2020. To secure the future development of Microfinance Ireland I obtained additional exchequer funding of €10m in December which will further support the fund.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr Pat Breen T.D. in welcoming the positive 2016 results for Microfinance Ireland said “These results are very positive for our microenterprises and startups throughout the country. I would encourage microenterprises in need of finance up to €25,000 to consult with their Local LEO about taking advantage of the Microfinance Ireland offering. I particularly welcome the positive employment numbers supported by Microfinance Ireland which shows over 2,800 jobs supported since Microfinance Ireland was established.”

Microfinance Ireland Chairman Cyril Forbes said: “In Microfinance Ireland we strive to quickly approve all viable business proposals we receive, achieving a core aim of supporting job creation across Ireland and through this change communities and people’s lives for the better. Last year we lent to almost 400 businesses and with the huge support of the Local Enterprise Offices we are providing mentoring in crucial areas such as finance, marketing and planning. This is another essential aid in helping small businesses succeed. So we say "If you have a viable idea, dream or aspiration go into your LEO and together we shall help you achieve it."

“I also thank the Minister, Minister of State and all in their Department and especially Garrett Stokes our CEO and all his team for not only buying into this project but achieving it. We look forward to an even more successful, brighter and busier 2017”.

Microfinance Ireland CEO, Garrett Stokes, commented: “Microfinance Ireland was established in 2012, at a time when banks were not lending, and small businesses were finding it very hard to get much needed financial support. While banks are lending again there is still significant growing demand for Microfinance Ireland loans. This demand is reflected in the records number of businesses and jobs Microfinance Ireland supported in 2016. In the last 4 years, we have now approved loans to 1167 businesses and through these loans and our mentoring services the creation or maintenance of 2811 jobs. Working with our partners, the Local Enterprise Offices, the Local Development Companies and the Banks, we look forward to supporting even more small businesses across Ireland in 2017.”

For further information about Microfinance Ireland loans and mentoring services go to                                                                                                                              


* The four loans packages offered by MFI are:

  • Start Up Loan of between €5,000 and €25,000, with 5 free mentoring sesssions. To support the set-up and early phase stage of a new business up to 18 months old.
  • Cashflow Loan of between €5,000 and €25,000, with up to 3 free mentoring sessions. Supporting cash flow and day-to-day running costs for businesses in operation over 18 months.
  • Expansion Loan of between €5,000 and €25,000, with up to 3 free mentoring sessions. Suporting the development and expansion of established businesses.
  • Small Loan of between €2,000 and €5,000, and one free mentoring session, with interest only payments for the first three months and credit decisions made within 72 hours.


For all media queries please contact

Miriam Donohoe, Engage Ireland

Tel: 01 427 8388 / 087 2393914 /

Notes to the Editor

Photography: Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography will syndicate reproduction-free images from this Microfinance Ireland announcement (Tel: 086 367 9394).

About Microfinance Ireland (MFI) Microfinance Ireland is a not-for-profit lender established in 2012 to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund. Microfinance Ireland benefits from a guarantee funded by the European Union under the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EASI).

Microfinance Ireland provides an alternative source of funding to micro-enterprises** – both new and existing - who may be having difficulties in accessing finance from commercial providers. It ultimately supports the creation and/or retention of jobs.

Offering four types of start-up loans ranging between €2,000 and €25,000, MFI has to date approved approximately €16.5 million in loans to 1,100 businesses, supporting an estimated 2,400 jobs.

** Micro-enterprises are defined as any business with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of less than €2M.