News & Events

Record demand for Microfinance Ireland loan services in 2018

Minister Pat Breen welcomes the 4,800 Irish jobs supported through the Government-funded lender since its inception

Tuesday 2 April, Clonskeagh, Dublin. In its release of its 2018 annual results, announced today by the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, Microfinance Ireland (MFI) has revealed an increase of 9% in the demand for its services.

In 2018, the not-for-profit lender, established in 2012 to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund, approved €5.4m in loans to 384 micro businesses, helping to support an additional 856 jobs in the process.

The performance in 2018 brings to 4,808 the number of new jobs supported by MFI since it was established as part of the Government’s initial Action Plan for Jobs. This has been achieved through the provision of €28 million in approved loans to 1,951 businesses.

The results for 2018 shows a welcome continuation of the trend towards a more regionally-balanced spread of loans, with loans approved for businesses in all 26 counties. Counties other than Dublin accounted for 78% of all loans provided.

Launching the results at MFI’s offices in Clonskeagh, Dublin, today Minister Breen said: “Microfinance Ireland plays a very important role in providing an alternative source of funding to micro-enterprises – old and new – who may be having difficulties in accessing finance from commercial providers. The increased demand for its services reflects the continued value of the initiative. MFI’s performance is proof that the Government strategy to create jobs by supporting start-ups and micro-enterprises is delivering results.”

He added: “Every single job created in Ireland is important and helps to contribute to the strength of both urban and rural economies. I am particularly pleased to note the regional spread of loans. I would encourage all microenterprises in need of finance of up to €25,000 to consider Microfinance Ireland’s offering. Details can be had either directly from Microfinance Ireland or through the network of Local Enterprise Offices.”

Microfinance Ireland CEO, Garrett Stokes, commented: “Microfinance Ireland was established in 2012, with a core aim of supporting businesses and through this help job creation across Ireland. Through these activities we change people’s lives and local communities for the better.

“Despite an improved economy and availability of bank funding, there is still significant growing demand for Microfinance Ireland loans. This demand is reflected in the records number of businesses seeking support from Microfinance Ireland in 2018. This continued strong growth highlights the ongoing need for the services MFI provides to start-ups and small businesses that are still finding it difficult to obtain credit through the Banks.

“Since we commenced trading 6 years ago, we have accessed proposals from 4,465 businesses, and have approved loans totalling €28m to 1,951 business. Through these activities we have supported almost 5,000 jobs across every county in Ireland. At this stage in our evolution we are receiving in excess of 1,000 applications a year, and through our lending activities supporting c.1,000 jobs per year.

“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 2019.”

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


Notes to the Editor

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.

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. Companies given funding in 2018 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 applicants through Local Enterprise Offices, increasing the chances of small businesses achieving commercial success, and helping to sustain jobs in the longer term.

Microfinance Ireland’s standard interest rate is a fixed rate of 7.8% APR. This is reduced to 6.8% Fixed APR for applications received through Local Enterprise Offices, Local Development Companies and Banks.

MFI has to date approved approximately €28 million in loans to 1,951 businesses, supporting a net 4,808 jobs

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


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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