independent

Friday 20 October 2017

24 Wexford businesses benefitted from microfinance loans in 2016

Niamh Morris and Michael Keating at Blackwater Open Farm.
Niamh Morris and Michael Keating at Blackwater Open Farm.

Twenty-four Wexford businesses benefitted from small loans totalling €280,000 from the government funded not-for-profit lender, Microfinance Ireland, in 2016, new figures show.

The Microfinance Ireland loans, ranging between €2,000 and €25,000, are supporting the creation and retention of local jobs by providing an alternative source of funding to commercial lenders.

Approximately two thirds of Wexford loans approved by Microfinance Ireland last year either directly, or through the Local Enterprise Offices, went to start-ups.

The remainder went to existing small businesses looking to expand. Nationally Wexford was one of the highest performing counties for Microfinance loans for the year.

One Wexford business to benefit from Microfinance Ireland support is Blackwater Open Farm located between Curracloe and Blackwater. Run by Niamh Morris and Michael Keating, the farm opened in May 2009 and provides a popular recreational and educational experience for visitors.

Microfinance Ireland helped Blackwater Open Farm by lending money to allow the owners upgrade facilitiies, which in turned helped attract more visitors.

In addition, Local Enterprise Office Wexford provided Niamh and Michael with invaluable advice on managing the business through the critical early start-up phase through to expanding.

Microfinance Ireland reduced its lending rate by 1 per cent in July 2016.

Applicants who seek loans through the Local Enterprise Office can now borrow at a fixed interest rate of 6.8 per cent APR.

A fixed rate of 7.8 per cent APR applies to businesses which apply directly to Microfinance Ireland.

In partnership with the network of Local Enterprise Offices, Microfinance Ireland also launched an expert mentoring assistance to its loan approved applicants in 2016, something which is proving to be of huge benefit to business owners.

'We are delighted that so many Wexford businesses are availing of our loans and our mentoring service. The interest rate cut in 2016 has made our loans even more affordable,' said Garrett Stokes, Chief Executive of Microfinance Ireland.

'And the one-to-one mentoring our clients can receive through Local Enterprise Office Wexford is hugely beneficial.'

Tom Banville, Head of LEO Wexford, said the Microfinance Ireland Loans 'are an important and complementary part of our overall service offering to our clients'.

Wexford People

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