Seventy three Dublin businesses benefitted from small loans totally €1,055,000 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 Dublin 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 keen to expand. Nationally Dublin was one of the highest performing counties for Microfinance loans for the year.
One thriving Dublin business that has benefitted from Microfinance support is Spice Devils, a company that sells 100% natural hand-crafted, Mauritian-inspired, freshly-milled spice blends.
The award-winning business was set up on a part-time basis in 2013 by Shakeel Jeeroburkan, a former member of the Mauritian police force who moved to Ireland in 2009 with his family.
While working as an education support officer he decided to follow his love of food and Spice Devils was born – in his kitchen!
Shakeel started selling in farmers markets and the feedback was so positive he decided to make the leap and devote himself fulltime to the business.
He approached Microfinance Ireland for funding to help him move to the next level.
With help from both the Local Enterprise Office in South Dublin and Microfinance Ireland, he is able to devote himself full-time to the company and he has taken on a part time person with plans to employ more staff this year.
Since drawing down the Microfinance Ireland loan Spice Devils, which is available in more than 30 Super Valu stores, has won multiple artisan food awards, as well as picking up the 1st place in a category at the 2016 Irish Quality Food Awards.
Shakeel says: “There are so many great supports out there to help small businesses like mine get off the ground and grow. I would not be where I am today without the financial and mentoring I received from Microfinance Ireland and LEO South Dublin. I am looking forward to going from strength to strength this year.”
Microfinance Ireland reduced its lending rate by 1% in July 2016. Applicants who seek loans through the Local Enterprise Office can now borrow at the highly competitive fixed interest rate of 6.8% APR. A fixed rate of 7.8% 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.
Garrett Stokes, Chief Executive of Microfinance Ireland, said:
“We are delighted that so many Dublin businesses are availing of our loans and our mentoring service.
“The interest rate cut in 2016 has made our loans even more affordable. And the one-to-one mentoring our clients can receive through the Local Enterprise Offices in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin City, Fingal and South Dublin is hugely beneficial.
“It greatly increases their chances of commercial success, and will help to sustain jobs in the longer term. Mentoring support can be nearly more valuable than the loan itself.”
Mr Stokes added: “We look forward to working with many more business in Cork in 2017, and helping to spread the economic recovery. We encourage start-ups or small business owners who want to expand to get in touch with us directly, or through the LEOs in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin City, Fingal and South Dublin, to see how we can help.”
Colm Ward, Head of LEO South Dublin, said:
“At LEO South Dublin we work closely with Microfinance Ireland and we are delighted by the number of clients who are approaching us for Microfinance Ireland Loans.
“These loans are an important and complementary part of our overall service offering to our clients.
“Likewise, the new mentoring services we provide on behalf of Microfinance Ireland to their approved applicants is an exciting service supporting businesses through their early stage growth.’’
The 4 different loan packages offered by Microfinance Ireland are:
Start Up Loans: €5,000 – €25,000 for set-up and early stage trading business.
Cashflow Loans: €5,000 – €25,000 for existing businesses to support cashflow/day-to-day running costs.
Expansion Loans: €5,000 – €25,000 for existing businesses to support business dev and expansion.
Small Loans: €2,000 – €5,000 for small businesses with low funding requirements.
Since it was established in 2012 MFI has approved approximately €17 million in loans to 1,100 businesses around Ireland, supporting 2,811 jobs.
Details on loan packages and supports are available through www.microfinanceireland.ie