Local Enterprise Office welcomes interest rate cut

Local Enterprise Office welcomes interest rate cut for small businesses

News from Microfinance Ireland also welcomed by Minister Mary Mitchell O’ Connor and Minister of State Pat Breen

Local Enterprise Office Wicklow has welcomed the news that Microfinance Ireland has cut its interest rates on new lending from July 1st. This cut means that loans through Local Enterprise Offices will become more affordable for small businesses and start-ups.

The lending rate is being cut by 1% and the new rate since July 1st is 6.8% APR, through the network of Local Enterprise Offices around the country.

Welcoming the news from Microfinance Ireland, the Head of Enterprise of Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, Sheelagh Daly said: “This interest rate cut will make microfinance loans even more affordable for local businesses and start-ups that need access to finance to fund their expansion here in the region. As part of the range of supports that the Local Enterprise Office offers to the small business community, this microfinance loan product can help entrepreneurs unlock even more jobs locally.”

Small businesses and start-ups can apply for loans of between €2,000 and €25,000, directly through the LEO, as long as they employ fewer than 10 people and have a turnover of under €2 million.

A local Co. Wicklow based company that has benefitted from the Microfinance Ireland loan product through the Local Enterprise Office is Willemien Rust of Miena’s handmade nougat, based in Donard.

Microfinance Ireland is a government funded not-for-profit lender and it also launched a new support programme, offering mentoring assistance to direct loan applicants in partnership with the Local Enterprise Offices.

Garrett Stokes, the newly-appointed Chief Executive of Microfinance Ireland, said: “The interest rate cut and mentoring support will mean our business loans are now even more affordable. It also means that our clients can receive expert one-to-one mentoring through their Local Enterprise Office, greatly increasing their chances of commercial success and helping to sustain jobs in the longer term. Since Microfinance Ireland was set up in 2012, we have approved €14.1m in loans to 944 businesses supporting 2,148 jobs. We’re happy to support all types of micro- businesses, helping to spread the economic recovery right across the country.”

The interest rate cut was also welcomed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D. and The Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D.

Minister Mitchell O’ Connor said: “I welcome this development from the new CEO of Microfinance Ireland Garrett Stokes, that in line with the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, loans to micro-enterprises will become more affordable.  In addition, I welcome the introduction of valuable business supports to aid small enterprises, increasing their chances of commercial success, thus creating and sustaining jobs and which greatly helps in improving the economy overall”.