Collins Urges Minister To Expand Micro Finance Loan Fund

Speaking in the Dáil on the Micro Finance Loan Fund Bill 2012, Fine Gael Cork North West Deputy, Áine Collins, welcomed the provisions of the Bill which she said will help small and medium businesses to get much needed access to funds.

Deputy Collins went on to say that, while the Minister’s suggestion that the fund will operate in conjunction with the Enterprise Boards is to be welcomed, it is her view that it should be expanded to Local Development Companies, and she asked the Minister to consider this.

"The Ministers for Finance and for Enterprise Trade and Employment have identified the lack of finance from our banks as a real problem facing SMEs. Added to this, confidence in the economy is a huge factor in deterring business people from starting up and expanding their businesses.

"The purpose of this scheme is to provide loans to businesses, who employ fewer than 10 people, that banks are not in a position to, or are unwilling to lend to, perhaps due to a lack of knowledge on the part of the lender of the sector involved.

"In Cork, two years ago, the Economic Development Department of the Cork County Council established a fund of €1 million a year to assist smaller businesses. Where the Enterprise Boards, the local Development Companies and banks fell short in providing the necessary finance for a project, the Council is able to provide financial assistance to help the business proposition work.

"I welcome the Minister's suggestion that the fund will operate in conjunction with the Enterprise Boards but I also think that the scheme should be expanded to Local Development Companies; a proposal I have asked the Minister to consider.


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