Just €5 million provided to small firms through Government loan schemes
102 businesses have benefited to date from €500m fund
Mark Fielding: ISME chief executive said he was disappointed with the low approvals under the micro-enterprise fund and said it was a shame the department was not keeping track of applications under the credit guarantee scheme. Photograph: Frank Miller
A total of just €5 million has to date been provided under two Government-created loan schemes introduced to provide more than €500 million in finance to small businesses having difficulty accessing credit through the banks. The credit guarantee scheme and the micro-enterprise loan fund scheme came into operation last autumn with the former expected to provide €150 million per year over the next three years, and the latter to provide €40 million over five years and a further €50 million in the following five years.
Small firms group Isme said the figures were not good enough and it regularly heard Government members trumpeting the virtues of the schemes.
The department said that, as of May 17th, there were 37 live credit guarantee scheme facilities resulting in some €3.7 million being approved. The number of applications was not available as “since this scheme is operated by the banks, the department does not keep records of the numbers of people who make inquiries about it or make formal applications under it”.
The funds were expected to ensure “that 191 new jobs will be created and 115 jobs will be maintained”, a department spokeswoman said.
The credit guarantee scheme aims to fill gaps where businesses have insufficient collateral or are operating in sectors with which banks are not familiar. When announcing the scheme’s start in October, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it would be an essential part of the Government’s “mission of getting Ireland working again”.
Separate figures show that 65 of 184 applications to the micro-finance loan fund scheme had been approved as of the middle of last month, resulting in lending of “over €1 million”.
The department said that 82 loans were declined, 18 were withdrawn, 17 were still works in progress and two decision were being appealed. It said the loans had “supported” 166 jobs.
Isme chief executive Mark Fielding said he was disappointed with the low approvals under the micro-enterprise fund and said it was a shame the department was not keeping track of applications under the credit guarantee scheme.