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Jobs minister Richard Bruton believes small businesses are "the engine of job creation". Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

New €90 million fund to assist 5,500 small businesses

Richard Bruton hopes the government’s new microenterprise fund will help drive “the engine of job recovery”.

THE GOVERNMENT is today announcing details of a €90 million credit fund to help the financing of small businesses, which it hopes will help to fund microenterprises who are turned down for traditional bank funding.

The fund aims to assist 5,500 businesses over the coming decade, hoping to assist entrepreneurs in small firms whose applications for credit from regular banks are dismissed.

The Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme, which the government hopes will begin lending this autumn, will have an initial budget of €40 million over five years, with provisions for another €55 million of lending over another five-year programme.

The programme will be open to all businesses, including sole traders, who have fewer than 10 staff, and will be managed by Microfinance Ireland which the government says already has considerable experience in the area.

The average value of loans given under the scheme should be around €16,000, with a ceiling of €25,000 placed on any loans.

Jobs minister Richard Bruton, disclosing details of the programme on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, said small businesses were “the engine of job recovery” and were responsible for about 85 per cent of all job creation.

“We see this as a €90 million fund, over ten years, delivering 5,000 businesses which wouldn’t be established otherwise,” Bruton said.

In a statement this morning, he said the government could “create a strong engine of indigenous business to create and sustain the jobs we need”.

Legislation to establish the fund has been published this morning, with Bruton hoping to have it enacted later this year.

A similar act allowing for a State-backed credit guarantee system for SMEs was approved by the Oireachtas this week and has been sent to President Higgins to be signed into law.

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