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Minister pledges aid for small businesses

THE loan guarantee scheme for small firms and a microfinance fund for start-ups will be up and running by September, Small Business Minister John Perry has pledged.

The smaller companies in Ireland are struggling to obtain credit to continue their day-to- day operations.

Mr Perry told the Small Firms Association's (SFA) annual conference in Dublin that the guarantee was being processed "urgently". The microfinance fund will help restore confidence in the start-up sector.

"These are designed to assist companies who have been refused credit by the banks, because they are deemed to be a higher risk," he said.