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The benefits of applying for a small business loan with your Local Enterprise Office


Regardless of what sector your business operates in or what service it provides, the possibilities presented by a small loan extend well beyond its numerical value.

The challenges involved in developing a small business are as varied as they are demanding. From expanding into new areas and cash flow challenges to funding efforts and connecting with clients and customers, these early obstacles often serve as a litmus test for any growing enterprise.

Established to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund, Microfinance Ireland (MFI), is a not-for-profit lender that offers small businesses loans of up to €25,000. MFI offers a service that provides funding to start-ups as well as established businesses that are finding it difficult to get finance from other commercial lenders such as banks and credit unions.

MFI reduced its lending rate for all new lending as of 1 November 2021. Furthermore, The Local Enterprise Offices can offer a further 1pc discount on the rate bringing it down to a very competitive 4.5pc APR for their clients.

If you would like to apply a small business loan through your Local Enterprise Office, you should contact your nearest Local Enterprise Office.

The benefits of applying for a small business loan through your LEO don't stop with the new low interest rate. They also offer access to advice, business supports, and mentoring can help the process become considerably smoother, as well as ensuring that the loan is as beneficial to your business as it possibly can be.

The benefits for your business

The business mentoring can be used to help business owners in areas in areas that there may be a skill gap whether it’s bookkeeping, marketing or general insights to help entrepreneurs run their business more efficiently. Up to five mentoring sessions can be provided by the Local Enterprise Office and paid for by MFI for successful applicants.

Depending on your business and what your objectives are, loan amounts range from €2,000 to €25,000. MFI loans can be used to help businesses to start-up and grow or they can help to established businesses to recover and expand as new opportunities arise. Loans are unsecured, repayments are fixed and there are no penalties for early repayments. Further exemplifying why, it is such an attractive option for small business owners, there are also no fees or charges involved.

Des McCarthy, Chief Executive of Microfinance Ireland, said: “The interest rate cut, and mentoring support will mean our business loans are now even more affordable and beneficial to businesses.

“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. We’re happy to work with the Local Enterprise Offices to support micro- businesses and help to spread the economic recovery right across the country.”

Padraic McElwee, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “If you are a new business trying to get support then utilising all the options out there is the best thing to do and the Local Enterprise Offices have helped thousands of small businesses get off the ground. We have worked closely with MFI on ensuring we can help all types of businesses access financial assistance, but the benefit of applying through a LEO as opposed to directly is not just the preferential interest rate.

“When you apply through a LEO you will get sector specific business advice, you will get an experienced business advisor to talk through your business plan and they can help guide you towards what other supports may be suitable from financial to training and mentoring. They can continue to give you this guidance and support as your business grows over the years and may be one of the best contacts you make as you are starting out.”

Microfinance Ireland have a range of loan offers available to help businesses start-up, grow and expand. They also offer emergency loans for businesses impacted by COVID -19 and Brexit. You can view all their loans offers here.

Don’t delay, apply directly to your Local Enterprise Office to avail of the discounted interest rate today.