News & Events

Microfinance 2018 Annual Report welcomed by Minister Pat Breen

  •  Microfinance loan funding supported 856 jobs in 2018
  • €5.4m in loans were approved to 384 small businesses
  • MFI won the “InBusiness” Recognition award in the category Best Finance Provider for Micro-Enterprises and Start-Ups
  • Provides the lowest cost of any Government job initiative - €2000 per job
  • Micro enterprises outside of Dublin account for 79% of loans

Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, TD welcomed the publication of the Microfinance Ireland’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2018. The Annual Report and Accounts show that €28m of loans have been approved under the Microenterprise Loan Fund since 2012, supporting 4,808 jobs in 1,951 borrowing companies throughout Ireland. Microfinance Ireland stands ready to further support small businesses that may be impacted by Brexit and have difficulty in accessing Bank finance.

Commending Microfinance Ireland on its continued excellent performance in 2018 Minister Breen commented: “The work of MFI since its launch in 2012 continues to have a positive impact on microenterprises across Ireland. MFI performs a critical function, with most of its customers made up of start-ups and those from vulnerable sectors such as youth, unemployed, females, migrants and seniors. Significantly, almost 80% of loan approvals go to microenterprises outside of Dublin which helps to promote regional development. Microfinance Ireland makes a vital contribution to the Governments’ Future Jobs Ireland policy of improving SME productivity and increasing participation in the labour force”.

In December, MFI won the “InBusiness” Recognition award in the category Best Finance Provider for Micro-Enterprises and Start-Ups, organised by Chambers Ireland. Minister Bren added: “The award to MFI recognises the very high quality and value of the services they provide. I congratulate Garrett Stokes, CEO of Microfinance Ireland and his team on their continued good work”.


For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, or (01) 631-2200

Note for Editors

About Microfinance Ireland (MFI)

Microfinance Ireland is a not-for-profit lender established in 2012 to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund.  Microfinance Ireland benefits from a guarantee funded by the European Union under the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EASI). Microfinance Ireland provides an alternative source of funding to micro-enterprises* – both new and existing - who may be having difficulties in accessing finance from commercial providers. It ultimately supports the creation and/or retention of jobs.

*Micro-enterprises are defined as any business with less than 10 employees and annual turnover of less than €2M.

About The European Investment Fund (EIF)

The European Investment Fund support Europe’s SMEs by improving their access to finance through a wide range of selected financial intermediaries. To this end, they design, promote and implement equity and debt financial instruments which specifically target SMEs. In this role, they foster EU objectives in support of entrepreneurship, growth, innovation, research and development, and employment. By offering an Integrated Risk Finance Product Range of SME finance to our intermediaries, they complement the products offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB)

About Future Jobs Ireland

Future Jobs Ireland 2019, is the first in a series of annual reports as part of a multi-annual framework. Future Jobs Ireland outlines longer-term ambitions for the future of the economy out until 2025 taking account of the challenges ahead. Each year, Future Jobs Ireland will set out the steps to deliver on the ambitions with the ultimate goal of increasing the resilience of our economy and future-proofing it.

Each of the Five Pillars of Future Jobs Ireland has high level targets for 2025. Future Jobs Ireland includes 26 ambitions which contain 127 deliverables (actions) for completion in 2019. Each deliverable has a quantifiable output, a lead Department and timeframe.

In terms of implementation, Future Jobs Ireland will be a standing agenda item overseen by Cabinet Committee A. Progress on deliverables will be reported quarterly to the Senior Official Group. Biannually, more detailed progress reports will be made to Government and subsequently published.

Key deliverables for 2019 under each pillar include:

 Pillar 1: Embracing Innovation and Technological Change

  • Deliver important policy initiatives including an Industry 4.0 Strategy, a National Digital Strategy, and a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy
  • Form Top Teams to progress areas of opportunity for Ireland beginning with Artificial Intelligence, GovTech and Offshore Renewables
  • Develop Ireland as a centre for developing and testing new technologies by, for example:
    • extending the EI/IDA Irish Manufacturing Research Additive Manufacturing technology centre to include cobotics and AR/VR,
    • progressing the Advanced Manufacturing Centre,
    • expanding the Tyndall National Institute,
    • commencing the development of a National Centre of Excellence on High Performance and Nearly Zero Energy Buildings
    • commencing the development of a National Design Centre
  • With NESC, develop a strategy for Transition Teams to help the transition of vulnerable enterprises and workers

Pillar 2: Improving SME Productivity

  • Deliver a new female entrepreneurship strategy
  • Develop a new investment funding facility to assist indigenous Irish companies in scaling their businesses
  • Encourage the growth of clusters where enterprises can grow and help each other and deepen linkages between foreign and Irish owned businesses
  • Increase the impact of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and increase SME take-up of Enterprise Ireland (EI) and LEO productivity supports
  • Drive productivity growth in the construction and retail sectors

Pillar 3: Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent

  • Offer career advice to workers through the Public Employment Service
  • Engrain lifelong learning and offer career enhancing opportunities to workers
  • Ensure our economic migration system is responsive to our labour market needs
  • Promote flexible training options
  • Provide training in emerging technologies

Pillar 4: Increasing Participation in the Labour Force

  • Conduct a national consultation on extending flexible working options
  • Develop guidelines for employers on flexible working options
  • Develop a return to work service (e.g. for women returning to the workplace) as      part of the Public Employment Service
  • Improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities
  • Provide incentives for people who wish to work longer

Pillar 5: Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy

  • Position Ireland as a centre in research, development and innovation, for smart grids, buildings and renewable technologies
  • Review the regional dimension of the economic and employment implications of the transition to a low carbon economy
  • Promote electric vehicles and achieve over 10,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of the year
  • Deliver a national deep retrofit programme for existing housing stock.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, or (01) 631-2200

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