The success of the Midlands Think Tank, which was the brainchild of, and driven by, the directors and staff of Midas Technologies, shows us what can be achieved, and the opportunities that lie ahead, for the small business sector, that is according to local TD, Willie Penrose.
“We must continue to focus upon the sector, and encourage and foster an environment, both at governmental and local authority level, to assist such businesses to emerge from the difficult economic environment, and to get on the growth path again,” he said.
Deputy Penrose believes that many small businesses are weighted down with onerous legacy leases: commercial rents increased by 240 per cent between 2000 and 2007, whilst over the same period the Consumer Price Index increased by 30 per cent. The provision of the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions ) Amendment Bill 2013, which may be passed before the end of the year, will permit such businesses to apply to the Circuit Court, to reorganise their business issues and deal with very onerous leases, which are effectively putting these businesses out the door.
“I would encourage people who might be having difficulty accessing credit for their business to contact Microfinance Ireland (MFI ), which is a not-for-profit lender established to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund as part of the Action Plan for Jobs,” he said. The objective of MFI is to provide additional lending to start-up and growing microenterprises, that have been declined credits by their lenders, and it can be contacted on www.microenterpriseireland.ie
Loans vary between €2,000 and €25,000, which stretch between a three-year and five-year term. Businesses from all sectors can apply, but the fund is confined to businesses with fewer than ten staff and an annual turnover less than €2m. It can be availed of by sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies, and the business must be commercially viable, with loan repayment capacity, and have an up-to-date Tax Clearance Certificate.
“I would urge any microenterprises that have difficulty accessing bank credit to contact MFI directly,” he added.