ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, has welcomed the establishment of the long awaited Microfinance Scheme for businesses with less than 10 employees.
The announcement by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation of the scheme will give a much needed boost to micro businesses that have been ignored and starved of bank credit since the main banks were bailed out in 2008.
In welcoming the launch of the Microfinance Scheme, ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, said: “Micro businesses are in the front line of this prolonged recession and when funding was most needed, the banks reneged on their commitment necessitating this further government intervention.
“We now hope that this scheme will initially assist in retaining and ultimately increase employment in the ‘seed-bed’ of the economy”.
“The question now is when will the much announced Credit Guarantee Scheme for SMEs be launched, as that sector is also in dire need of credit.
“While the scheme will not be the ‘silver bullet’, it will certainly help some vulnerable but viable SMEs and allow them to survive, consolidate and in time, expand, with the positive result of increased employment.”
In conclusion, Fielding demanded that the Central Bank monitor the rescued banks refusal rates, as this scheme cannot give them the excuse for further loan refusals.
The bailed-out banks must also ‘up their game’ in the slowness of their refusal letters to businesses, as delays will hold up the processing of this Microfinance loan scheme for deserving micro businesses.