Northern Ireland

NI SMEs receive over £6m in funding

The Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund has provided over £6m since launch and is estimated to have helped create over 150 new jobs and almost £30m in additional sales.

It is expected that the total amount lent will exceed £7m over the course of the fund’s lifetime.

Ulster Community Finance (UCF) is managing the fund on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland.

UCF is a subsidiary of the social finance organisation Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).

Harry McDaid, CEO of UCIT, said: “Northern Ireland has the highest concentration of SMEs in the UK and accounts for 99% of our private sector. 

“Ensuring that these firms have adequate access to funding is, therefore, essential for the wellbeing of the economy.

“The fund’s clients are ambitious, growth-orientated firms and together they represent significant levels of employment and wealth creation. 

“Northern Ireland needs to grow its own pool of successful indigenous companies and we’re confident that some of tomorrow’s star business performers will be beneficiaries of this fund.”

The fund provides loans of up to £50,000 to start-ups, micro enterprises and small businesses, who struggle to access funding through traditional sources.

William McCulla, director of corporate finance at Invest Northern Ireland, added: “Now in its fifth year, the Small Business Loan Fund is continuing to make a significant difference to the business community in Northern Ireland by boosting business confidence and ensuring SMEs have access to the type of finance needed to support their growth and development.”

UCIT has assisted over 400 third sector organisations since 2001 with loans totalling more than £60m.

Between 2001 and 2016, £51m of loans were approved in Northern Ireland, while €22m of loans were approved in the Republic of Ireland between 2007 and 2016.

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