11/02/2013

£5m Fund For NI Businesses

A new £5m fund has been launched to help small businesses in Northern Ireland.

The NI Small Business Loan Fund is part of Invest Northern Ireland’s Access to Finance Strategy.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced the fund, which will be delivered by Ulster Community Investment plc (UCI).

Arlene Foster said: "The fund will provide loans to individuals, private companies and social enterprises in the SME and micro enterprise size range. Northern Ireland is dominated by small and micro businesses with proportionately more small businesses relative to its population base than the rest of the UK.

"This new fund will help bridge the gap in funding available to small businesses across all sectors in the start-up and growth phases of development."

Loans will be in the range of £1,000 - £50,000 and will be higher risk in nature, as traditional bank funding will not have been available or will have been fully exhausted.

The loans will typically be unsecured and personal guarantees may be sought.

Applicants will need to clearly demonstrate their ability to service the loan repayments.

A maximum of £15,000 will be available to start-up enterprises, with the potential for follow-on lending up to a maximum of £50,000.

Seamus O’Prey, Chair of UCIT Ltd said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to manage the NI Small Business Loan Fund. The Fund will be investing over the next five years and we look forward to working with Invest NI in delivering what is a new and innovative product in Northern Ireland."

(IT)

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