A NEW £5 million Small Business Loan Fund has been launched with the aim of helping small businesses achieve funding.
Part of Invest Northern Ireland’s Access to Finance strategy the fund will be delivered by Ulster Community Investment plc (UCI), a subsidiary of Ulster Community Investment Trust Ltd (UCIT), and help bridge a gap where other funding options have been exhausted.
“The fund will provide loans to individuals, private companies and social enterprises in the SME and micro enterprise size range,” said Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.
“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.
“By ensuring that companies are not held back because they cannot access finance, the NI Small Business Loan Fund will boost business confidence and help SMEs.”
Loans to recipients 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.
UCIT chairman Seamus O’Prey said: “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.”