A fund designed to give SMEs across the province the funding they need for growth has distributed £2.5m in loans in less than two years.
The £5m Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund is managed by Ulster Community Investment plc (UCI) on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland. The fund provides access to finance for small businesses, sole traders and partnerships which are keen to develop their business but find it difficult to access funding through traditional sources.
“The fund has helped support companies from a wide range of sectors including IT, food processing, construction, leisure, tourism and many others,” said UCIT finance director Barry Connolly.
“We are delighted to be able to support these small businesses in their growth ambitions and to help many others get off the ground.”
William McCulla, director of corporate finance at Invest NI said the fund had provided much needed access to financial support.
“The fund continues to attract strong interest and remains an important part of our Access to Finance portfolio.”
Enterprise NI CEO Gordon Gough said it was clear the fund was servicing a gap in the market.
“It is very encouraging that we have seen so many success stories recently from clients supported by the fund and we aim for this to continue over the coming years.”
One business to benefit is Titanic Creative Management whose MD Nuala Campbell said the loan had allowed her to open Northern Ireland’s first training and management agency for costumiers and hair and make-up artists.
“I have been a professional make-up artist in TV and film for many years and spotted a gap in the market to upskill local employees to meet the demand for skilled artists in the ever growing entertainment production industry in Northern Ireland.
“The Small Business Loan Fund has been incredibly supportive in helping me kick start the business.”