DÁIL QUESTIONS WITH DEPT FOR BUSINESS ON MICROFINANCE AND SMEs

  1. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of microfinance and loan guarantees under her Department’s indigenous enterprise development division which were granted in 2015, 2016, and to date in 2017; the value of this finance and loans in each of these years; the areas and sectors receiving this support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42767/17]

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: When the Minister and the Minister of State are rambling around the country, they always say that access to working capital is the key issue for SMEs. How are Microfinance Ireland and credit schemes for indigenous companies performing, in particular the credit guarantee scheme, CGS, 2017? The counter guarantee scheme still awaits the publication of a statutory instrument.

The Government announced a new €300 million Brexit fund. How will that operate in particular to support SMEs?

Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Pat Breen): I thank the Deputy for his questions. I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 9 together.

The Board of Microfinance Ireland, MFI, provides me with quarterly reports of progress and these reports are published on the websites of both Microfinance Ireland and my Department.

The latest available figures, up to end of quarter 2, 2017, show that there have been 2,966 applications received with €19.6 million worth of loans approved and 1,172 drawdowns of loans worth €16.6 million in total. The fund has supported 3,145 jobs. Support activity is widely distributed both by geography and sector. Activity by county and industry is published in the quarterly reports. I will send a copy of the quarter 2, 2017 report to both Deputies for their information.

A total of 22% of all loan approvals have gone to Dublin; 16% to the south east; 13% to the Border region; 11% to the west; 11% to the mid-east; 10% to the south west; 8% to the mid-west and 9% to the midlands.

The most popular sectors supported are wholesale-retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles at 22%, manufacturing at 12% and construction at 8%.

There were 357 loans approved in 2015 totalling €5.4 million, 397 loans approved in 2016 totalling €5.4 million and 178 loans were approved up until the end of June this year totalling €2.5 million.

During 2015, in line with the Microenterprise Loan Fund Act 2012, the performance of MFI was reviewed in detail by my officials, and the implementation of changes led to better performance, flexibility and advertising of its products. A key change was the removal of a previous requirement for a microenterprise to have been refused a bank loan before recourse to this channel.

Microfinance Ireland is guided by its new strategy, The Way Forward 2017-2021. At the centre of the new strategy is the strategic vision which provides for the need for MFI to create a value proposition by being the best in class micro-lender, creating and supporting jobs and fulfilling the borrowing requirements of microenterprises across Ireland. The strategic vision also aims to exceed the strategic objective of the fund of supporting the creation of 7,700 jobs in Ireland.

This new strategy is bearing fruit as the organisation was recently awarded a certification of compliance with the European code of good conduct for micro credit provision. This certification confirms MFI’s position as a best in class micro credit provider in Europe, being one of the first institutions in Europe to qualify and the only organisation in Ireland to receive this award.

With regards to loan guarantees, 108 facilities were sanctioned under the CGS in 2015 totalling €20.4 million, 131 facilities sanctioned in 2016 totalling €22.8 million and in 2017, up until the end of June of this year, 70 facilities have been sanctioned totalling €9.2 million.

The percentage of sanctioned lending breaks down as 55% to the east, 10.6% to the mid-west, 10.2% to the south west, 8% to the south east, 6.6% to the midlands, 5% to the west, 2.6% to the north east and 2% to the north west.

The most popular sectors in receipt of support include information and communications technology at 20.8%, wholesale-retail trade and repairs at 16.8%, manufacturing at 13.9% and human health and social work at 9%. I will provide the Deputies with charts showing the full breakdown of the regions and sectors supported by Microfinance Ireland and by the CGS.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I thank the Minister of State for his comprehensive reply. He indicated that Microfinance Ireland processed 3,000 applications to the value of €19 million in loans. The average loan was €15,000. The approval rate, however, over the five years is less than 46% and that includes some applicants who were turned down originally and later approved. There is, therefore, a large gap for small businesses and young entrepreneurs that are struggling to get going. According to the regional breakdown, the west and north west have received a relatively small level of support. I acknowledge the Department is adopting a regional approach. In particular, is special support provided for women entrepreneurs given two thirds of the successful applicants were men?

Was there much uptake of the credit survey by the Credit Review Office? What feedback is the Minister of State getting? As he said when he visited our small business centre in Coolock, access to working capital is critical. The Minister has also made similar comments.

Deputy Pat Breen: I thank the Deputy for his questions. The microenterprise loan fund was set up in 2012 in difficult circumstances when many SMEs and microenterprises were unable to secure loans from the traditional banks. A review was conducted in 2015. According to the breakdown, 24% of the loans go to women and the figure is the same for Microfinance Ireland.

I have given the Deputy a breakdown of the statistics on where the loans are going. Some 78% of the loans are going outside Dublin. It is important that we are creating more jobs outside Dublin as well. It has a role to play, although in recent times since the review there has been a slowdown on that. Officials in the Department are meeting with MFI and the local enterprise office to see how we can fill the gap the Deputy has spoken about because that gap exists. Hopefully, they will come up with a resolution to ensure the viability of microfinance into the future. When Microfinance Ireland was established there was a different climate. Commercial banks are obviously lending a little more now as well. Incidentally, today is National Women’s Enterprise Day and there are many events around the country. It is an appropriate time to expand.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: The Brexit loan scheme amounts to €300 million. Obviously these small businesses are critical as we go through the next couple of years, regardless of what happens. Perhaps the Brexit situation might not happen but if it does this is a core area of the economy that we must strongly support. I note that the bulk of the funding is coming through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, but the Minister mentioned, and it is referred to in the Estimates, that there would be resources there for SMEs, that is, companies that have less than 500 employees. The Department is providing €23 million of the initial seed fund and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is providing €9 million. What targets does the Minister have for that to shore up what is perhaps the most important area of our indigenous economic performance?

Deputy Pat Breen: First, it was very good news for our Department that we got this Brexit loan scheme in the budget. We are also looking at the counter guarantee scheme that the Deputy mentioned as well. It is expected that another statutory instrument will be made providing for the Minister to share the risk with SBCI in such a way that the SBCI can in turn access and draw down EU funding for Irish SMEs. With regard to the €300 million fund, 40% of that will be guaranteed by the European Investment Bank, so it will cut down our guarantee. We are guaranteeing 80%. We are providing €14 million of that and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is providing the other €9 million. The details of that will be worked out. The Tánaiste gave some details on the Brexit loan scheme earlier. I have a limited amount of time now so I will forward that information to the Deputy. It will be useful for him to have it. It is an important incentive for small and medium enterprises that are facing the challenges of Brexit. Having that cushion is important. The fact that the funding will be co-guaranteed by Europe and Ireland is also important. It is a €300 million fund and, as the Tánaiste said, it is first of other schemes we will be considering to ensure that the SME sector will grow. It is a very important part of the Irish economy comprising 97% of enterprises in the country.

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Tommy's Dáil speech on Rent Certainty PMB
Tommy's Dáil speech on Rent Certainty PMB

Tommy's Dáil speech on Revised Estimates for Justice
Tommy's Dáil speech on Revised Estimates for Justice

Tommy questioning Minister Ross on Metro North
Tommy questioning Minister Ross on Metro North

Tommy questioning Minister Ross on plans for College Green
Tommy questioning Minister Ross on plans for College Green

Tommy's speech during Topical Issues Debate on Bin Charges
Tommy's speech during Topical Issues Debate on Bin Charges

Tommy's speech during Leader's Questions on the Stardust Tragedy
Tommy's speech during Leader's Questions on the Stardust Tragedy

Tommy's Dáil speech on Statements on Jobs
Tommy's Dáil speech on Statements on Jobs

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Adjournment Debate on Autism Services
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Adjournment Debate on Autism Services

Tommy questioning the Minister for Education on third level funding and access
Tommy questioning the Minister for Education on third level funding and access

Tommy's speech on Dáil Reform Report
Tommy's speech on Dáil Reform Report

Tommy questioning the Tanaiste on Garda resources
Tommy questioning the Tanaiste on Garda resources

Tommy's speech on the Adoption Bill
Tommy's speech on the Adoption Bill

Tommy's speech on Ministerial appointments of 32nd Dáil
Tommy's speech on Ministerial appointments of 32nd Dáil

Tommy's speech during Statements on Crime
Tommy's speech during Statements on Crime

Tommy's speech during Statements on Irish Water
Tommy's speech during Statements on Irish Water

Tommy's speech during Statements on Mental Health
Tommy's speech during Statements on Mental Health

Tommy's speech during Statements on EU/UK Relations
Tommy's speech during Statements on EU/UK Relations

Tommy's speech on Taoiseach nominations
Tommy's speech on Taoiseach nominations

Tommy's speech during Statements on Housing and Homelessness
Tommy's speech during Statements on Housing and Homelessness

Tommy questioning the Minister for Finance
Tommy questioning the Minister for Finance

Tommy questioning the Minister  for Transport on mututal recognition of disqualified drivers
Tommy questioning the Minister for Transport on mututal recognition of disqualified drivers

Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on RSA and road safety statistics
Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on RSA and road safety statistics

Tommy questioning the Minister for Education and Skills
Tommy questioning the Minister for Education and Skills

Tommy's Dáil speech on dredging in Howth Harbour
Tommy's Dáil speech on dredging in Howth Harbour

Tommy questioning Minister White on Eircode
Tommy questioning Minister White on Eircode

Tommy questioning Minister Kelly on Housing and Homelessness
Tommy questioning Minister Kelly on Housing and Homelessness

Tommy's Dáil speech on Social Welfare Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on Social Welfare Bill 2015

Tommy questioning Minister Bruton on Cadbury Coolock
Tommy questioning Minister Bruton on Cadbury Coolock

Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issues Debate on Drink-driving Conviction Rates
Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issues Debate on Drink-driving Conviction Rates

Tommy's Dáil speech on Budget 2016
Tommy's Dáil speech on Budget 2016

Tommy 's Dáil speech on Financial Resolutions No.4 Budget 2016
Tommy 's Dáil speech on Financial Resolutions No.4 Budget 2016

Tommy's Dáil speech on Sinn Féin's Social Housing Motion
Tommy's Dáil speech on Sinn Féin's Social Housing Motion

Tommy questioning Tánaiste on One Parent Family Payments
Tommy questioning Tánaiste on One Parent Family Payments

Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on  the Malahide Road Re-alignment
Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on the Malahide Road Re-alignment

Tommy questioning Minister for Health on Fair Deal Scheme
Tommy questioning Minister for Health on Fair Deal Scheme

Tommy questioning Minister Reilly on UN Review on the Rights of the Child
Tommy questioning Minister Reilly on UN Review on the Rights of the Child

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Civil Debt Procedures Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Civil Debt Procedures Bill 2015

Tommy 's question to Minister Coveney on BSE case
Tommy 's question to Minister Coveney on BSE case

Tommy's Dáil speech on St Michael's House Funding
Tommy's Dáil speech on St Michael's House Funding

Tommy's Dáil speech on the  Low Pay Commission
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Low Pay Commission

Tommy's Dáil speech questioning on uplifts to Rent Supplement
Tommy's Dáil speech questioning on uplifts to Rent Supplement

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Commission of Investigation into IBRC
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Commission of Investigation into IBRC

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2015

Tommy's Dáil speech questioning Minister O'Sullivan on autism service
Tommy's Dáil speech questioning Minister O'Sullivan on autism service

Tommy's Dáil speech against sale of Aer Lingus
Tommy's Dáil speech against sale of Aer Lingus

Tommy's Dáil questions to Minister Flanagan on China
Tommy's Dáil questions to Minister Flanagan on China

Tommy's Dáil questions To Minister Richard Bruton on Cadbury Coolock
Tommy's Dáil questions To Minister Richard Bruton on Cadbury Coolock

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill 2014
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill 2014

Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issue Debate on National Bus Strike
Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issue Debate on National Bus Strike

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Spring Economic Statement
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Spring Economic Statement

Tommy's closing Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill
Tommy's closing Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on Peace and Neutrality
Tommy's Dáil speech on Peace and Neutrality

Tommy's opening Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill
Tommy's opening Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on Neutrality Bill
Tommy's Dáil speech on Neutrality Bill

Tommy questioning the Tánaiste on changes to One-Parent Family Payment in the Dáil
Tommy questioning the Tánaiste on changes to One-Parent Family Payment in the Dáil

Tommy's contribution to the Topical Issue Matter of Cadbury Coolock job losses in Dáil Éireann
Tommy's contribution to the Topical Issue Matter of Cadbury Coolock job losses in Dáil Éireann

Tommy questioning Health Ministers in the Dáil on services for children with autism
Tommy questioning Health Ministers in the Dáil on services for children with autism

Tommy's Dáil speech in support on Jake's Law
Tommy's Dáil speech in support on Jake's Law

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on rising rents and the need for Rent Regulation
Tommy's Dáil speech on rising rents and the need for Rent Regulation

Tommy's Dáil speech on his submission for Budget 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on his submission for Budget 2015

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Garda Síochana (Amendment) (No.3) Bill
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Garda Síochana (Amendment) (No.3) Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Road Traffic (No.2) Bill 2014
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Road Traffic (No.2) Bill 2014

Tommy raises constituents' concerns regarding North Dublin Oil Pipeline
Tommy raises constituents' concerns regarding North Dublin Oil Pipeline

Tommy's speech on Social Clauses in Public Procurement Bill 2013
Tommy's speech on Social Clauses in Public Procurement Bill 2013

Tommy speaks on Workplace Relations Bill 2014
Tommy speaks on Workplace Relations Bill 2014

Tommy asks Minister Paschal Donohoe to introduce third payment option for penalty points offences
Tommy asks Minister Paschal Donohoe to introduce third payment option for penalty points offences

Tommy urges Minister Kelly to immediately deal with social housing crisis
Tommy urges Minister Kelly to immediately deal with social housing crisis

Topical Issue Debate on Allegations of Illegal Activity in Some Contracts under the School Building Programme
Topical Issue Debate on Allegations of Illegal Activity in Some Contracts under the School Building Programme

Tommy's Speech to the Dáil on the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill
Tommy's Speech to the Dáil on the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill

Tommy asks Minister Rabbitte about Possibility of Introducing Rent Controls
Tommy asks Minister Rabbitte about Possibility of Introducing Rent Controls

Tommy's Dáil Speech on State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014
Tommy's Dáil Speech on State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014

Tommy's Dáil Speech on Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013
Tommy's Dáil Speech on Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013

Tommy's Dáil Speech on Cemetery Management Bill 2013
Tommy's Dáil Speech on Cemetery Management Bill 2013

Dáil Statement by Tommy on Social Housing Crisis
Dáil Statement by Tommy on Social Housing Crisis

Tommy speaks in Dáil on Garda Inspectorate Report
Tommy speaks in Dáil on Garda Inspectorate Report

Tommy asks Minister Joan Burton about Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times
Tommy asks Minister Joan Burton about Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times

Tommy's Statement to the Dáil in response to Allegations about An Garda Síochána
Tommy's Statement to the Dáil in response to Allegations about An Garda Síochána

Tommy speaks on Offshore Wind Energy Plan in Dáil Éireann
Tommy speaks on Offshore Wind Energy Plan in Dáil Éireann

Dáil Speech by Tommy on Roads Bill 2014
Dáil Speech by Tommy on Roads Bill 2014

Tommy asks Minister Noonan about future of Irish Nationwide Mortgage Holders
Tommy asks Minister Noonan about future of Irish Nationwide Mortgage Holders

Tommy Calls for Commission of Investigation into Stardust Fire in Dáil Éireann
Tommy Calls for Commission of Investigation into Stardust Fire in Dáil Éireann

Tommy's Dáil Statement on Effects of Recent Flooding
Tommy's Dáil Statement on Effects of Recent Flooding

Tommy asks Minister Deenihan about War Commemorations
Tommy asks Minister Deenihan about War Commemorations

Tommy Broughan TD asks Taoiseach about Commission of Investigation for Stardust Fire
Tommy Broughan TD asks Taoiseach about Commission of Investigation for Stardust Fire

Tommy Broughan TD speaks at Conference 09
Tommy Broughan TD speaks at Conference 09

Tommy Questions Taoiseach on Aer Lingus Dispute
Tommy Questions Taoiseach on Aer Lingus Dispute

Tommy's Dail Speech on Illegal Occupations in Newtown Court & Clongriffin
Tommy's Dail Speech on Illegal Occupations in Newtown Court & Clongriffin

Tommy's Dáil speech on National Minimum Wage
Tommy's Dáil speech on National Minimum Wage

Labour Party Conference 2010
Labour Party Conference 2010

Dail Tourism Debate
Dail Tourism Debate

Labour Party Conference 2009
Labour Party Conference 2009

Dublin Bay North