The Enterprise Fund was established and seed capital provided by the International Fund for Ireland in 1989. The initiative was also supported by donations from many Louth-based businesses. The purpose was to provide loan finance to entrepreneurs and small businesses that had difficulty securing funding from the established lending institutions.
Since then, the Enterprise Fund has supported some 500 entrepreneurs and established businesses, representing a broad range of sectors. Many of these applicants were not eligible for State support – others had their loan applications rejected by the mainstream financial institutions. Some applicants had a social enterprise or community support dimension to their products and services.
Many of these companies have stayed small, but others have grown to be significant employers. Many 1000’s of jobs have been generated or sustained as a result of the Enterprise Fund’s interventions. Decisions on loan applications are made by the Board and its Assessment Committee, on which both the private and the public sectors are represented. The outstanding feature of the Enterprise Fund’s structure is its ability to harness local knowledge and apply local intelligence and discretion to its decision making process.
The Enterprise Fund offers business loans of up to €25,000 to approved entrepreneurs and enterprises. These loans are repaid over a 3 – 5 year period. The interest rates are typically 7%.