NI SMALL BUSINESS LOAN FUND REACHES £2.5M MARK
The £5m Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund (the Fund) has distributed £2.5m in loans in less than two years to businesses across Northern Ireland. The Fund is managed by Ulster Community Investment plc (UCI) on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland. UCI is a subsidiary of social finance organisation Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT).
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.
Finance Director of UCIT, Barry Connolly said: “Since setting up the fund in 2013 we have approved 120 loans totalling £2.5m. The Fund has helped support companies from a very wide range of sectors including IT, food processing, construction, leisure, tourism and many others. 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, Invest NI said: “The Small Business Loan Fund has been a real success to date. It has provided much needed access to funds to a wide range of businesses across all of Northern Ireland. The fund continues to attract strong interest and remains an important part of our Access to Finance portfolio.”
Gordon Gough, Chief Executive of Enterprise NI added: “The NI Small Business Loan Fund has been a very welcome addition to the funding environment within Northern Ireland. The activity to date has clearly shown that the fund is filling 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 recently from the Fund is Titanic Creative Management. Its Managing Director, Nuala Campbell, said: “The loan we secured has allowed us 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.”
The Fund has proven to be a very effective way for people right across Northern Ireland to set up their own business, or for existing business owners keen to expand. Those interested in finding out more about the Fund can visit www.nisblf.com