Minister welcomes new loan supports for Ireland’s young entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs entering ‘IBYE’ competition can apply for business loans at preferential rates from Microfinance Ireland

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D., has welcomed the announcement that every young entrepreneur entering this year’s ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition can apply for discounted loans through Microfinance Ireland.

By applying for the new IBYE business loan, young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 can apply for up to €5,000 at a preferential rate of 5% APR, which is a reduction of 2.8% APR on Microfinance Ireland’s standard rate, for people applying directly to them. The discounted loan package is designed to boost young entrepreneurs’ access to credit, to help them set-up and grow their own businesses faster.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is run by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices and the deadline to enter this year is Friday, October 14th. More than 1,400 entrepreneurs entered last year’s competition and all 2016 entrants are eligible to apply for the new discounted loan.

Welcoming the announcement about the IBYE loan package, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. said: “Microfinance Ireland is a key part of the start-up and microenterprise ecosystem in Ireland and this is a very attractive offer of discounted loan financing for IBYE competition applicants.  This is a strong endorsement of the IBYE initiative and what it can achieve by encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship and driving successful business start-ups amongst young people all over the country. If you are aged between 18 and 35 with a new business idea, new start-up or established enterprise, there is still time to get your IBYE 2016 application in by Friday 14th October.”

Garrett Stokes, Chief Executive of Microfinance Ireland, said: “Microfinance Ireland wants to make it easier for businesses to start up, expand, succeed and create jobs. That is why we are very pleased to support the 2016 IBYE competition. Our loan finance offer of up to €5,000 at a discounted rate of 5% APR to competition applicants recognises the ambition and potential that exists amongst Ireland’s younger entrepreneurs. If you are an IBYE 2016 applicant requiring loan funding to establish or grow your business, I would encourage you to contact your Local Enterprise Office and check out how Microfinance Ireland can help.”

IBYE is co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices and Sheelagh Daly of the LEOs said: “Access to loans at a discounted rate is another significant reason why more young entrepreneurs should enter the IBYE competition this year. As well as accessing the IBYE loan package through Microfinance Ireland, every entrant could also win a share of the LEO €50,000 county investment fund or one of the hundreds of places on offer at Regional Business Bootcamps.”

The loan offer is available to entrants across the three IBYE categories, which are: Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up and Best Established Business and the competition deadline to enter is Friday, October 14th.

Further details are available from the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, through and from the IBYE website at Information on Microfinance Ireland supports can be found at

For media queries, please contact Sarah Bohan at Engage Ireland

Tel:  01 427 8388 / 087 65 39936 / Email: office


Notes to Editor:

About IBYE

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is an enterprise initiative from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, and run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country. A €2 million investment fund is available through IBYE which supports young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial investments. IBYE is  open to  people between the ages of 18 (at date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2016) with an innovative business idea, start-up or established business including: • individuals • venture teams • partnerships • existing businesses with a new idea • people overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in Ireland Each Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is running a competition in each county (Friday October 14th closing date) aimed at finding winners in each of the three categories as well as an overall county winner. Each LEO will have a total fund of up to €50,000 to invest in six businesses (three category winners and three runners-up) according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs. The three categories are as follows:

Best Business Idea (pre-trading) – up to €10,000 investment fund through every LEO (€7,000 for category winner and €3,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)

Best Start-Up Business (up to 36 months), with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)

Best Established Business (over 36 months) with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)

The county winners will then proceed to eight regional finals from which 24 contenders (three from each region – one in each category) will be selected to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final, one of which will also be named with the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.


About Microfinance Ireland

Microfinance Ireland (MFI), as a not-for-profit lender, has been established to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund. Unsecured loans are offered from €2,000 up to €25,000, over a 3 to 5 year period. The European Investment Fund signed a guarantee agreement for MFI’s loan book under Progress Microfinance, in 2013. Progress Microfinance is managed by the European Investment Fund on behalf of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank.

MFI preferential rate for IBYE 2016 applicants:

Microfinance Ireland is offering loan finance of up to €5,000 at a discounted rate of 5% APR to IBYE competition applicants who may require loan funding to help them establish and grow their business. This is a reduction of 2.8% APR on Microfinance Ireland’s standard rate, for people applying directly to them and a 1.8% APR  reduction over the discount rate enjoyed by LEO-sourced applications.


The IBYE loan offer is available to all applicants in the Best Start Up and Best Established Business categories until 31st March 2017. For applicants entering the Best Business Idea Category, owing to the fact that it might take a bit longer to commence trading, MFI is extending this loan finance offer until 30th June 2017 so that these applicants can apply for loan finance when their business idea is closer to trading stage.