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NI Business Loan Fund

The NI Small Business Loan Fund will provide typically unsecured loans to individuals, private companies and social enterprises in the SME and micro enterprise size range, in the start-up and growth phases of development.

Who can apply?

Loans are available for individuals, private companies and social enterprises in the SME and micro enterprise size range, in the start-up and growth phases of development. Such enterprises are defined by the EU as:

  • A micro enterprise is defined as an enterprise that has fewer than 10 employees and has either an annual turnover of less than €2million or a balance sheet total not exceeding €2million.
  • A small enterprise is defined as an enterprise that has fewer than 50 employees and has either an annual turnover of less than €10million or a balance sheet total not exceeding €10million.
  • A medium enterprise is defined as an enterprise that has fewer than 250 employees and has either an annual turnover of less than €50million or a balance sheet total not exceeding €43million.

Businesses applying must be substantially based in Northern Ireland and must provide evidence of funding refusal from the private banking sector.

What are the terms?

There is a maximum loan amount of £15k to start-up enterprises, with potential for follow-on lending up to a maximum of £50k. Existing businesses can apply for loans of up to £50k.

Mentoring support will be offered where loans of less that £15,000 are availed of.

Finance can be provided for:

  • Working Capital: money required to meet the day to day costs of running the business
  • Development Finance: money required to expand the business, for example marketing
  • Commercial Premises – (deposit, costs of moving, improvement)
  • Plant and Machinery – (deposit, tooling, installation, training)
  • Intangible Assets – (patent costs, IT software and licenses)
  • Gaps in funding working capital where commercial funding sources (e.g. overdrafts and invoice finance) cannot provide the full requirement
  • Increasing sales, new contracts
  • Stock Purchases
  • International Trade
Business Development

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