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Lawlor welcomes incentive for young entrepreneurs

Enhanced access to Microenterprise Loan Fund to be given to those under 24 years of age

Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, today (Thursday) welcomed Minister Richard Bruton’s commitment to allow enhanced access to the Microenterprise Fund for persons under the age of 24 years. It has been widely recognised that Ireland’s young entrepreneurs can be just as capable as their older counterparts, however they have considerably greater difficulty in accessing funds to make their dreams become a reality. This, despite the fact that the proportion of 18-24 year olds engaged in early stage entrepreneurial activity is higher in Ireland than across the EU and OECD countries.

“At Second Stage and Committee Stage of the debate on the Microenterprise Loan Fund I raised with the Minister the need to increase access to funding for young entrepreneurs, bearing in mind the high level of unemployment in the 18-24 year old category. I highlighted to him the fact that often due to their non-existent credit rating, banks were more reluctant to grant loans. I was delighted to learn from the Minister this morning that he has accepted this suggestion and a provision will be included in the scheme to allow ease of access to funds for this age group.

“To put it simply, in the application process for the Microenterprise Fund, applicants under the age of 24 years will be allocated bonus points in terms of determining eligibility for the loan. Therefore, the Fund will be somewhat weighted in favour of younger applicants. This, of course, should not be considered a deterrent for older applicants but it is important that the needs of our young entrepreneurs are recognised.

“This commitment by the Minister to support our younger entrepreneurs is a vital step on the road to Ireland’s recovery as the future success of this country rests, in part, with our young people”.