Today, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation launched a series of roadshows which will be encouraging small and medium sized businesses to learn more about the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). The goal of the SBCI is to ensure access to flexible and affordable funding for Irish SMEs. The events called “Fresh Thinking on Finance” are being run jointly by the SBCI and Network Ireland, the national organisation supporting the personal and professional development of women.
The roadshows, which are free of charge and open to all, will commence on September 20th in Kildare and will be targeting, in particular, female entrepreneurs and business women.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor stated ‘A big focus for the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland is to proactively encourage a cultural change in the business community when it comes to funding their businesses. By taking a fresh approach to funding SMEs in Ireland, the SBCI aims to deliver lower cost loans to Irish businesses and the farming community by working in partnership with the banking system and other finance providers. I am delighted that SCBI are partnering with Network Ireland as this organisation’s ethos and mission in supporting female entrepreneurs and business women is hugely important to me. I would encourage SME’s or future entrepreneurs to attend these informative roadshows.’
Deirdre Waldron, President of Network Ireland said ‘The objective of the roadshows is to encourage Network Ireland members and all other attendees to challenge the current perceptions around funding for their businesses and help introduce a new way of thinking for financing their businesses’.
Deirdre continued ’As an organisation Network Ireland is delighted to be joining forces with such a proactive organisation like the SBCI, which is supporting the SME sector exactly where it is needed. I feel the two organisations complement each other greatly. The theme I chose for my role as President is ‘Fuelling Ambition’. I want to encourage as many business women as possible to be braver and more ambitious about their businesses. Too often, we as women are letting our fears or perceptions hold us back and, with an organisation such as the SBCI offering access to flexible funding for Irish SMEs, this is very encouraging for all business owners’.
The SBCI was set up in 2014 as a national promotional institution, to enable businesses and the farming community to access vital funding for their businesses. With initial support from KfW, the German national promotional bank and the European Investment Bank, the SBCI has been modelled on a number of successful similar entities across Europe, with a mandate to address financial market failures. Since it began lending in March 2015, the SBCI has lent €347 million to 8,619 SMEs across all regions and a variety of business sectors.
Jillian Mahon, Head of Funding & Strategic Initiatives at the SBCI said ‘The roadshows will inform business communities in the various Network Ireland branch locations of the opportunities for business financing through various SBCI products and will feature case studies of businesses who have benefited from this fresh thinking on finance as well as members of the SBCI team who will be on hand to provide advice on potential financing solutions. Guests will also learn about finance products currently available from the SBCI’s partners as well as new product developments to be delivered in the near future which are specifically designed to address the financing challenges experienced by the SME sector. The SBCI’s mandate is to improve access to finance and create competition among finance providers through the delivery of lower cost, innovative, flexible and accessible funding through various SBCI partners including Banks and non-bank finance providers.”
The Schedule for these Roadshows will be as follows: -
• Kildare on Tuesday 20 September 2016;
• Louth on Tuesday 18 October 2016;
• Mayo and North Tipperary before the end of 2016 on dates to be confirmed; and
• Likewise, Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick in early 2017 on dates to be fixed.