In July 2006, the Government approved the implementation of the Social Finance Initiative. Announced by the Minister for Finance in Budget 2006, it established a not-for-profit company (limited by guarantee and having no share capital) to act as a wholesale supplier of funding for social finance. In January 2007, the company was incorporated and the Board appointed. Seed capital of €25m was provided by the Banking Industry through the Irish Banking Federation.
Social finance is about the availability of loan finance at affordable interest rates primarily to community-based projects. These projects, which generate a social benefit, often experience difficulties in accessing loans from mainstream lending institutions. SFF as a wholesale lender in the social finance arena operates through Social Lending Organisations (SLOs) that it funds to work with and ultimately lend to the borrowers.
Up to September 2012, the Foundation also provided loan finance to micro-enterprises (via SLOs) because they also generated a positive social impact by providing employment opportunities during difficult economic times. This role has now been taken over by Microfinance Ireland since October 2012 (see News Release).
Up to October 2012, the Foundation had approved funding of over €50m to social and microfinance projects.
(Updated stats as at 05 December 2012)
Loan Amounts Drawn
Number of Community and Voluntary Projects Assisted
Number of Microenterprise Projects Assisted
Social Finance Foundation is supported by:
NEWS RELEASE - October 2012
Microfinance Ireland launched by Minister Bruton on 27th September 2012
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mr Richard Bruton T.D. announced that Microfinance Ireland was "open for business" on 27th September 2012. The Social Finance Foundation had worked with the Department to implement the initiative which was in the Feb 2011 Program for Government. Microfinance Ireland is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Foundation, with its own Board of Directors. Its role is to provide loan finance up to €25,000 to commercially viable start-up and existing micro-enterprises, where such finance had not been available from mainstream institutions. Read More->
Three new Directors/Members appointed by Foundation
The Directors are pleased to welcome Eilish Finan, Mary Brennan and Deirdre Kiely as Members and Directors of the Foundation with effect from 24th October 2012. Their experience and skill sets will add to the broad range of capabilities within the Director complement. Read More->