No cap on applicants for micro loans: premier

The China Post news staff

There will no limit on the number of applicants for a micro-enterprise venture loan from the government, in order to allow more people the opportunity to receive one of the loans to finance startup companies, Premier Wu Den-yih said yesterday. Wu made the remarks at an awards ceremony to honor successful small business startups financed by the government-sponsored lending program.

“I have discussed the issue with President Ma Ying-jeou and we have agreed that no cap will be set on the number of borrowers for this kind of small-amount loan from the government,” Wu said.

“The government will do its utmost to help as many people as it can, no matter whether they number 10,000 or 30,000, at a time when Taiwan has yet to fully recover from the blow of the global financial crisis,” said Wu. The micro-enterprise venture loan program is designed for women aged 20-65 and men in the 45-65 age group seeking to start up their own business. Each qualified applicant can borrow a maximum amount of NT$1 million (US$33,000) from the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) to build a small business.

The loan has a maturity term of seven years. The interest rate is based on the rate for two-year time savings postal deposits plus a markup of 0.575 of a percentage point. During the first two years, borrowers are exempt from interest payments, with the payment subsidized by the Council of Labor Affairs.

In addition, no guarantor is needed to guarantee the micro-enterprise venture loan, as the government will offer credit guarantees for up to 95 percent of the loan. Furthermore, to help loan borrowers with small business startups, the government also provides them with all the needed assistance and entry courses, and helps them build online marketing networks and social resources referral systems.

Since the program was launched in 2007, it has benefited more than 6,000 small business startups, helping create some 16,000 jobs.