The Network of Irish County and City Enterprise Boards has proposed a financial stimulus package for supporting micro-enterprises, firms which employ fewer than ten people.

In a submission to the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, the CEB Network claims the plan would generate 15,000 new jobs over the next five years.

In addition, the group says that the package would help 3,000 existing micro-enterprises throughout the country and support the creation of 6,000 new businesses, including 1,000 new enterprises from women and recent immigrants.

It would also provide training for 49,000 people, accelerate the growth of high potential start-ups and increase exports. The CEB Network submission says start-up capital and development capital are essential, but there is a lack of such capital in Ireland.

Its scheme proposes a range of new financial incentives, including grants to start companies, expansion and development grants, and incentives for innovation. The submission also calls for 'micro credit' loans of up to €50,000. 'These would take a more risk-orientated approach than commercial loans and would potentially leverage bank facilities,' the CEB group says.

It adds that these should be matched with measures customised to each business such as advice, mentoring, management development and training.