Tullamore family baker looking for some dough

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Successful family artisan bakers, the O’Donohues in Tullamore is the latest small business to turn to people power to access credit during difficult financial times.

Successful family artisan bakers, the O’Donohues in Tullamore is the latest small business to turn to people power to access credit during difficult financial times.

Crowd Funding is a new initiative in Ireland where businesses can apply to have their loans fully funded by members of the public through a new online company called Linked Finance thus bypassing the banking system.

The Tullamore bakery – who supply the midlands and surrounging areas with premium hand crafted breads - turned to Crowd Funding for their business loan to take full advantage of the low interest rates and are now in a position to launch a new line of fully baked and frozen loaves called “The Penny Loaves”.

Cathal, owner of O’Donohues, together with his wife Frances, grew the business from three staff members to the 29 strong force it is today. It really is a family affair as the business was established by his grandfather back in 1879 in Co.Mayo and their four children are involved, so there are generations of expertise in every loaf they make.

Since it commenced in March 2013 more than half a million euro has been raised by Linked Finance and is ready to be loaned out to businesses in Co. Offaly seeking credit now.

Peter O’Mahony who runs the Laughter Lounge in Dublin set up the company with the backing of prominent businessmen Kingsley Aikens, Bobby Kerr and Feargal Quinn.

Peter O’Mahony said: “This concept is new to Ireland, but is a successful method for SME funding in the UK. It is a simple way to inject cash into supporting small to medium sized enterprises, bypassing the often restrictive and cumbersome banking system.”

“At its heart is the community and based on feedback we have already received from the business community in Offaly, we know that the O’Donohues project will be the first of many Offaly businesses that will benefit, creating jobs and expanding their businesses.”

Cathal O’Donohue said: “I decided to go down this route of Crowd Funding with Linked Finance because the banks were closed for business, there was so much red tape. Linked Finance was a much easier route and I felt it was a win win situation for both the company looking for the loan and the individual investing.”

“I like the whole community aspect of the concept and I thought it would be a novel way to connect with my customers and suppliers.”

“As we say in Offaly; Use your loaf, keep the dough in town! – support local industry.”

Peter concluded: “The aim of Linked Finance is not only to provide investment, but to build strong business relationships, as a company’s lenders become its customers, ambassadors and salespeople.”

For more information on becoming a borrower or lender visit linkedfinance.com.