Co Antrim Martin Hurls towards success with Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund

5th September, 2022

NI Small Business Loan Fund makes over £4 million available to Co. Antrim businesses

Randalstown-based sporting goods manufacturer, Martin Hurls, is one of 191 companies in Co Antrim to avail of support from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund since 2013, making the total allocated to businesses in the county over £4.3 million.

The Fund is managed by Ulster Community Finance Ltd (UCF) on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland. UCF is a subsidiary of the social enterprise organisation Community Finance Ireland. Small businesses, sole traders and partnerships keen to develop their business can avail of loans up to £100,000, while start-up businesses can obtain initial loans of up to £15,000.

Solopreneur, Emmet Martin, established Martin Hurls in 2017 after identifying a market for high-quality hand-crafted hurls.  As a child he worked alongside his father repairing broken hurleys and then began using ash trees from the family farm to make them.  As well as selling directly to GAA club members in Ireland he has exported hurls to destinations including Belgium, Italy, USA and Australia.  He has recently diversified into manufacturing hand crafted medal and keepsake boxes.

Martin Hurls has secured £10,000 from the NI Small Business Loan Fund for working capital allowing him to keep up with demand for products and to purchase stock.

Ulster Community Finance Ltd Chief Executive, Dónal Traynor said:

“Emmet is an inspiring young entrepreneur who has taken his hobby and love of sport and turned it into a viable business.  His passion and drive have already led to impressive growth and reach.  The fast and flexible finance that the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund offers is perfect to support the next stage of his business journey which will allow him to focus more on sales and relationship building while ensuring production levels can meet demand.

“Other sectors which have benefitted from the Fund to date include manufacturing, food production, and renewable energy. The Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund is open to organisations throughout Co Antrim who are interested in learning how financial support of up to £100,000 could further their business ambitions.”

Emmet Martin from Martin Hurls said:

“From the outset, maintaining product quality has been a top priority for me.  With demand for high-quality, customisable hurls remaining high, the NISBLF funding will allow me to meet this demand and explore new business development opportunities.

“The NISBLF team recognised my growth ambitions for Martin Hurls and have been extremely supportive in terms of advice and insights.”

The NI Small Business Loan Fund is part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance suite of loan and equity funds.

William McCulla, Invest NI’s Director of Corporate Finance, said:

“It is great to see so many small businesses in County Antrim benefitting from loans provided by the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund. Hopefully the success of recipients such as Martin Hurls provides encouragement to other business to get in touch with UCF and realise their own growth ambitions.”

For further information on the Fund, visit

For further information on Martin Hurls, visit

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