I want to let you know about new supports announced today for SMEs impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The measures aim to help firms cope with liquidity challenges. Some of the measures unveiled today are an extension of those already announced, while others are new supports. In summary, these supports include:
Full details of today's Government announcement can be found here. A breakdown of the measures can be found below.
- A €450m expansion of two loan schemes operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)
- A €250m increase in the Working Capital Loan Scheme (to €450m in total)
- A €200m increase in the Future Growth Loan Scheme (also operated by the SBCI)
- The creation of a €180m Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which aims to help companies in the manufacturing and international services sectors that are considered vulnerable but viable
- An investment of €7.6m to help firms to trade online.
The Dublin Chamber team is here to help you navigate this extremely difficult period and would welcome your feedback on these new proposals. The feedback of members has been invaluable over recent weeks and helped us to articulate to Government the strains being felt by the business community at this time. You can contact us at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting in our dedicated Covid-19 Discussion & Support Group on LinkedIn.
Please keep an eye out for further updates in our weekly newsletter, which will land in your inbox at 4pm tomorrow (Thursday).
Mary Rose Burke
CEO | Dublin Chamber
The SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme
The SBCI has so far received more than 1,400 applications for this liquidity support. Loans can be between €25,000 and €1.5m at a maximum interest rate of 4%. Loan terms range from one year to three years and loans can be unsecured up to €500,000. Interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans.
The Future Growth Loan Scheme
This scheme sees funding released in tranches, to provide longer-term loans to businesses impacted by Covid-19. Loan amounts will range €100,000 to a maximum of €3m per applicant. Loan terms range from 8 to 10 years and loans of up to €500,000 can be unsecured. Interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans. The maximum interest rate will be 4.5%.
New €2,500 Business Continuity Voucher
The new €2,500 Business Continuity Voucher is available through Local Enterprise Offices. The voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher can be used by companies to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A further €13m is being provided for special Covid-19 loans for small firms, which are being administered by Microfinance Ireland. The Government has announced a reduction in interest rates on these loans from 7.8% to 4.5%. Loans can be made up to €50,000 with no repayments required and no interest charged in the first six months. This reduced rate will be available to all micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees. Applications can be made through your local LEO office.
Trading Online Voucher Scheme
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme for micro-enterprises is being expanded. Businesses that have already successfully utilised a voucher can now apply for a second voucher of up to €2,500. They can now also be used for a subscription to low-cost online retailing platform solutions to allow firms to quickly establish a retailing presence online. The grant is available to cover 90% of the costs of an online initiative
Covid-19 Retail Online Scheme
A new €2m Covid-19 Retail Online Scheme is being made available to businesses with more than 10 staff. The scheme is available through Enterprise Ireland.
Sustaining Enterprise Fund
This is specifically aimed at firms with 10 or more employees impacted by Covid-19 that are "vulnerable but viable". The Fund, operated by Enterprise Ireland, will provide repayable advances of up to €800,000. These grants will only be repayable if and when a business returns to financial good health.
Business Financial Planning Grant
A Business Financial Planning Grant, to the value of €5,000, has been introduced to assist companies in the development of a Business Sustainment Plan and to engage the services of an approved Financial Consultant. The grant is being administered by Enterprise Ireland.
LEAN Business Improvement Grant
A new €2,500 LEAN Business Improvement Grant is being introduced to help companies access expertise to review and optimise operations at a time of crisis and identify the key measures needed to ensure continued viability. This grant is being administered by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.