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Covid-19 Supports for SMEs

9 April 2020

The Government has announced a number of measures to help businesses cope with challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Here we have summarised the key supports announced for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). As schemes are amended and further details become available, we will continue to monitor and keep you informed.

If you would like to discuss the challenges facing your business and how we might assist in helping put supports in place, please get in touch.

SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme

The SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme will increase to €450m. Loans can be between €25k and €1.5m at a maximum interest rate of 4%. Loan terms range from one to three years and loans can be unsecured up to €500k. Interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans.

Business Continuity Voucher

The €2,500 is available through Local Enterprise Offices. The voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. Companies may use the voucher to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trading Online Voucher

An additional €3.3m is being provided to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, bringing the total available to €5.6m. Micro-enterprises that have already successfully utilised a voucher can now apply for a second voucher of up to €2,500. The scheme is designed to help smaller businesses quickly establish a retail presence online with grants covering up to 90% of the cost for a subscription to low-cost online retailing platform solutions.

Business Financial Planning Grant

A €5k Business Financial Planning Grant has been introduced to help companies to develop a business sustainment plan and engage the services of an approved financial consultant to prepare a financial plan to secure the company in the short to medium term. The grant could help business owners to develop applications to access additional funding from several of the government schemes available. The grant is being administered by Enterprise Ireland.

Microfinance Ireland Loans

Microfinance Ireland (MFI), which is administering special COVID-19 loans, will receive an additional €13m in capital support, bringing its total lending capacity up to €20m for the coming period. The government has also announced a reduction in interest rates on these loans from 7.8% to 4.5%. Loans can be sought up to €50k with no repayments required and no interest charged in the first six months. This reduced rate will be available to all micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 employees. Applications can be made through Local Enterprise Offices.

COVID-19 Retail Online Scheme

A new €2m COVID-19 Retail Online Scheme is being made available exclusively for indigenous retail businesses with more than 10 staff. The scheme is available through Enterprise Ireland. The objective of the scheme is to help companies in the indigenous retail sector with a pre-existing online presence to respond to domestic and international consumer demand for a competitive online offer. Successful applicants will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 80% of the project costs. Grants ranging from €10k to €40k will be awarded under the scheme. This is a competitive application system with a call open date yet to be announced.

LEAN Business Improvement Grant

A new €2,500 LEAN Business Improvement Grant is being introduced to help companies access external advisor/trainer 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.