Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (20)

Maurice Quinlivan


20. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of preparations to assist businesses for a hard Brexit; the amount spent on hard Brexit preparations to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26980/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. Brexit was central to my decision-making on the allocation of the additional €14.2m Current and €65m Capital funding I secured as part of Budget 2019. For example, I provided an additional €5m to the network of Local Enterprise Offices, €3m to Enterprise Ireland, €2m to IDA Ireland and €1m to InterTradeIreland and extra staff for regulatory bodies of my Department to help businesses prepare for Brexit, together with funding for the longer-term Future Growth Loan Scheme and the IDA Regional Property Programme.

The €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme provides working capital (1-3 years) to eligible businesses and as of 21 June, there have been 596 applications approved as eligible under the scheme. The Future Growth Loan Scheme opened for eligibility applications in April of this year and provides a longer-term facility of 8-10 years, with loans of €100,000 (€50,000 for primary agriculture) to €3 million available. EU State aid approval has been secured for a €200 million Rescue and Restructure Scheme which can be used to support businesses in the event of a sudden shock.

Enterprise Ireland has established additional supports including a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, an online “Brexit SME Scorecard”, a “Be Prepared Grant” and a new Eurozone Strategy to help SMEs broaden their export footprint beyond the UK. In addition, the Agile Innovation Fund provides grant support of 50% up to €300,000. EI has launched a Customs Insights Online training course which is also available through the LEOs. I increased LEO funding by 22% for 2019, to assist micro-enterprises to be more competitive and 641 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit.

InterTradeIreland’s Brexit Advisory Service provides important support for SMEs working to navigate any changes in cross-border trading relationships arising as a result of Brexit. ITI has organised a series of awareness events focused on improving knowledge of customs processes and procedures, and identifying actions that can be taken in areas such as logistics and supply chain management. To date, more than 7,000 SMEs have directly engaged with the ITI Brexit Advisory Service.

ITI also offers a Brexit Planning Voucher worth up to €2,250, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services. In March, it launched a Brexit Implementation Voucher, which provides 50% matched financial support up to €5,625. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes.

Brexit preparedness supports - uptake of available schemes


Uptake (14 June 2019)

Brexit Loan Scheme

656 applications received, 596 approved by SBCI, 141 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €31.73 million.

(Uptake as of 21 June)

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Scorecard - online platform for Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit

5,313 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1085 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

199 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

167 projects have been approved under this initiative [1]

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard   

3,716 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,258 Customs Insights Course participants

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

52 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

16 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,200 in attendance

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

258 “Act on” Plans have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire a strategic consultant for a set period

1,071 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

Local Enterprise Office Technical Assistance Grant for Micro Export - an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities

602 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant [2]

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

340 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

641 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,639 Participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

468 Participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

3,045 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

There have been 1,587 applications, with 1,391 approved and 12 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

11 retailers were awarded funding in March 2019. A second call of the Scheme will open on 19 June and will close 31 July 2019.

[1] The Market Discovery Fund figure listed is lower than that of the end of February document figure of 251. The updated figure refers to the number of businesses approved, while the earlier number of 251 referred to the number of projects approved. This is now how it is reported to the Board, where projects was used previously.

[2] The figure of 651 provided on 08 May was incorrect and should have indicated uptake of 551. This was due to human error