Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (438)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

438. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of farmers in addition to food businesses who applied to the future growth loan scheme which opened in March 2019; the number of farmers and such businesses sanctioned financing to date; and the value of same. [31209/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €300 million worth of loans available with a term of eight to ten years and is open to eligible Irish businesses, as well as the primary agriculture and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment. Finance provided under the scheme is competitively priced and has favourable terms, for example, no security is required for loans up to €500,000.

The scheme has been developed by my Department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in partnership with the Department of Finance, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and the European Investment Fund.

Loans to businesses under the scheme can be used to fund investments in equipment, machinery, buildings and associated overhead costs for organisational and/or process innovation. Loans to primary agriculture under the scheme can be used to fund investment in tangible and intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme features a two-stage application process. Applications for eligibility under the scheme is made through the SBCI website. The SBCI assesses the applications and those successful will be issued an eligibility reference number.

Eligible businesses will then be able to apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using the eligibility reference number. Approval of loans are subject to the finance providers’ own credit policies and procedures.

The scheme opened for eligibility applications on 17 April, and since then the SBCI has received 524 eligibility applications and issued 482 eligibility letters. In relation to the agri-food sector, to date, 279 primary agriculture businesses and 48 food businesses have applied for eligibility with 261 and 48 respectively receiving eligibility letters. In addition, 12 applicants have been sanctioned financing for a value of €1.68 million.

With Brexit on the horizon, investment in innovation and diversification has never been more important. The Future Growth Loan Scheme unlocks a large fund of affordable financing to support businesses in investing for the future.