The Brexit Loan Scheme is just one of an extensive range of supports, schemes and advisory resources established by my Department and its agencies to help businesses to prepare for Brexit.
The Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their challenges.
To apply for this Scheme businesses must first confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). If deemed eligible, this eligibility code lasts for a period of 4 months. If the business has not applied to one of the participating financial providers for a loan under the scheme within this four months, they must confirm their eligibility again with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).
While I have seen a very positive uptake of the supports available, I am conscious that the extension agreed between the EU and the UK for Brexit may have led businesses to defer their immediate planning and therefore, delay their applications to finance providers for a loan under the Brexit Loan Scheme. As a result of this extension, the eligibility of individual applicants may have expired requiring a reapplication for the Scheme. I am encouraged that firms are reapplying so as to ensure that they have the necessary safety nets in place for whatever form Brexit takes.
In addition, some businesses did not proceed with their original application after they had received their eligibility code and some businesses applied for more than one loan under different eligibility codes. A number of businesses supplied incorrect information in their first applications and updated this information in their reapplications for eligibility.
Despite the continuing uncertainty around the nature of the UK's departure from the EU, I strongly urge businesses to continue to plan for Brexit, and to start planning without delay if they have not done so already.