The Restart Grant is just one part of a wider assistance package for business and for firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, the pandemic unemployment payment for the self-employed, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs. Within the funding available, the priority has been to assist those who have suffered most, including closure of the business, but whom will still have incurred ongoing costs. I can assure the Deputy that I am keeping our range supports under continuous review and we will be considering all options in developing the forthcoming Recovery Plan.
On the 25 June, the then Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection announced that the Department’s Enterprise Support Grant will be made available to assist self-employed recipients who are exiting the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme with a once-off grant of up to €1,000 to re-start their business. The grant will be payable to self-employed micro enterprises which employ fewer than 10 people, have an annual turnover of less than €1 million and are not eligible for support from the COVID19 Business Restart Grant or other similar business reopening grants.
Currently, any business (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company) with less than 10 full time employees and annual turnover of up to €2m may apply to Microfinance Ireland for funding from €5,000 – €50,000 where the business is not in a position to avail of finance from Banks and other commercial lending providers. The loan incurs 0% interest for the first six months and Zero repayments. Thereafter a reduced interest rate of 4.5% APR applies to loans applied for through the Local Enterprise Office.
All Covid 19 business Schemes are under constant review in terms of the evolving situation and will be adapted as circumstances dictate, including adaptations to the phased opening of our economy. Government will continue to explore funding potential for all enterprises as they work through the challenges facing them, including through any mechanisms allowable under the EU’s state aid framework.
Full details on all COVID19 measures for business are available at: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/