I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance and support as possible. A comprehensive range of measures is in place for manufacturing and service firms of all sizes, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates. Details of the wide range of COVID-19 schemes are available on my Department’s website at https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/.
We are providing more and cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme. We are continuing to see strong take-up of the range of supports available for businesses, in particular of the cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the €2bn Credit Guarantee Scheme. There has also been a surge in applications for Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund; the non-repayable grant element of that Scheme is proving particularly attractive to companies seeking urgent working capital.
On 9th February last, I announced a new €60m Scheme, called the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS), that is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the Government’s other existing schemes and is designed to help with fixed costs. Wholesalers, suppliers, caterers and events companies down 75% or more in turnover who are in receipts of a rates bill can benefit.
As Irish enterprise navigates the impact of COVID-19 and Ireland’s new trading relationship with the UK, Enterprise Ireland’s focus in 2021 will be on building a resilient enterprise base in order to sustain jobs and exports. In 2020, Enterprise Ireland companies employed 9,154 people in 202 plants in Co. Kildare. Payments to Enterprise Ireland companies in Co. Kildare in 2018 - 2020 were €15,286,428.86. This funding assists companies to innovate, be competitive and grow exports. Enterprise Ireland has introduced new funding supports to help companies navigate impact of Brexit and Covid-19 further information can be found here https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/
LEO Kildare offered a broad range of training in 2020 to support the manufacturing and services sectors in County Kildare. Examples of this type of training are as follows: Banking & Finance, Business Administration, Creative Business Programme, Export Development Programme, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Leadership, Prepare Your Business for Customs training, Preparing Cash Flows & Developing a Business Plan, and Public Procurement. LEO Kildare will continue to offer training in 2021 to meet the demands of the manufacturing and services sectors further information on supports can be found.
I will continue to work with my colleagues to monitor the schemes of our Departments and to identify practical actions to protect jobs, help businesses and build their resilience through this difficult time.