Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (250)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

250. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applicants and participants in Brexit schemes and supports provided by her Department or agencies under her remit in tabular form; and the amount allocated and expended to each such scheme in each year since being established. [12421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Brexit represents a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, which cannot be underestimated. That is why my Department started developing supports for businesses from the time when Brexit first became a possibility. Government’s priority is to ensure that businesses around the country can manage risks and avail of any opportunities. This has informed the range of advisory and financial supports that are in place.

My Department’s total exchequer allocation increased by 9.1% year on year, up from €871m to €950.2m. This is made up of a record €620m in capital and €330.2m in current funding, which includes an increase of €65m in capital – up 11.7% on last year’s allocation of €555m; and, an increase of €14.2m in current – almost 4.5% more than our 2018 allocation of €316m.

I allocated an extra €5m to the 31 Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs], up 22% on 2018, which have a presence in every county, to support start-ups and growth and, in particular, to support businesses to prepare for Brexit. The LEOs will work with the broad range of small and micro indigenous enterprises across sectors to ensure that they are informed and have plans in place to manage the new trading relationships on the island and with the UK more generally. This includes a new customs training programme for all businesses, exporters and importers, rolled out in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland.

I was also pleased to announce an additional capital allocation of €2.75m to Enterprise Ireland to start developing regional innovation and technology clusters with Institutes of Technology right across the country, positioning them as drivers of world-class start-ups and growth enterprises and helping businesses adjust to market changes, including Brexit.

Through Enterprise Ireland, I also doubled funding for the Online Retail Pilot Scheme to €1.25m in 2019, which will support SMEs in the retail sector to have a stronger online presence and find new markets. This new Scheme follows through on my commitment to increase the scale and internationalisation of indigenous enterprise; increase productivity in high-employment sectors; and encourage Brexit readiness. I announced the first 11 successful applicants on Friday 1st March last and there will be a further call for proposals this year. In addition, Enterprise Ireland invested €74 million in Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.

Funding to InterTradeIreland has been increased by 18% and they, along with the LEOs, are offering a range of Brexit-focused supports to companies, including those engaged in cross-border trade with Northern Ireland.

The Brexit Loan Scheme, using a combination of Irish Exchequer and EU guarantees, leveraged up to €300 million of lending at a maximum interest rate 4% at a cost to the Exchequer of €23 million - €14 million provided by my Department and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme was announced in Budget 2019. The scheme will be available in early 2019 and it will provide a longer-term facility, 8 to 10 years, of up to €300m to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit environment by business at competitive rates. This Scheme is jointly funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (€37.2 million) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (€24.8 million) at a total cost to the Exchequer of €62 million.

The first table sets out the respective exchequer increases in allocations to ITI, EI, IDA and the LEOs between 2018 and 2019 and the cost/expenditure of the supports available. Whilst these increases are not all due to Brexit, they are mainly provided to assist the enterprise agencies in their responses to the challenges posed by Brexit.

The second table sets out the uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 28 February 2019.

IDA total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €33.7 million when compared with 2018.

Enterprise Ireland total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €6.8 million when compared with 2018.

LEOs total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €5 million when compared with 2018.

ITI total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €1 million when compared with 2018.

Table 1.

Scheme

Expenditure/Cost

Brexit Loan Scheme

The scheme will cost the Exchequer €23 million (€14 million provide by Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine).

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

€258,024 to beginning of March

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

€362,919 to beginning of March

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

€569,033 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

€237,801 to beginning of March

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

€380,000 to end of January

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

€1,324,730 to beginning of March

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.

2017 Expenditure

€188,829

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€365,744

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

2017 Expenditure

€529,922

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€518,411

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

There isn’t a specific budget allocation for LEO Brexit mentoring. It is included in the LEOs overall Measure 2 allocation.

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

2017 Expenditure

€85,509

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€57,855

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

ITI offers 100% financial support up to £2000/€2250 (inclusive of VAT) towards professional advice in relation to Brexit matters.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enteprise Ireland

Eleven retailers were awarded funding in March 2019 as part of the new €1.25m fund, with €625,000 available under the first competitive call to support retail businesses to strengthen their online offering.

Table 2: Brexit preparedness supports - uptake of available schemes

Scheme

Uptake (end Feb)

Brexit Loan Scheme

504 applications received, 450 approved by SBCI, 83 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €17.47 million (as of 08 March)

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

4,435 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 722 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

168 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

251 projects have been approved under this initiative

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

43 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

13 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,000 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

190 “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

1,057 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

431 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant (end January 2019)

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

221 LEO clients have participated in the programme (end January 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

471 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit (end January 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

3,996 Participants at the Brexit Information events (end January 2019)

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

There have been 1,172 applications, with 840 approved and 7 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

Applications are currently being assessed by Enterprise Ireland and the successful applicants will be announced in Q1 2019. There will also be a second call in 2019.