Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Ceisteanna (298)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

298. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake and expenditure on all Brexit supports under the remit of her Department, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26702/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

While the nature of the UK's departure from the EU still remains to be determined, Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland. That is why my Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Brexit is my top priority at this time and was central to my decision-making on the allocation of the additional €14.2m Current and €65m Capital funding I secured as part of Budget 2019.

For example, I provided an additional €5m to the network of Local Enterprise Offices, €3m to Enterprise Ireland, €2m to IDA Ireland and €1m to InterTradeIreland to help businesses prepare for Brexit, together with funding for the longer-term Future Growth Loan Scheme and the IDA Regional Property Programme. I also provided extra staff for regulatory bodies of my Department to ensure they are properly resourced to address the additional demands that Brexit will create.

Local Enterprise Office (LEO) funding has been increased by 22% in 2019, and this increase is being used to assist micro-enterprises in becoming more competitive and better able to cope with the changing environment in which they are operating. The LEOs, which have a presence in every county, are working with the broad range of small and micro indigenous enterprises across sectors to ensure that they are informed about Brexit 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 01 March last and a second call of the scheme opened on 19 June. 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. ITI offers a Brexit Planning Voucher worth up to €2,250, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services. In March, it launched a Brexit Implementation Voucher, which provides financial support up to €5,625 with InterTradeIreland paying 50% of total expenditure. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.

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 opened for applications through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland in April of this year. The scheme provides 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 uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 14 June 2019.

The second table 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.

Table 1

Scheme

Uptake (14 June 2019)

Brexit Loan Scheme

656 applications received, 596 approved by SBCI, 141 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €31.73 million.

(Uptake as of 21 June)

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

5,313 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1085 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

199 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

167 projects have been approved under this initiative1

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard

3,716 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,258 Customs Insights Course participants

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

52 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

16 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,200 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

258 “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

1,071 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

602 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant2

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

340 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

641 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,639 Participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

468 Participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

3,045 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

There have been 1,587 applications, with 1,391 approved and 12 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

11 retailers were awarded funding in March 2019. A second call of the Scheme will open on 19 June and will close 31 July 2019.

1 The Market Discovery Fund figure listed is lower than that of the end of February document figure of 251. The updated figure refers to the number of businesses approved, while the earlier number of 251 referred to the number of projects approved. This is now how it is reported to the Board, where projects was used previously.

2 The figure of 651 provided on 08 May was incorrect and should have indicated uptake of 551. This was due to human error.

Table 2

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.

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

€304,553 to 16/05/2019

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

€443,786 to 16/05/2019

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

€736,105 to 16/05/2019

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

€265,341 to 16/05/2019

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

€480,000 to 16/05/2019

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

€1,373,218 to 16/05/2019

Local Enterprise Office Technical Assistance Grant for Micro Export - an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities

2018 Expenditure

€560,275

1 Jan to 31 st March 2019 Expenditure

€124,607

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

2018 Expenditure

€951,129

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€127,121

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

2018 Expenditure

€128,601

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€33,181

The Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit world.

2018 Expenditure

n/a

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€24,600

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

InterTradeIreland offer two Brexit Vouchers – a planning voucher which provides 100% financial support towards professional advice to help Businesses identify Brexit exposures and to plan.

The second “implementation” voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625, which allows businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship post-Brexit. InterTradeIreland pay 50% of the cost of this voucher.

Expenditure to date in 2019: £860,000.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise 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. There will be a second competitive call in 2019 with a fund of €625,000.