Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (1048)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

1048. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the latest InterTradeIreland quarterly all-island business monitor and the level of preparedness and planning being undertaken by businesses for all Brexit scenarios. [34636/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

InterTradeIreland’s (ITI) quarterly Business Monitor Survey is the largest and most comprehensive business survey of business owners’ views in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Business Monitor tracks all-island economic indicators such as sales, employment, business outlook and engagement in cross-border trade. More recently, ITI has been engaging directly with business owners through a new Brexit section in the Business Monitor which provides valuable insights into the impact of Brexit, the concerns businesses have and the level of planning that is taking place in preparation for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The most recent Monitor, released in May, highlights the impact the uncertainty caused by Brexit is having on small and medium businesses, and particularly those engaged in cross-border trade. This research has helped ITI and my Department to better understand the potential impact of Brexit on firms across the island, especially those involved in North-South commerce, and informs our Brexit related work.

The findings of the survey underline as well the importance of the work that ITI and the enterprise agencies are doing to support businesses as they prepare for Brexit.  This has been a key priority for my Department and the agencies since the decision by the UK to leave the European Union in June 2016.

Given its remit to develop cross-border trade, ITI is especially well-positioned to help SMEs prepare for the particular North-South challenges associated with Brexit.  ITI’s Brexit Advisory Service provides a focal point for those firms working to prepare for any changes in the cross-border trading relationship that may arise. As part of the service, ITI organises awareness events focused on improving knowledge of customs processes and procedures and identifying actions that can be taken in areas such as logistics and supply chain management. ITI also offers a "Start to Plan" voucher, worth up to €2,250 each, which helps companies to get professional advice on planning and preparation for Brexit. To date, over 1600 firms have availed of this voucher scheme.  

I provided an additional €1m in funding to ITI this year, which has enabled the body to expand its range of Brexit supports in 2019. The new initiatives include a ‘‘Start to Act” voucher, valued at €5,625, aimed at companies who wish to implement their Brexit plan.

More broadly, over the last two years my Department and its agencies have worked to raise awareness of the key Brexit challenges facing businesses which include supply chain, tariffs, customs, regulatory standards, working capital and movement of labour, goods and services; to build business preparedness levels; and to put a comprehensive set of supports in place for businesses. We have been active in the promotion of schemes and supports through participation in a range of campaigns, including the whole-of-Government 'Getting Ireland Brexit Ready' public information campaign. This campaign features workshop events throughout the country, aimed primarily at business and people most impacted by Brexit. In addition to these events, Enterprise Ireland has also rolled out a series of Brexit Advisory Clinics to help businesses across the country to better understand their exposure to Brexit and the mitigating actions available to them. This month I attended events in Cavan & Monaghan which focused on the practical steps businesses need to take now. Another event will take place in Donegal on 25 July, and I would encourage businesses to attend.

While there is still much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, my Department and its agencies are working to provide extensive supports to ensure that businesses across the country are as prepared as possible for the UK’s exit from the EU.

I include a table reflecting uptake by firms of various Brexit Government-provided supports.  

Scheme     

Uptake (12 July 2019)     

Brexit Loan Scheme

678 applications received, 608 approved by SBCI, 155 Loans progressed to sanction at bank   level to a value of €34.16 million.

(Uptake as of 12 July)

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

5,385 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1119 LEO clients have completed the   scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be   Prepared Grant

202 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

177 companies have been approved under this initiative[1]

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard   

3,954 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,279 Customs Insights Course   participants

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

55 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

270 “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

1,073 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

631 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant[2]

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

356 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

673 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,856 Participants at the Brexit Information events  

Customs Training Participants

531 Participants attended Customs Training