Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (751)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

751. Deputy Robert Troy 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. [36842/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The nature of the UK's departure from the EU still remains to be determined, which means Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, one which cannot be underestimated. That is why my Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that to ensure that businesses around the country are prepared for Brexit.

While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying and managing key risk areas and develop practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

For example, I allocated 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 the regulatory bodies of my Department to ensure they are properly resourced to address the additional demands that Brexit will create.

The Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs] are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business. The LEOs have organised various events to enable companies to learn about the potential impacts and opportunities of Brexit.

In addition, 702 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit. Technical Assistance Grants for Micro Export are offered as an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities. 691 LEO clients have been approved for the Technical Assistance Grant. 

The Local Enterprise Office interactive one-day Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post-Brexit environment. 613 Participants have so far attended this Customs Training.

InterTrade Ireland also plays a major role as part of Ireland’s Brexit response and offers Brexit-related advisory services to eligible businesses. So far this year, more than 3,300 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service.

ITI offers a Brexit Start to Plan voucher and Brexit Implementation Voucher schemes, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan, prepare and implement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. These supports help businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services.

ITI Brexit Start to Plan vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. 1,770 businesses have applied for a Brexit Start to Plan voucher, of which over 1,500 have been approved.  ITI new Brexit Implementation Voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625 (inclusive of VAT), with InterTradeIreland paying 50%. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.

The Brexit Loan Scheme, launched in March of 2018, provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. Businesses can confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and, if deemed eligible, can apply to one of the participating finance providers for a loan under the scheme.  

As at 2 September, there have been 764 applications for eligibility under the scheme.  Of the total number of applications, 691 have been approved to date by SBCI while 179 of those applications have progressed to sanction at bank value, to a total value of €32.93 million.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €300 million of loans available with a term of 8-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland and the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors to support strategic long-term investment.  The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, the scheme operator, opened for eligibility applications on 17th April and up to 30 August it received 1044 eligibility applications and issued 987 eligibility letters.

Enterprise Ireland has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, as well as an online “Brexit SME Scorecard” to help Irish businesses self-asses their exposure to Brexit and a “Be Prepared Grant” to support SME clients in planning to mitigate risks arising from Brexit. It has also launched a new Eurozone Strategy to help SMEs broaden their export footprint beyond the UK.

Over 6,100 business have used Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Scorecard to date and 85% of EI client firms have a plan in place, while 211 applications for the Be Prepared grant have been approved. 272 EI clients have received funding under its “Act On” programme, which supports the engagement of a consultant to help clients identify weaknesses and improve resilience. EI has also hosted 16 Brexit Advisory Clinics. 

EI also launched a Customs Insights Online course at the beginning of the year. This is a new online training support to help all businesses understand how customs work including the documentation and process required to operate and succeed post Brexit. The Customs Insights course explains in clear and simple terms the main customs rules and included the key actions companies can take to prepare for customs after Brexit and the options from Revenue that are available to make the customs process more efficient. This will be available for any company to use whether they are importers or exporters and also whether they are agency clients or not. There have been over 1,500 Customs Insights Course participants.

The Irish Government, in association with key industry partners, also launched a new support measure to help customs agents, intermediaries and affected Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements due to the UK’s departure from the EU. The new initiative is called Clear Customs, and it comprises of a free customs training programme provided through Skillnet and a financial support payment from Enterprise Ireland to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning staff to customs roles in addition to necessary customs it requirements.

While I have seen a very positive uptake of the supports available, I am conscious that the delays to Brexit may have led businesses to defer their immediate planning. However, the UK’s exit from the EU will mean changes for Irish businesses. I want businesses to know that my Department and its agencies are here to help.  The existing supports, schemes and advice are in place to ensure that businesses are prepared for any Brexit scenario.

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.

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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 31st 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 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. There will be a second competitive call in 2019 with a fund of €625,000.

Brexit preparedness supports - uptake of available schemes

Scheme

Uptake (30 August 2019)

764 applications received, 691 approved by SBCI, 179 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €39.797 million.

Of the approved applications to date, 145 were reapplications as eligibility expires after four months.

Brexit Loan Scheme

(Uptake as of 2 September)

1044 applications received, 987 approved by SBCI, 168 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €27.38 million.

Future Growth Loan Scheme

(Uptake as of 2 September)

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

6,116 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1413 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

211 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

186 companies have been approved under this initiative[1]

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard 

4,350 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,565 Customs Insights Course participants

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

60 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

272 “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

1,086 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

691 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant

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

370 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

702 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events 

4,975 Participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

613 Participants attended Customs Training

Clear Customs Training

93 applications have been made to access financial support through the scheme

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

3,390 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 1,770 applications, with 1,526 approved and 21 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 opened on 19 June and closed on the 31 July 2019. Applications are currently under assessment.

[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.