My Department and its agencies have worked to put in place an extensive suite of supports, schemes and advice to ensure that businesses can prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Many of these supports have been designed to scale after an initial investment of funds, so that they can continue to provide support to any number of Irish businesses without the need for increased funding. These include facilities like Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Scorecard, and the Customs Insight course, which offers businesses dealing with customs for the first time a resource for the key customs concepts, documentation and processes they will need to operate in a post-Brexit environment.
Direct supports to businesses, including EI supports like the Be Prepared Grant, as well as those available through the Local Enterprise Offices and InterTradeIreland, are demand-driven and available funding can be adjusted to ensure ongoing coverage.in the first 6 months of 2019, some 43% of the most exposed EI clients received grant aid.
Other supports and schemes available are limited by the availability of funding. Of the €300m fund made available for the Brexit Loan Scheme, €44.1 million in loans have been sanctioned as at 04 October 2019 to help businesses to mitigate their Brexit exposure. However, it should be noted that there is a large pipeline of businesses, with 833 applications to the SBCI, who have not yet progressed to the bank - loans sanctioned amount to just under a third of the net total of eligibility approvals. This is also the case for the €300 million Future Growth Loan Scheme, which has had 1445 applications sanctioned as at 04 October 2019 - but more than 75% approved.
With the 31 October fast approaching, I encourage businesses to consider the range of supports available to them and to take advantage of those they feel are appropriate.