The Brexit Loan Scheme launched in March of 2018 and provides relatively short-term working capital, for terms of up to three years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. As part of the application process for the Brexit Loan Scheme, applicants must demonstrate their exposure to Brexit.
As of 25 November, there have been 898 eligibility applications received, of which 810 have been approved and 214 loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €46.68 million. It should be noted that 160 applications received relate to repeat/duplicate applications, as eligibility expires after six months.
As of the most recent quarterly report on the scheme, three sectors accounted for almost 80% of the approved eligibility applications. A third of approved applications were from the manufacturing (including food processing) sector, while wholesale and retail accounted for 21%, and information and communication was at 22%. The funding provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine ensures that 40% of the fund will be made available to food businesses, which operate in a sector identified as most exposed to potential difficulties arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Of the loans sanctioned to date, €9.56 million has been to food businesses.
While some businesses will be exposed to sectorial impacts, other factors may be more significant indicators of Brexit exposure. Businesses in the Border counties are more likely to be exposed to Brexit-related impacts. Dublin aside, the most recent quarterly report indicates that the border region is the most active region in terms of eligibility applications for the scheme.
The Future Growth Loan Scheme opened for eligibility applications in April 2019. This scheme provides a longer-term facility, 8-10 years, of up to €300m to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit environment.
The scheme is open to eligible Irish businesses, including those in the primary agriculture, food and seafood sectors, to support strategic, long-term investment in a post-Brexit environment. As of 25 November, there have been 2,149 applications for eligibility under the scheme, of which 2,017 have been approved by SBCI. 535 firms have been approved loans by Bank of Ireland, KBC and Ulster Bank, to a total value of €101.2 million. AIB recently began offering loans under the scheme and have a pipeline of applications from SBCI.