The Government has introduced a €12bn package of supports for firms of all sizes, which includes the wage subsidy scheme, the pandemic unemployment payment for the self-employed, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst SMEs. Full details on all COVID19 supports for business are available at:
This package is a significant step-up in the supports available for all businesses in all sectors at this very difficult time. The measures have been developed to meet the varying needs of Irish enterprise and they are very specifically targeted by size, sector and need and are targeted at vulnerable but viable companies.
On June 25th it was announced that the Department of Social Protection’s Enterprise Support Grant will be made available to assist self-employed recipients who are exiting the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme with a once-off grant of up to €1,000 to re-start their business. This will provide business owners with a once-off grant of up to €1,000 to re-start their business. A fund of €12m has been allocated for the extension of this grant. The grant will be payable to self-employed micro enterprises which employ fewer than 10 people, have an annual turnover of less than €1 million and are not eligible for support from the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant or other similar business reopening grants.
There are a number of loan schemes which have been put in place to assist businesses. The Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme open to eligible SMEs and small mid-caps (businesses of up to 499 employees) is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and is supported by the InnovFin SME Guarantee facility.
The new €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to aid SMEs is a further development of the existing Credit Guarantee Scheme already available. The Scheme will be available to all SME sectors. The implementation of this Scheme will require primary legislation, the drafting of which has commenced.
Any eligible business, including the self-employed, can apply for the following supports. The most appropriate support will depend on the characteristics of the business.
- MicroFinance Ireland can provide loans of up to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises – (any business -Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company with less than 10 full time employees and annual turnover of up to €2m)- are facing.
- Local Enterprise Offices have moved training programmes, workshops and networking meet-ups online, covering areas such as cash management in a crisis, leading your business through COVID-19 and advice for employers impacted by the crisis. Training programmes are free of charge and places can be booked online, through your Local Enterprise Office.
- For existing companies and potential start-ups that meet eligibility criteria (such as employing 10 or fewer people with the potential for growth and job creation), Local Enterprise Offices can also offer financial supports to help manage current market challenges such as Business Priming Grants, Business Expansion Grants, Feasibility Study Grants and Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters Grant
The Government is examining what additional measures may be warranted as part of the forthcoming Recovery Plan.