Covid-19 – Government Supported Grants and Loans available for businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses in Ireland and across the globe. A range of financial supports have been made available by the Government to assist businesses trying to manage their way through this situation. The main grant and loan supports available are summarised below. 

Note that some grants can be used to fund the cost of engaging the services of an accountant or other professional advisor to advise on the continued operation of your business during the pandemic. They can also be used to fund the cost of availing of the services of an accountant to assist with the preparation of a business plan in support of applications for finance. If you would like to discuss these or any other issues affecting your business at this time please do not hesitate to contact us

Grants Available for Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Business Continuity Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.

Training and Mentoring: The 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. To find out more telephone or email your Local Enterprise Office. 

COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme: A new COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will be open to retailers employing over 10 people. The total fund size will be up to €2 million under this competitive call. The objective of the Scheme is to support companies in the indigenous retail sector with a pre-existing online presence to respond to both the domestic and international consumer demand for a competitive online offer. Grants ranging from €10,000 to €40,000 will be awarded under the competitive scheme.

COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.

Lean Business Improvement Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. It is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups). The voucher may be used to obtain services from approved providers.

General Grant Supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Udaras na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.

Loans Available for Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Microenterprises can access COVID-19 Business Loans of up to €50,000 from Microfinance Ireland. The terms include a six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period. Loans are available at an interest rate of between 4.5% and 5.5%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly to Microfinance Ireland. Eligibility criteria apply.

The new €450mSBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website. Eligibility criteria apply.

An additional €200 million in COVID-19 funding for the Future Growth Loan Scheme, which will be released in tranches, will provide longer-term loans to COVID-19 impacted businesses.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme supports loans up to €1 million for periods of up to 7 years. Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Eligibility criteria apply.

The new Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms with 10 or more employees impacted by COVID-19 that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules.