Government ministers Heather Humphreys, Michael Creed and Paschal have opened the Brexit Loan Scheme for applications, with the promise of €300m in funding to eligible borrowers.
The scheme will be delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). CEO Nick Ashmore (pictured) commented: “The funding will provide support to enable eligible businesses impacted by Brexit to have the working capital needed to innovate and diversify, to find new markets, and to grow into the future.
“This is an important next step for the SBCI as it deploys further risk sharing capacity by building on the success of last year’s Agri Cashflow Support Scheme and the Credit Guarantee Scheme to enhance access to finance for Irish businesses.”
The first step for businesses will be to complete the eligibility criteria for the scheme on the SBCI website. Eligible businesses can then apply for scheme loans through Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. AIB is participating from June.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s share of funding ensures that at least 40% of the loan fund will be available to food businesses.
The Brexit Loan Scheme is open to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees. Finance minister Paschal Donohoe said the scheme is designed to assist SMEs with their short term working capital needs. “It will give SMEs time and the financial support to make the necessary changes to help ensure that their businesses remain competitive so that they can continue to grow into the future,” he said.
Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director of the Small Firms Association, voiced concerns that the €300m loan fund could be snaffled by large companies.
“I welcome the fact that the borrowing will be unsecured for loans up to €500,000,” he said. “However, close monitoring will be required to ensure the scheme’s impact on small businesses is maximised. With loans of up to €1,500,000 available and companies with up to 499 employees eligible to apply, the €300 million could dry up very quickly.”
BREXIT LOAN SCHEME
• Loan amount from €25,000 up to a maximum of €1,500,000
• Loan term of up to 3 years
• Loans less than €500,000 will be unsecured
• Interest rate of 4% or less.
• Loans can be used for future working capital requirements to fund innovation, change or adaption the business to mitigate the impact of Brexit.