The need for capital for businesses investing in their Brexit strategy has been acknowledged by the Irish Government who announced in October 2017 the implementation of a ‘Brexit Loan Scheme’ to support Irish businesses and assist them in the preparation of their action plan. Through this program the government set aside up to €300 million available at competitive rates to SMEs. The government is aiming for an “easier access, more competitive price and more favorable terms than current offerings”. To that effect, the proposed interest of 4% has been announced and the scheme should be available starting March 2018 which will run for two years. The scheme will be developed with the Strategic Banking Cooperation of Ireland (SBCI) and be delivered through commercial lenders.
Among the different eligibility criteria for the scheme, businesses should be able to demonstrate their exposure to Brexit as well as their business sustainability plan detailing their actions in response to Brexit.
Different conditions will apply but essentially will benefit:
- Traders and / or Manufacturers,
- Facing Cross Border issue / Brexit Impact, and
- Small Business (> 499 employees)
Special attention has been given to the Agri-food Sector through the allocation of €25 million to the Department of Agriculture, to specifically help businesses in the sector as one of the most impacted by Brexit. The scheme excludes farmers and fishermen for whom alternative schemes should be further discussed.
In addition to the Brexit Loan Scheme, two major grant programs have also been set in place:
- InterTradeIreland: InterTadeIreland offers up to €2,000 to help SMEs seeking support and advices in relation to Brexit. (Note that small businesses in the transportation, agricultural and retail sectors are excluded from this program)
- Start to Plan Voucher (> 250 employees)
- Brexit Readiness Voucher (> 50 employees)
- Enterprise Ireland / Local Enterprise Offices: Enterprise Ireland launched the ‘Brexit SME Scorecard’ where SMEs can register and assess their ‘readiness for Brexit’. Enterprise Ireland installed the ‘Be Prepared Grant’ providing funding for up to €5,000 available for Enterprise Ireland client companies to help develop an action plan.
The message is clear don’t wait to plan for Brexit, resources are available. For further information on how to prepare for Brexit or to arrange a meeting with Carol Lynch please contact BDO.
For more information about our partnership with BDO Ireland click here.