€500 million has been added to the Future Growth Loan Scheme, which supports SMEs, farmers and fishing, it has been confirmed.
The announcement was made by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary TD, earlier today (Thursday, July 30th).
The additional funding will be provided by the European Investment Bank Group, bringing the total investment in this scheme to €800 million.
Up to €3 million
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said: “The past few months have been very difficult for businesses. Things will continue to be extremely challenging over the coming months and the new government must do everything possible to help businesses navigate this unprecedented time and get back on their feet.
“The government launched the first €300 million round of the Scheme last year helping 1,150 SMEs, farmers and fishers to date make strategic investments to grow their businesses.”
“Loans of between €25,000 to €3 million are available at competitive rates for terms between 7 and 10 years.”
“The scheme will facilitate significant injections of liquidity for businesses looking to develop strategic responses to the changing business conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and by Brexit.”
This scheme, he added, will help to facilitate innovation and ensure that our enterprise base is sustainable into the future.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD said: “These loans will provide essential funding for companies who wish to invest for the longer-term to enable them to deal with both the current COVID-19 crisis and the upcoming challenge of Brexit”.
Uptake by agri-food sector 'very strong'
Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Dara Calleary TD said: “The uptake of the Future Growth Loan Scheme by the agri-food sector has been very strong and I am aware that there has been some unfulfilled demand.”
“Not only will the new expansion meet that demand, the evolution of the scheme will assist in meeting the new challenges being posed by COVID-19 and the ongoing challenges the sector has in dealing with Brexit.”
“The unsecured nature of the funding particularly helps young and new entrant farmers, as well as smaller farmers, but it is a crucial support to all parts of the production chain; farmers, fishers, forestry and food & beverage production.”
SBCI CEO, Nick Ashmore said: “We have seen strong uptake of the Future Growth Loan Scheme since its introduction.”
“The scheme, which allows SMEs to invest in innovating and expanding their business using low-cost, longer-term and more accessible funding aligns closely with the SBCI’s objective of supporting and promoting the provision of financing to small businesses.”
“With this expansion, the Scheme can continue to deliver real impact and much-needed support for SMEs. The addition of new partners will help to generate much-needed competition in the SME finance sector.” Ashmore concluded.
To access the Scheme, businesses must apply for eligibility through the SBCI. The application form, along with full details of the scheme, is available through the SBCI website www.sbci.gov.ie.
Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank are now accepting loan applications for the scheme from businesses meeting SBCI eligibility.
The SBCI is actively engaged with three other financial providers who responded to the open call and hopes to announce them as scheme partners in the coming weeks.
Businesses are advised to check the SBCI website for up-to-date information in relation to participating financial providers.