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Local Enterprise Office offering help to businesses hurt by coronavirus

Businesses in Galway and elsewhere are struggling with unprecedented difficulties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Even if they have not already been forced to close due to the spread of coronavirus, they are facing issues with lower traffic, staffing issues due to people self-isolating, and cash flow problems.

Local Enterprise Office Galway is offering its services to all local businesses hurt by this crisis figure out how to stay afloat.

The first step advised by LEO Galway is to always to communication with their bank, saying that banks have indicated flexibility for businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Options that may be available to you through your bank could include loan payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities.

dditional cash flow supports can be accessed through Local Enterprise Office Galway:

  • Changes have been made to the MicroFinance Ireland loans available through LEO Galway. The maximum loan available through the programme has been doubled to €50 thousand as an immediate measure to deal with the impact on micro-enterprises.
  • Businesses may also be eligible for a Business Continuity Voucher through LEO Galway. The initiative will provide advisory specialists in fields including finance and HR to help develop a lean, robust business strategy as enterprises face an extended period of great uncertainty. Details of eligibility for this voucher will be published later this week.
  • The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has also put in place a package of business supports – including the Covid-19 Working Capital Loan. This will offer loans of up to €1.5m at reduced rates, with up to the first €500 thousand unsecured. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at www.sbci.gov.ie
  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme is a Government supported product from the banks for small and medium enterprises, providing an 80% guarantee to participating banks. Businesses can apply for loans of up to €1m for terms of up to 7 years from AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank. 
  • €200m Package for Enterprise Supports, including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme, is available through Enterprise Ireland. This is targeted at firms identified as being vulnerable but viable, that need to restructure or transform their business to overcome the challenges presented by Covid-19.
  • A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will is also available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients, to enable them to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews.

Businesses are also being advised to be mindful of the supports available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

This includes a refund scheme whereby employers can continue to pay their staff €203 a week, ultimately paid for by the government, in order to prevent people having to submit jobseekers claims.

After much outcry last week, the government is amending this scheme to allow employers to top of what the give their employees beyond the €203 from the state.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has also been introduced for the self-employed who have lost business, or those who have been laid off as a result of the pandemic.

Those eligible will be entitled to a six-week flat payment of €203 without having to attend an INTREO office.

Briain Kelly
Email: news@galwaydaily.com
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