Government announces major expansion of supports for businesses

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A major expansion of supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 has been announced.

Minister Heather Humphreys announced that a package worth €1 billion in liquidity measures will be made available to businesses to meet the difficulties posed by the current emergency.

An additional €450m of lending will be provided through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland for SMEs in all sectors, including agri-food.

This will provide liquidity for firms and brings the total SBCI COVID-19 lending capacity to €650 million, with loans being made available through the pillar banks.

Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon welcomed the announcement by his colleague today.

“These measures are in addition to the €150m of funding capacity in the Government’s Credit Guarantee Scheme, which I would encourage businesses in Galway to avail of,” he said.

In the manufacturing and international services sectors, which employ over 460,000 people, a new Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180m has also been announced

This is aimed at all firms with 10 or more employees impacted by COVID-19.

The fund will be operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules and should see up to €500m of additional investment in vulnerable but viable firms.

These grants will only be repayable if and when a business returns to financial good health.

Minister Cannon added: “With regard to small businesses with under 10 employees, an additional €30 million will be made available through the Local Enterprise Offices.

“Microfinance Ireland, which is administering special COVID-19 Loans, will receive an additional €13 million in capital support bringing its total lending capacity up to €20 million for the coming period.

“Minister Humphreys has also increased support for two trading online initiatives to a total of €7.6 million – the first for small businesses in partnership with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, and the second for retailers with over 10 employees.

“These supports will help businesses sell their products online at a time when so many retail outlets remain closed and require a much needed boost in revenue”, Minister Cannon concluded.