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This article provides more in-depth detail about two financial packages currently available:
• Microfinance Ireland Loans
• The €450m SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme

Microfinance Ireland Loans
Microfinance Ireland is a government initiative to support small businesses through the current period of uncertainty and protect job creation or sustainment in Ireland. They have a total loan fund of €20m available for businesses having difficulty in accessing finance from commercial lending providers. Applications can be made through Local Enterprise Offices.

Eligibility:
• Any business with fewer than 10 full-time employees and annual turnover of up to €2m
• Not in a position to avail of finance from banks and other commercial lending providers
• 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID-19

Main features:
• Loans from €5k to €50k
• Loan terms typically up to three years
• First six months: 0% interest and zero repayments
• Reduced interest rate of 4.5% APR for LEO applications and 5.5% APR for direct applications
• No fees or hidden charges
• Fixed repayments and no penalty for early repayment

€450m Covid-19 Working Capital scheme
This scheme is for businesses whose liquidity has been impacted by Covid19. For eligible businesses, supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4% are available.

Funding under this scheme is provided via the SCBI’s on-lending partners: Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank. Applications must be made through the SBCI website , first before the credit application process begins with the partner banks.

Eligibility criteria does apply as detailed below:
– Businesses established and operated in the Republic of Ireland with a reduction of 155 in turnover/profitability due to Covid-19
– SMEs with fewer than 250 employees, turnover of €50m or less or small mid-caps with fewer than 500 employees
– Must satisfy one of 11 innovation criteria – Full details on their website here.

The details are as follows:
– Loans from €250k to €1.5m
– Interest rate capped at 4%
– Loan terms of 1 to 3 years
– Loans unsecured up to €500k
– Optional interest -only repayments may be available
– The loan amount and term is dependent on the loan purpose
– Loans to be used for working capital requirements
– Loans cannot be used to refinancing existing debt

Things to consider before applying:
– Set out a road-map for how you will utilise the loan
– Ensure all your finance, cashflow projections and accounts are up to date
– Gather all relevant paperwork before applying
– Double-check all eligibility factors before completing the application

We can assist with any financial support applications and are always here for a chat and a coffee (even if it is a virtual one), and we’re ready to jump into action.

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Source: Summary information provided by Crowe Howarth “Overview of Covid-19 Business supports for SMEs”

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