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New schemes to help SMEs during COVID-19

The government has announced a new series of initiatives for small businesses. Here we cut through the different schemes to give you the low down on what you might qualify for and some practical tips to get you started.
 

1. If you want to borrow between €5,000 and €50,000 to tide your business over.

Microfinance Ireland would be a good start point. To get a loan you need to be suffering a 15% drop in turnover as a result of COVID-19, have less than 10 full time employees and have annual sales of less than €2 million. 
 
You will also need to display difficulty getting credit from traditional banks and other commercial lenders. 
 
Interest rates are low at 4.5%.
 
See what you need to be ready with here 
 

2. If you need to borrow 25k or more 

Another scheme you could look at is the SBCI COVID-19 working capital loan scheme. These loans have a very attractive interest rate of maximum 4%, are unsecured up to €500,000 and have a maximum repayment term of 3 years. Even if you are unsure at this point whether or not you will ultimately draw down the loan it may be a good idea to start the process now as it will take time.
 
To apply you must follow a two-step process:
 
  1. First you must apply for a letter of approval from SCBI to confirm you are eligible for their scheme. To check out if you are eligible and to apply for the approval, go here 
  2. Once you have this letter you present this along with your detailed loan application to either AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank
Each bank will be slightly different, but we would expect you will need to be ready with the below documents:
 
  1. A detailed business plan
  2. Management Accounts 
  3. Accounts certified/ audited by your accountant
  4. Cashflow Forecast - download a free template here
  5. Aged Debtors Listing
  6. Aged Creditors Listing
  7. Tax Clearance Certificate

3. If you want to get online 

 
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme has been expanded. It aims to help small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets.
 
There is up to €2,500 available through the Local Enterprise Offices and this funding can be used towards adding payment facilities or booking systems to your website or developing new apps for your customers. 
 
This grant is based on a co-funding model which means businesses will have to contribute at least 10% of the cost of the project themselves.
 
More info here 
 

4. If you need professional help with planning during this crisis

 
The new Business Continuity Voucher, available through Local Enterprise Offices, is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people.
 
The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
If for example you would like the assistance of a HR professional in dealing with staff or if you would like to work directly with an accountant to help you draft a proposal for bank funding this voucher could be very useful.
 
More info here 
 
 
Published 09/04/2020
 

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