Support for your business

This blog post was updated on 21st May 2020 at 09:00.

Does your business need a boost in cash as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak? You may need support to pay your staff, suppliers, remain in operation, or help to move your business online.

The Irish Government, Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and An Post have announced measures to support the cash flow of Irish businesses.

There are also business funds and loans that business owners can avail of if you need greater financial support during these times.

If you have any questions about the support available, you can contact the support provider directly or talk to our Client Services Team for help on what to do next. We’re always happy to talk to you.

What's available?

Payroll support from Irish Government

  • Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (Based on a tapering system)
  • Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (€350 /week)
  • Short Time Work Support (based on average weekly earnings)
  • Enhanced Illness Benefit (€350 /week)

Local Enterprise Office

  • Trading Online Voucher Scheme (€2,500)

Enterprise Ireland

  • Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant (€5,000)
  • Lean Business Continuity Voucher (€2,400)
  • Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme (a maximum of 80% of the project eligible costs or maximum grant of €40,000)
  • Restart grant (up to €10,000)
  • Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund (€2bn fund)

InterTradeIreland

  • Emergency Business Solutions (£2,000/€2,250)
  • E-Merge (£2500/€2800)

An Post

  • Direct Mail fund (€1,000)
  • Discounted prices

Other supports

  • Three-month commercial rates waiver
  • Warehousing of tax liabilities
  • Payment breaks from banks

Business funds and loans

Business owners that need to go beyond Government support can apply for business funds or loans. However, this may not be the right time for you to get into any debt so you may need to seek alternative solutions to manage your cash flow.

On the other hand, if this is the right choice for your business, our advice is to make sure you read the terms and conditions very carefully. You should consider how this will affect your business long-term.

Sources of business loans:

  1. Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund
  2. Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund
  3. SME Credit Guarantee Scheme
  4. SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme
  5. MicroFinance Ireland
  6. Linked Finance

Payroll support from the Irish Government

We have a blog post dedicated to the different schemes available that help you pay your staff.

  1. Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. This scheme moved into the ‘Operational Phase’ from Monday 4th May 2020. Now, the subsidy amount will be based on the Employee’s Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP). For more information, check out: FAQ – Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
  2. Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Qualifying employees are given €350 if they are temporary without a job due to Covid-19.
  3. Short Time Work Support. Employees who have been placed on a shorter working due can avail of this Jobseekers Benefit. The rate of pay will depend on the qualifying employee’s average weekly earnings.
  4. Enhanced Illness Benefit. The rate of Illness Benefit has increased from €203 to €350 per week for those medically certified to self-isolate or diagnosed with Covid-19.

Check out our guide on Important Updates For Businesses Impacted By Covid-19.

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

FAQ - Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

We answer your most common questions about Revenue's new Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Continue Reading

Local Enterprise Office - Trading Online Voucher Scheme

This voucher is for small businesses that employ up to 10 employees. It helps business owners trade more online, boost sales, and reach new markets.

There is up to €2,500 available through the LEO with co-funding of 10% from the business. Talk to your LEO for more information on the terms and conditions of the voucher.

Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades to online systems are required.

The voucher can be used to support:

  1. Implementing or upgrading payment facilities or booking systems to your website
  2. Developing new apps for your customers
  3. Used towards subscriptions services to low cost online retail platform solutions that will help companies quickly establish a retailing presence online

Enterprise Ireland

  • Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant

    This grant is worth up to €5,000 and eligible companies will receive external support from EI approved financial consultants to prepare a short-to-medium term financial plan.

  • Lean Business Continuity Voucher

    This €2,500 voucher is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups).

  • Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme

    Successful applicants will receive a maximum of 80% of the project eligible costs with a maximum grant of €40,000.

  • Restart Grant

    The purpose of this fund is to support small businesses reopen their doors, reconnect with the market, their employees, and their customers.

Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant

This grant is worth up to €5,000 and eligible companies will receive external support from EI approved financial consultants to prepare a short-to-medium term financial plan. The Application Process will remain open throughout the year.

This is a new support for clients of Enterprise Ireland. It is to support companies in the manufacturing industry or internationally traded services, with up to 10 or more full-time employees.

It is designed to help companies develop a robust financial plan so it can support applications for external finance from banks and/or other financial institutions, including Enterprise Ireland.

For further information, contact your Development Advisor or contact the Covid-19 Business Response Unit at businessresponse@enterprise-ireland.com.

Lean Business Continuity Voucher

This €2,500 voucher is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups).

It can be used to provide training or advisory support to ensure businesses can continue operating during the current pandemic.

The voucher can be used to support crisis management, sustaining operations through advisory services or training, and planning for resilience post-crisis.

You can apply for this voucher on the Enterprise Ireland website or contact your agency advisor. Note that this scheme is a short-term measure and may be withdrawn once the current emergency period ends.

Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme

The open call for the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is until Wednesday 27th May 2020, at 3 pm. This scheme is designed to help retail companies to introduce changes to support their online capability.

Irish-owned retail companies can apply to this fund to help “enhance their digital capability and to develop a more competitive online offer, that will enable an increase in their customer base and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace both online and offline.”

It will be a Competitive Fund and will be administered by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation (DBEI). The total fund size is €2m.

Successful applicants will receive a maximum of 80% of the project eligible costs with a maximum grant of €40,000.

If you think you qualify this scheme, read more information on the Enterprise Ireland website as there is a lot you need to know before you apply.

Restart Grant

This grant is worth up to €10,000 to support small businesses “reopen their doors and get back on their feet”.

Details of the scheme were announced on 15th May 2020, and the scheme opens for applications on Friday 22 May through the Local Authorities.

Information on how to apply and application forms are available on each Local Authority’s website: find yours here.

This grant applies to small businesses with a turnover of under €5m and employing 50 people or less, which has closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover.

The purpose of this fund is to assist businesses in reconnecting with the market, their employees, and their customers. It is designed to support small businesses, from hairdressers to clothes shops, to eventually open their doors once again.

The grants will be equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019, with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000.

InterTradeIreland

These supports are for cross-border businesses.

  • Emergency Business Solutions

    This support is for the value of £2,000/€2,250 inc VAT (100% funded) for cross-border companies in manufacturing and tradable services.

  • E-Merge

    This is a programme that provides £2500/€2800 fully-funded consultancy support to help businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.

Emergency Business Solutions

This support is worth up to £2,000/€2,250 for cross-border companies that work in manufacturing and tradable services to help support the business’s challenges related to Covid-19. 

Applications are made through an online form and all applications will be assessed based on their eligibility criteria.

The company applying for this support must be registered either in the North or South of Ireland and engage in cross-border trading. You also need to be trading for at least 18 months and have established turnover.

In the application process, you’ll need to provide a detailed overview of your business, products and services, markets, and customers. InterTradeIreland will also look for a detailed explanation of how Covid-19 has impacted your business.

For more information about this support, check out InterTradeIreland’s website.

E-Merge

This support provides businesses with £2500/€2800 to fund consultancy support so they can develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.

There is a range of consultancy supports eligible to funded under this programme including, SEO, online payment systems/billing/security, and legal & insurance implications.

Again, the company needs to be engaged in cross-border trade and be in a manufacturing or tradable service business registered in the North or South of Ireland.

The application for this programme is also done online and you can read more about the E-Merge programme on the InterTradeIreland website.

An Post

  • Direct Mail fund

    This fund offers €1,000 worth of Direct Mail to small firms for a local advertising drive or as part of a larger marketing campaign.

  • Discounted prices

    An Post is offering 25% discount on An Post parcel services through the An Post Advantage card for the period of Covid-19.

Direct Mail fund

On 20th May 2020, An Post announced a €1m Direct Mail fund for 1000 SMEs in Ireland to market their business across Ireland.

This fund offers SMEs €1,000 worth of Direct Mail for local advertising or larger marketing campaigns. These will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis from Monday 24th May.

Discounted prices

An Post is also offering discounted prices for the Covid-19 period.

Customers who have An Post Advantage card can avail of discounts of 25% on parcel services.

Business owners can apply for an Advantage Card here: https://www.anpost.com/Commerce/Postal-Services/Advantage-Card

Business funds and loans

  1. Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund
  2. Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund
  3. SME Credit Guarantee Scheme
  4. SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme
  5. MicroFinance Ireland
  6. Linked Finance

Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund

This is a new €180m fund is administered by Enterprise Ireland. It’s designed to support companies in manufacturing and internationally traded services that have the capital to help stabilise and rebuild their businesses.

Companies that have been impacted by a 15% or greater reduction in actual or projected turnover or profit, and/or have a significant increase in costs as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak can apply for this fund.

Features of this fund:

  • Repayable funding of up to €800,000 available
  • Funding to be repaid subject to the project objectives being achieved
  • An annual administration fee of 4%.

The funding to be repaid as follows:

  • 3-year grace period
  • Repayment by the end of year 5, on successful achievement of the project objective.

Application process:

  • A Business Sustainment Plan. 
  • Evidence of application for funding through the SBCI or financial institutions
  • Evidence of the need for Covid-19 support funding
  • Identification of the sources of additional funding required to fully implement the Business Sustainment Plan
  • Evidence of a drop of 15% or more (or projected) in income arising from the Covid-19 situation.

For further information, contact your agency advisor in Enterprise Ireland or contact the Covid-19 Business Response Unit at businessresponse@enterprise-ireland.com.

Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund

The Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund is for medium to large enterprises employing more than 250 employees or with an annual turnover in excess of €50 million.

This is a €2 billion fund made available through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

If you are eligible for this fund, we advise you to contact the ISIF directly.

Business loans

SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

The Credit Guarantee Scheme supports qualifying loans up to €1 million for periods of up to 7 years. This is a government-supported scheme that is made available from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

Applications for loans of up to €1 million can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

The scheme provides an 80% guarantee to participating banks which are AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.

Eligibility criteria applies so read more information on the SBCI website.

SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme

This is a €200m scheme also provided through SBCI. The Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme provides eligible businesses with support loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured), with a maximum interest rate of 4%.

Applications can be made through the SBCI website and applying companies need to fulfil their Covid-19 criterion and innovation criterion.

MicroFinance Ireland

MicroFinance Ireland is partnered with Local Enterprise Offices and is a Government-funded support.

“It is designed for micro-enterprises that are:

  • Having difficulty accessing bank finance
  • Impacted, or may be impacted negatively, by Covid-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit.”

The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland has been increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to mitigate some of the challenges from the coronavirus outbreak.

Features of this loan:

  • Up to €50,000 available
  • 6 months interest-free and repayment free moratorium, then the loan is to be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period.
  • An interest rate of 4.5% if applied through LEO or referred by your Bank (An interest rate of 5.5% if you apply to Microfinance Ireland directly)

The funding to be repaid as follows:

  • Loan terms usually 3 years
  • No fees or hidden costs with fixed repayments.
  • No penalty for early repayment

Linked Finance

Linked Finance has a Deferred Start Loan offer for loans up to €100,000 with no repayments for the first 3 months.  Interest is fixed for the term at 10.45% and there is a 4.5% arrangement fee. The criteria is that the beneficial owners of the business provide a personal guarantee as security to their lenders.

The application process needs:

  1. Two years’ filed accounts. 2018/2017 (Inc. P&L, Balance Sheet and Notes)
  2. Six months’ Bank statements (September to February)
  3. Tax clearance certificate or codes (if applicable)
  4. Proof of overdraft

Get in touch with Linked Finance here for a discount of .5% on the arrangement fee when referred from Accountant Online.

  • Three-month commercial rates waiver

    In March, the Government announced that commercial rates would be deferred for the hospitality, retail, leisure, and childcare sectors. This rates alleviation will now be extended to businesses that have been forced to close due to public health requirements.

  • ‘Warehousing’ of tax liabilities

    The government will implement a ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of twelve months after the recommencement of trading. As well as that, there will be no debt enforcement action taken by Revenue during this time. There will also be no interest charge accruing in respect of the warehoused debt (no capital or interest payments).

    However, businesses must still remain compliant with all their return filing and tax payment obligations. The operational details are still being finalised and we will keep you informed of any updates.

  • Banking payment breaks

    The Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland announced an extension of payment breaks for businesses and households to 6 months.

Need more advice?

If you need more help with your cash flow management, take a look at our guide on Cash Flow Management Tips For Small Businesses.

Talk to our Client Services Team if you have questions about outsourcing your accounting to a professional. We offer Company Formation to Accounting and Payroll services for Irish and UK businesses.

Call us on +353 (0)1 905 9364 or email hello@accountantonline.ie.

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