03 APRIL 2020

As information regarding Business Supports during the Coronavirus crisis continues to develop, CFO Services will endeavour to keep you updated with the details as and when they emerge.
Today, we again outline the four existing Business Support Schemes and also the two newest schemes which have been recently announced: the Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant and the Business Continuity Voucher.

    Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant
    Business Continuity Voucher
    COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
    SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme
    Microfinance Ireland – loans €5k-50k
    SBCI SME Credit Guarantee Scheme
Further information relating to each scheme is outlined below. If you feel any of these schemes are relevant to you and would like to explore them further, please feel free to contact us.


Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant

The Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full-time employees. The grant is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers (including Enterprise Ireland). The Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, will enable companies to access external support from approved financial consultants to prepare a financial plan to secure the company in the short and medium term.

The financial plan will:

  • help the company to understand its immediate financial position, secure the finance it requires to survive and provide a framework to sustain the business
  • ensure that the company has a framework to identify and manage its costs and gaps in funding
  • be 100% funding of up to €5,000 to access an approved financial consultant
  • be open to all Enterprise Ireland clients and companies employing 10 or more in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector
  • be open via online application.


Business Continuity Voucher

  • 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.
  • The goal is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.
  • If your application is successful, a qualified expert will be selected by your Local Enterprise Office to work with you on your business continuity plans. The value of this service is up to a maximum of €2,500.


COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Who does the scheme apply to?
The scheme is available to employers from all sectors (excluding public service and non-commercial semi-state sector) whose business activities are being adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme is available for employers who retain staff on payroll; some of the staff may be temporarily not working or some may be on reduced hours and/or reduced pay. Provided employer meets the conditions below, and subject to levels of pay to employees, the employer may be eligible for the scheme for some or all employees.

To qualify, employers must:

  • be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to Covid-19
  • be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, a minimum 25% decline in projected turnover
  • be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully
  • retain their employees on payroll
  • The scheme is only for employees who were on employer’s payroll at 29 February 2020, and for whom a payroll submission has already been made to Revenue in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020.

Subsidy Features

  • from 26 March 2020, the subsidy scheme will refund employers up to a maximum of €410 per each qualifying employee
  • the scheme applies to employers who top up employees’ wages as well as those that aren’t in a position to do so
  • employers make the support payment directly to their employees through normal payroll processes and will then be reimbursed by Revenue
  • reimbursement within two working days following payroll submission
  • income tax and USC not applied to subsidy payment through the payroll
  • employee PRSI will not apply to the subsidy or any top up payment by the employer
  • employers PRSI will not apply to the subsidy and will be reduced from 10.5% to 0.5% on the top up payment.


SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme

Loan features

  • Loan amounts of between €25,000 to €1.5m per eligible enterprise.
  • Maximum interest rate of 4%.

Who can apply?
Viable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Small MidCap enterprises that meet the eligibility criteria.

Criteria for eligibility

  • The business is impacted by the Covid-19 virus resulting in business turnover/profitability being negatively impacted by a minimum of 15%.
  • Any 1 of the 11 innovation criteria as listed on the Strategic Banking Corporation  of Ireland website.

Loans can be used for

  • Future working capital requirements.
  • To fund innovation, change or adaptation of the business to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.
  • Loans cannot be used for:

– Refinance of undertakings in financial difficulties.
– Refinance of existing debt (Term Loans/Leases/Hire Purchase etc.).


Microfinance Ireland – loans €5k-50k

Criteria for eligibility

  • Reduction of 15% of profit or turnover due to Covid-19 crisis
  • Having difficulty obtaining finance from commercial lenders
  • Less than 10 full time employees. Part time employees will be considered (e.g. 2 part time = 1 full time)
  • Turnover below €2m
  • Must show they will be generating revenue within next 3 months
  • They do not need to be profitable at this stage


SBCI SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

This scheme assists SMEs in accessing credit if they have one of the following 3 barriers to lending:

  • Inadequate collateral
  • Novel business market, sector or technology which is perceived by finance providers as higher risk under current credit risk evaluation practices
  • Need for refinancing caused by the exit of an SME lender from the Irish market

It offers:

  • Facilities of €10,000 up to €1m
  • Terms of up to 7 years
  • Term Loans, Demand Loans and Performance Bonds

SMEs may be eligible if they:

  • Are involved in a commercial activity
  • Are a sole trader, partnership, franchise, co-operative or limited company
  • In the lender’s opinion have a viable business proposal
  • Are able to repay the facility


If you feel any of these schemes are relevant to you and would like to explore them further, please feel free to contact us.