THE GOVERNMENT has announced a new low-cost loan scheme to help small businesses recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Loans are available for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including farmers, fishermen and other food businesses, ranging from €25,000 to €1.5 million for terms of one to six years.
The scheme, known as the Covid-19 Loan Scheme, was announced this morning by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue.
Under this program, loans will be made available to companies whose turnover or profits have been impacted by more than 15% due to Covid-19.
The loans can be used for investment, working capital and 30% of the funds can be used to refinance existing short-term loans.
The Department of Enterprise said the loans will be available without collateral for funds below €500,000 and will carry a lower interest rate than comparable small business loans.
Launching the program, Varadkar said businesses are now getting back on their feet after several difficult years.
“There are currently more people employed in Ireland than ever before in the history of the state. This would have been unimaginable even a few months ago,” Varadkar said.
“However, many businesses are still getting back on their feet after what has been an incredibly difficult time. I know that Putin’s war against Ukraine has caused more uncertainty.
This successor program will give SMEs, including farmers, fishers and food businesses, the opportunity to access loans at truly competitive prices, should they need to avail themselves of this option, in addition to other available aid. . It’s about giving SMEs as many options as possible.
McConalogue said the program would help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the agribusiness sector.
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“The resilience shown by the agri-food sector during the pandemic has been remarkable as it has continued to produce high quality products for domestic and overseas consumers,” McConalogue said.
“This state-supported source of funding will complement other measures my department has put in place to mitigate the significant impact of the pandemic on the agribusiness sector.”
ISME, the Irish Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, said the new scheme was attractive in several respects, including the higher cap on unsecured loans compared to a previous scheme.
“The unsecured amount has doubled from €250,000 to €500,000, which should increase the attractiveness for borrowers and lenders,” an ISME spokesperson said.