Government launches €500 million long-term lending for SMEs, Farmers and Fishing

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary TD today (Thursday the 30th of July) launched a €500 million expansion to the Future Growth Loan Scheme, the government’s scheme to support SMEs, farmers and fishing. The additional funding will be provided by the European Investment Bank Group.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said:

“The past few months have been very difficult for businesses. Things will continue to be extremely challenging over the coming months and the new government must do everything possible to help businesses navigate this unprecedented time and get back on their feet.

“Today, we’re announcing an expansion of the Future Growth Loan Scheme. Applications are now open, making available a further €500m of long-term loans to help more SMEs make investments to enable them to expand, diversify or improve productivity. These loans will help business, such as Luzern Technology, who I met today, adapt and position themselves to succeed in their new trading environment.”

The government launched the first €300 million round of the Scheme last year helping 1,150 SMEs, farmers and fishers to date make strategic investments to grow their businesses. Today’s announcement will see the European Investment Bank Group provide an additional €500m for the Scheme, bringing the total investment in the Scheme to €800m.

Loans of between €25,000 to €3 million are available at competitive rates for terms between 7 and 10 years. The scheme will facilitate significant injections of liquidity for businesses looking to develop strategic responses to the changing business conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and by Brexit. This scheme will help to facilitate innovation and ensure that our enterprise base is sustainable into the future.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD said:

“I welcome this increase in capacity for the Future Growth Loan Scheme. These loans will provide essential funding for companies who wish to invest for the longer term to enable them to deal with both the current COVID-19 crisis and the upcoming challenge of Brexit”.

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Dara Calleary TD said:

“The uptake of the Future Growth Loan Scheme by the agri-food sector has been very strong and I am aware that there has been some unfulfilled demand. Not only will the new expansion meet that demand, the evolution of the Scheme will assist in meeting the new challenges being posed by COVID-19 and the ongoing challenges the sector has in dealing with Brexit. The unsecured nature of the funding particularly helps young and new entrant farmers, as well as smaller farmers, but it is a crucial support to all parts of the production chain; farmers, fishers, forestry and food & beverage production.”

Present at the launch were Mr Ken Doyle, CEO, and Mr Pat Sherlock, Chief Platform Officer, of Luzern Technology Solutions Limited. Luzern Technology Solutions Limited has secured lending under the Future Growth Loan Scheme and met with the Tánaiste today to explain how the Scheme has supported them to invest in new international opportunities arising from the current economic situation.

The scheme is supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, and delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

The European Investment Bank’s engagement has been partially guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

To access the Scheme, businesses must apply for eligibility through the SBCI. The application form, along with full details of the scheme, is available through the SBCI website www.sbci.gov.ie.

Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank are now accepting loan applications for the Scheme from businesses meeting SBCI eligibility. The SBCI is actively engaged with three other financial providers who responded to the open call and hopes to announce them as scheme partners in the coming weeks. Businesses are advised to check the SBCI website for up to date information in relation to participating financial providers.

SBCI CEO, Nick Ashmore said:

“We have seen strong uptake of the Future Growth Loan Scheme since its introduction. The Scheme, which allows SMEs to invest in innovating and expanding their business using low-cost, longer-term and more accessible funding aligns closely with the SBCI’s objective of supporting and promoting the provision of financing to small businesses. With this expansion, the Scheme can continue to deliver real impact and much needed support for SMEs. The addition of new partners will help to generate much needed competition in the SME finance sector.

Andrew McDowell, Vice President of the European Investment Bank Group, speaking from Luxembourg, said:

“The European Investment Bank Group has worked closely with the Irish Government and the SBCI to ensure that Irish businesses can access finance and working capital through the Brexit Loan Scheme, the Future Growth Loan Scheme and the new COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme. In recent weeks the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund have expanded financing for Irish companies, and we stand ready to further enhance our support for a solid, resilient and sustainable economic recovery in Ireland.”

“The Future Growth Loan Scheme provided important liquidity support to Luzern Technology Solutions Limited at a vital period of growth and expansion for our business. Having access to loan facilities such as this is critical in ensuring that Irish businesses have the capacity to compete and win on the world stage and I would encourage every business and entrepreneur to look at the benefits this loan scheme can provide, especially in these unprecedented times.”

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