€500m in credit to be made available for Irish SMEs through new bank

22 May 2014

In a move aimed at kickstarting growth in Ireland’s local economy, more than €500m in new credit will be made available to Irish SMEs through the establishment of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

The German Promotional Bank KfW, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the directed portfolio of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) will initially finance the new bank.

The involvement of KfW comes after the discussion between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Chancellor Angela Merkel following Ireland’s successful exit from the EU/IMF Programme on finding ways to reinforce Ireland’s economic recovery.

The Irish Government unveiled the new company this morning during a quarterly progress report on the Action Plan for Jobs that showed 97 out of 103 measures aimed for delivery in Q1 of this year have been delivered.

These included the opening of 31 Local Enterprise Offices, a €2m fund to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, a dedicated online resource for SMEs, and new structures to take advantage of the EU’s Horizon 2020 R&D programme.

The Government also published a new ICT Skills Action Plan to increase to 75pc the proportion of ICT vacancies filled by people from the Irish education system by 2018.

Also revealed this morning is that the IMD world competitiveness rankings 2014 placed Ireland in 15th place globally, up from 17th in 2013 and 24th in 2011. In 2000, Ireland placed 4th in these rankings, but this had fallen to 14th by 2007 and then to 24th in 2011.

Stability creates jobs

“Jobs are the top priority of the Government,” Kenny said.

“Stability creates jobs, attracts investment and grows economies.  

“This Government has stabilised the national finances and has put Ireland on the road to recovery. We are now seeing over 1,000 jobs a week being created in the private sector, the highest rate of employment growth across the OECD.  

“The Action Plan for Jobs will continue to deliver on our target to create 100,000 new jobs by 2016.  

“I’m delighted that the Government is establishing the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, a result of the agreement I reached with Chancellor Merkel last year on finding ways to reinforce Ireland’s economic recovery.  

“Using funds from the German promotional bank KfW, the European Investment Bank and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, the first phase will make over €500m available for small Irish business,” Kenny said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years