EI welcomes new supports for businesses impacted by Covid-19

9 Apr 2020

Image: © Axel Bueckert/Stock.adobe.com

Enterprise Ireland also announced new supports for businesses that are shifting to online retail in response to Covid-19.

Enterprise Ireland has welcomed the €1bn worth of Covid-19 supports for SMEs announced by the Irish Government, including a new €180m scheme for companies in the manufacturing sector.

The Government announced on Wednesday (8 April) that the €180m Sustaining Enterprise Fund was recently approved by the European Commission, in line with EU state aid rules, to provide financial support to Irish companies affected by the pandemic.

In response, Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said: “I greatly welcome today’s announcement by the Government on the introduction of a range of new funding instruments to help Irish businesses respond to the economic challenges Covid-19 presents.

“Enterprise Ireland companies have already seen a significant impact on their businesses from Covid-19. While their immediate focus has been on dealing with the welfare of their employees, they are also being impacted by a collapse in demand in certain sectors, supply chain disruption and cash-flow challenges.”

Who can benefit from the scheme?

The Sustaining Enterprise Fund is available to assist companies in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors that have seen, or expect to see, a 15pc or more reduction in turnover or profits or an increase in costs as a direct result of Covid-19.

The fund will be available to companies that are unable to access adequate funding from the market, financial institutions or the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

Funding of up to €800,000 will enable companies to access the necessary liquidity and funding to sustain their businesses in the short to medium term, while contributing to the recovery of the Irish economy.

In addition, Enterprise Ireland also announced a grant of €5,000 to assist companies to develop a business sustainment plan and a new €2,500 Lean Business Continuity voucher to help companies quickly access expertise in reviewing and optimising their business to identify the key measures needed to ensure continued operation.

Sinnamon added: “My strong advice to companies is, if you haven’t already done so, to prepare an assessment of your financial requirements and progress funding applications to the banks and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland immediately. Enterprise Ireland’s new Business Financial Planning grant will help companies to prepare a business sustainment plan.”

Strengthening online retail

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, also announced new supports available from Enterprise Ireland, including a scheme to strengthen businesses that are now relying on online retail.

The new €2m Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme will be open to retailers employing more than 10 people to develop a more competitive online offer. Successful applicants will receive funding support of up to 80pc of project costs, with a maximum grant of €40,000.

Sinnamon said: “The Online Retail Scheme funding announced today will help support retailers who have found they will have to rapidly adapt their approach to enable online ordering and delivery to meet the new reality of home working and physical distancing restrictions.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic