Are you a small business owner? If you are it is almost certain that you are experiencing the most difficult trading conditions you have ever faced. The economy, with a small number of exceptions, has virtually shut down as a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis.
And it is to continue for an unknown period.
If you are like any of the small business owners who have contacted me in the last few weeks you will be enquiring if there are any supports for entrepreneurs and SMEs.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
The purpose of this scheme is to encourage you to keep your employees on in employment and not lay them off. The scheme will provide a subsidy of 70% of the average weekly take home pay for each employee, up to a maximum of €410.
The employer is expected to do his best to maintain the full rate of pay for the employee for the duration of the scheme, for 12 weeks from 26th March 2020. To learn more about the temporary COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme click here.
Strategic banking corporation of Ireland COVID-19 working capital scheme
This scheme is for qualifying businesses with less than 500 employees and provides loans from €25,000 to €1.5 million and is administered through AIB, Bank of Ireland, and Ulster Bank. Loan terms range from 1 to 3 years with a maximum interest rate of 4%.
There are plenty of qualifying criteria, some of which include showing that COVID-19 has caused a fall in turnover or profitability of at least 15%.
A Future Growth Loan Scheme
This is for businesses, farmers, and seafood enterprises impacted by COVID-19. Loans of 8 to 10 years are available from €100,000 to €3 million for eligible enterprises. Interest only repayments is a possibility as are unsecured loans.
SME credit guarantee scheme
This scheme if for enterprises with less than 250 employees, turnover of €50m or less, not part of a wider group of companies, and have less than 25% of their share capital held by public bodies. Banks involved in the scheme are AIB, Bank of Ireland, and Ulster Bank and facilities of up to 7 years in the range of €10,000 to €1,000,000 are available.
The Sustaining Enterprise Fund
This is open to companies with 10 or more full time employees and are in the internationally traded services sector or in manufacturing. Loans of up to €800,000 are available with a 3 year grace period on repayment.
Microfinance Ireland can provide loans of up to €50,000 to microenterprises-that is, less than 10 full time employees and less than €2,000,000 annual turnover. Loan term is a maximum of 3 yeas with a moratorium of 6 months on interest and loan repayments. This scheme is open to sole traders, partnerships, companies and there is also a €2,500 tradubg online voucher to help develop an online presence in the form of a website or a facility to accept online payments from customers/clients. Enterprises can apply for a second voucher where they have used up the first one correctly.
Business financial planning grant
This is a support from Enterprise Ireland and for qualifying enterprises affords a grant of up to €5,000 for financial planning.
LEAN business improvement grant
This is a grant of €2,500 for a training project of up to 3 days carried out by an approved trainer.
COVID-19 retail online scheme
This is for retailers who employ in excess of 10 people and grants range from €10,000 to €40,000 for retailers with an existing online presence. The grant is intended to cover up to 80% of the project costs for a competitive online offer.
Restaurants and cafes-planning relaxation
No need to apply for planning permission for restaurants and cafes to provide a takeaway service between 13th March 2020 and 31st May 2020.
COVID-19 financial support scheme for nursing homes
This scheme as €72 million available and is to run for a temporary 3 month period. There are two parts to the scheme: a) financial assistance for the month ahead in the form of €800 per month per resident for the first 40 residents and €400 per resident for the next 40; b) finance for enhanced outbreak assistance in the event of a coronavirus outbreak in the home.
The Revenue are operating a range of relaxations and assistances including suspending interest on certain late payments, debt enforcement activity is suspended, RCT rate review suspended, tax clearance certificates will remain in place for the next few months, and other breaks concerning local property tax.
Local Enterprise Offices
Local enterprise offices can provide business continuity vouchers of up to €2,500 for businesses that employ up to 50 people to develop strategies to combat the effects of the COVID-19 catastrophe.