Minister Humphreys announces supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19

The novel coronavirus pandemic – Covid-19 – is having an impact on business continuity across the globe. Through these uncertain times, your primary focus will be on ensuring the health and wellbeing of your people. However, all businesses will face an increasing number of business continuity challenges. Our specialist teams can harness our expertise and work with your people towards minimizing your risk of operational and commercial exposure to help you serve your clients.

The escalation of the Covid-19 crisis in Ireland and around the world is almost certain to continue to effect Irish businesses. Against this backdrop, the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, agrees that “this is a worrying time for businesses” and has heard from “many businesses that they are very concerned about cashflow”.

"I know that this is a worrying time for businesses and I want to assure them that my Department and agencies are working on their behalf to develop and deliver a range of supports to help them through this rapidly evolving situation".

"I am hearing from many businesses that they are very concerned about their cashflow in the coming weeks. I want to reassure them that there are a number of schemes that can help them meet their short-term working capital and liquidity needs".

The Minister has announced a package of financial supports for eligible companies who are suffering direct adverse economic effects from Covid-19.  The package, valued at circa €400m, includes:

Working Capital Scheme

  • A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • Loans of up to €1.5m will be available at reduced rates, with up to the first €500,000 unsecured.
  • To qualify for a loan, a business must satisfy one of the specified Covid-19 criteria and one of the innovation criteria set out for the scheme
  • Guidelines on the necessary criteria and details as to how to apply for a loan under the scheme will be made available here;

Enterprise Supports Package

  • A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
  • Enterprise Ireland will supplement direct financial support with an online portal of advice and business continuity tools and webinars for businesses

Increased Maximum Loan Amounts through MicroFinance Ireland

  • The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises – (sole traders and firms with up to 9 employees) - are facing.
  • This is an immediate measure and applications can be made through the MFI website or through your local LEO.
  • Further details on such loans and the application process through the MFI website or through Local Enterprise Offices.

Credit Guarantee Scheme through Pillar Banks

  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be available to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks.
  • Loans will be available of up to €1m at terms of up to 7 years, further details of which are available through the relevant Pillar Banks.

Support for firms experiencing trading difficulties and short-term shocks

Minister Humphreys also highlighted the following supports for firms experiencing trading difficulties and short-term shocks:

  • First Responder support service - The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region. This will provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.
  • Short Term Work Support - Firms that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short Term Work Support by contacting their local Intreo Office, see
  • Grant supports - The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports will be available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.

The Minister also welcomed the package of reforms for sick pay, illness benefit and supplementary benefit that is designed to ensure that employees and the self-employed can abide by medical advice to self-isolate where appropriate.

"We are facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty, and businesses may want to access advice on how best to protect their businesses. A Finance in Focus grant of €7,200 will be available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients that want to access consultancy support to undertake immediate finance reviews".

"In addition, Local Enterprise Offices in every county will be providing vouchers from €2,500 up to €10,000 (with 50:50 match funding) to support business continuity preparedness, innovation and productivity. I encourage businesses to take advantage of these supports".

Minister Humphrey’s response and the planned introduction of these schemes has been broadly welcomed but is it becoming increasingly apparent that businesses will continue to face economic difficulties in the weeks and months ahead. It is likely that further supports will be required as the Covid-19 crisis continues to evolve.

Our specialist teams can harness our expertise and work with your people to minimising your risk of operational and commercial exposure to help you serve your clients. Our dedicated professional services team provides a full range of specialist services, across audit and advisorytaxtransaction and management consulting, to help you overcome the business continuity challenges you face.

Find more information about how our firm can assist your business with continuity planning and resources through your usual RSM contact or a member of our Business Continuity team.