04 Dec 2018 | 09.28 am
Brexit Loan Scheme Delivering For Irish SMEs
€300m loan scheme is administered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland
04 Dec 2018 | 09.28 am
The €300m Brexit Loan Scheme was launched by the Irish government in March 2018 and so far almost 300 businesses have applied to the scheme, writes Nick Ashmore, Chief Executive, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)
Operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), the Brexit Loan Scheme provides low-cost funding (at 4% or less), with the support of the European Investment Fund, to businesses that are innovating in response to the challenges that Brexit poses.
The scheme covers loans ranging from €25,000 to €1.5 million, with loans of up to €500,000 being unsecured. The maximum rate for the scheme is signiﬁcantly lower than the matrix of rates currently available to businesses on loans less than €250,000.
To apply, SMEs start the process by visiting www.sbci.gov.ie and completing a straightforward form to establish their eligibility for the scheme.
The SBCI gives them a quick decision and a unique code conﬁrming that they are eligible, which they can bring to any of the three lenders in the scheme: Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and AIB. This alters the discussion with the bank, as the borrower is already covered by a guarantee.
Since it was launched by the Irish government in March 2018, the scheme has received almost 300 eligibility applications. The SBCI’s direct engagement with these Brexit-impacted businesses assists them in navigating and understanding the eligibility process for these loans.
This has been hugely beneﬁcial, as it has enabled the SBCI to gather crucial process information on the challenges that SMEs face in accessing ﬁnance. The organisation can use this to identify SMEs’ needs well into the future, and design the right kind of products to meet these needs.
Throughout October, the government’s ‘Getting Brexit Ready’ event visited and spoke to hundreds of SMEs in Cork, Galway, Monaghan and Dublin to help raise the awareness of the challenges of Brexit, and give businesses the opportunity to learn more about preparing for Brexit and the scheme.
Organised by the Department of Foreign Aﬀairs, SMEs can register their interest in attending any future Getting Brexit Ready events by visiting www.dfa.ie/brexit.
SBCI: Delivering for Irish Businesses
The Brexit loan Scheme is the latest SME support programme operated by the SBCI. In the three years since we opened for business, the SBCI has supported almost 23,000 SMEs that have borrowed a total of €920m using SBCI ﬁnance.
These borrowers have included large and small SMEs. Our average loan size is €40,000 but we have supported loans for as little as €1,500 and as large as €4.3m. The Smes we have supported employ almost 120,000 people.
We have been very successful in ensuring that the beneﬁts the SBCI oﬀers have been well spread throughout Ireland, with 85% of loans going outside Dublin, and with a generally broad spread throughout all regions of the State. The agri-food sector has been one of the biggest beneﬁciaries of SBCI funding – it is often overlooked that farmers are SMEs.
The ﬁnance provided has been delivered in the form of a strong mix of term loans for working capital and investment purposes, leasing, hire purchase, contract hire and invoice discounting.
SMEs and business advisers interested in ﬁnding out more about the SBCI can visit our website, www.sbci.gov.ie.
Follow us on Twitter: @SBCIreland