‘Brexit proof your business’ – Kilkenny SMEs and farmers urged to apply for €300m fund
KILKENNY small and medium sized businesses and farmers are being invited to apply for up to €300 million in funding to help them grow.
Details of the Government’s Future Growth Loan Scheme were announced by Minister and local TD John Paul Phelan today.
Businesses will be able to apply for loan eligibility through the SBCI, an agency run through the Department of Finance, from April.
Three finance providers – AIB, Bank of Ireland and KBC – have agreed to participate in the scheme, and negotiations are ongoing with another two lenders.
The Government is urging businesses to use the coming three weeks to start preparing their proposals for long-term capital investment.
Minister Phelan (pictured below) said: “With Brexit on the horizon, investment in innovation and diversification has never been more important. For this reason, I would strongly encourage businesses, including farm enterprises, to start putting their proposals together now so that they are ready to start the application process with the SBCI.
“Even if intending applicants are unsure if they will draw down a loan, it’s a good idea to have approval in place in case it’s something they need down the line. Notwithstanding the uncertainty that comes with Brexit, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“This Scheme unlocks a large fund of affordable investment financing for the future needs of businesses, and it follows on from the Government’s launch last year of the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme, which provides working capital support for businesses. These are only two examples of a wide range of State supports available to firms including through Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices.”
The funding allocations for the Future Growth Loan Scheme are:
*€37 million from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation;
*€25 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine;
*€42 million of the overall budget relates to expenditure last year;
*€6 million will be allocated in 2019;
*The remaining €14 million will made over “a third tranche” of funding.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s share of funding ensures that at least 40% of the fund will be available to farmers and agri-food and seafood businesses.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said: “This is a long-awaited source of finance for young and new entrant farmers, especially the cohort who do not have high levels of security. It will also serve smaller-scale farmers, who often do not have the leverage to negotiate for more favourable terms with their banking institution.”