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Financial Advice

Last Chance To Apply For These Great Covid Supports!

By October 2021December 2nd, 2021No Comments
Last Chance To Apply For These Great Covid Supports - Beyond Accounting

There are some excellent schemes and supports put in place by the government as a response to the pandemic that are set to expire at the end of the year. If you were planning on applying for any of these, the time to act is now!

Sustaining Enterprise Fund (SEF)

Open to manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ more than 10 people, this fund of between €100,000- €800,000 can be provided to companies who have been impacted by Covid 19. We have covered this fund in some detail in a previous blog: SBCI Is Driving Innovation And Competition In Business Loans.

The reason I feel this fund is worth a close look is because up to 50% of the funding can be non-repayable, with maximum non-repayable support of €200,000. However, because you can transfer what you owe into equity or a convertible loan note, the amount that needs to be repaid could be quite low.

We have a few clients that have successfully applied for this fund. Applications must be approved and paid out before the end of the year, so if you are interested you should start the process right away.

> See full eligibility criteria and the application process.

Business Planning Voucher

The Business Planning Voucher was another government scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland but open to both client and non-client companies of EI alike. We worked on a number of these last year and believed the scheme to be closed. However, we have recently heard that the scheme is open again, so if business planning would be of benefit to your business, we recommend applying.

Worth €5,000, this voucher covers the fees of external approved consultants engaging with companies in the areas of financial and business planning. Clients that used the vouchers with us saw great value and said the scheme was easy to apply for. Even if you have already availed of this grant, we understand that you can apply a second time.

> See full eligibility criteria and the application process.

Digitalisation Voucher

If you have any tech or digital projects in the pipeline, this new voucher may be for you. Administered by Enterprise Ireland, businesses with 10-50 employees that have been impacted by the pandemic can apply, and they don’t have to be EI client companies.

Beyond is on the approved consultant list for this voucher too. The voucher is worth €9,000 in consultancy fees and we could support you with a data insights project or with internal process optimisation. Our deep experience of business systems means that we could support you with any project involving tech integrations, automation, etc.

> See full eligibility criteria and the application process.

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) schemes

We’ve already discussed the soft loans, 80% credit guaranteed by the government, that are available through the SBCI. I particularly like the Future Growth Loan Scheme as it is repayable over such a long term (7-10 years). The loan still comes through a bank or alternative lender and some of them still have capacity and are accepting applications so if you were thinking of applying to this scheme, it’s time to get the ball rolling by contacting the SBCI.

> See full eligibility criteria and the application process.

Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (Covid-19 CGS)

Another SBCI scheme that is likely to run out by the end of the year is the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. You can borrow from €10,000 and €1 million, typically unsecured up to €250,000, with terms of between 3 months up to 5.5 years. Unlike other SBCI schemes, you apply directly via your chosen lender and the list includes plenty of non-traditional lenders.

If you believe you’ll have a funding requirement coming up next year, my advice would be to get the money lined up now by applying for a loan like this before the scheme closes. 2022 is likely to see lending levels return to normal with the “slow no” that traditional banks are famous for when it comes to SMEs.

Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs)

If you’re a smaller business and looking for extra support, your local LEO is a good place to start. As well as their well-publicised Trading Online Voucher for web and marketing work, they have in particular:

Feasibility Grant: this covers 50% of feasibility/market research services up to a maximum of €15,000. This could cover work such as consultancy, design, patent costs, or prototype development.

> See eligibility criteria and the application process.

Business Expansion Grant: this supports job creation by supporting salary costs by up to 50% depending on the salary level.

> See eligibility criteria and the application process.

There are other grants, loans, and programmes you can access via the Local Enterprise Office. It’s worth a look at their website to see if there’s anything you are missing out on.

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

As announced in the recent Budget, the EWSS will run until 30th April 2022. Under the EWSS scheme, employers and new firms in sectors impacted by COVID-19, whose turnover has fallen by 30%, get a flat-rate subsidy per week based on the number of qualifying employees on the payroll, including seasonal staff and new employees.

If you are eligible, keep claiming this scheme. If you hadn’t registered for it but do qualify, then consider registering (you do this via ROS). The scheme will close to new employers from 1st January 2022. The subsidy will taper off as it reaches its final stages – from December to February, a two-rate structure of €151.50 and €203 will apply and in the final two months (March and April), a flat rate subsidy of €100 will be in place.

Support for business continues to be strong in Ireland, but as you can see not all the schemes run indefinitely so my advice is always to act sooner rather than later if you have identified a support that makes sense for your business. As always, the Supporting SMEs website is a good place to start.

We regularly work with clients who are raising funding and can offer help with choosing the right funding strategy to pursue as well as preparing for applications or pitches. To find out more, get in touch today!
Rory