Written answers

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Brexit Supports

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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437. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of food businesses that applied for working capital under the Brexit loan scheme which opened in March 2018; the number of such businesses sanctioned financing to date; and the value of same. [31208/19]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The €300 million Brexit loan scheme provides relatively short-term working capital of one to three years for eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. Businesses can confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, SBCI, and, if deemed eligible, can apply to one of the participating finance providers for a loan under the scheme.

Given its significant exposure to the UK market, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine contributed 40% of the State funding. As a result, at least 40% of the fund will be available to food businesses.

In terms of the number of applicants for the Brexit loan scheme, the latest data available to my Department show that, at close of business on 5 July, 669 eligibility applications were received by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, of which 608 were deemed eligible by it. Of the 608 eligible applicants, 150 have progressed to sanction with their banks. The value of the sanctioned loans from banks on 28 June was €32.93 million.

To date, 107 food businesses have applied for eligibility under the Brexit Loan Scheme while 28 food businesses have been sanctioned financing for a total value of €7.98 million.

In addition to the Brexit loan scheme, my Department, together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Finance and with the support of the European Investment Bank guarantee, has developed the Future Growth Loan Scheme. The scheme is making up to €300 million worth of loans available with a term of eight to ten years and is open to eligible Irish businesses, as well as the primary agriculture and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment. Finance provided under the scheme is competitively priced and has favourable terms, for example, no security is required for loans up to €500,000. The scheme opened for eligibility applications on 17 April since then the SBCI has received 524 eligibility applications and issued 482 eligibility letters. With Brexit on the horizon, the availability of both the Brexit loan scheme and the future growth loan scheme means that qualifying Irish businesses will have access to low cost capital without delay. It forms part of the supports in place for Irish business to cope with potential Brexit challenges.

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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438. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of farmers in addition to food businesses who applied to the future growth loan scheme which opened in March 2019; the number of farmers and such businesses sanctioned financing to date; and the value of same. [31209/19]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €300 million worth of loans available with a term of eight to ten years and is open to eligible Irish businesses, as well as the primary agriculture and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment. Finance provided under the scheme is competitively priced and has favourable terms, for example, no security is required for loans up to €500,000.

The scheme has been developed by my Department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in partnership with the Department of Finance, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and the European Investment Fund.

Loans to businesses under the scheme can be used to fund investments in equipment, machinery, buildings and associated overhead costs for organisational and/or process innovation. Loans to primary agriculture under the scheme can be used to fund investment in tangible and intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme features a two-stage application process. Applications for eligibility under the scheme is made through the SBCI website. The SBCI assesses the applications and those successful will be issued an eligibility reference number.

Eligible businesses will then be able to apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using the eligibility reference number. Approval of loans are subject to the finance providers’ own credit policies and procedures.

The scheme opened for eligibility applications on 17 April, and since then the SBCI has received 524 eligibility applications and issued 482 eligibility letters. In relation to the agri-food sector, to date, 279 primary agriculture businesses and 48 food businesses have applied for eligibility with 261 and 48 respectively receiving eligibility letters. In addition, 12 applicants have been sanctioned financing for a value of €1.68 million.

With Brexit on the horizon, investment in innovation and diversification has never been more important. The Future Growth Loan Scheme unlocks a large fund of affordable financing to support businesses in investing for the future.

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