Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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564. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of food businesses that have applied for working capital under the Covid-19 loan scheme which opened in March 2020; the number of such businesses that have been sanctioned financing to date; and the value of same. [5832/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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I announced the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme (WCS) on 11 March and it opened for eligibility applications on 23 March. The scheme is offered by my Department in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and is supported by the InnovFin SME Guarantee facility. The scheme is operated by the SBCI.

It currently makes available a fund of up to €200 m to eligible businesses that have been negatively affected by impacts arising from the outbreak of Covid-19 to enable those businesses to innovate, change or adapt in response to the current business environment. Following my further announcement on April 8 this Scheme is now being expanded to make available an additional €250 million in lending, which will bring the total amount of lending available under this Scheme to €450 million.

The Scheme is open to eligible SMEs and small mid-caps (businesses of up to 499 employees) negatively impacted by Covid-19. Loans under the Scheme range from €25,000 to €1.5m and are for periods of up to three years. The maximum interest rate under the scheme is 4% and loans of up to €500,000 are available unsecured.

The Scheme features a two-stage application process. Businesses must first confirm their eligibility with the SBCI. Successful applicants will be issued an eligibility reference number, which they can then use to apply for a loan with one of the participating finance providers. Approval of loans is subject to the finance providers’ own credit policies and procedures.

Up to 4th May, there has been a total of 2,127 applications received to the COVID-19 WCS, of which 1,834 candidates were eligible, 9 ineligible and 284 applications are currently in process. Of the total approved, 299 were from food businesses. Of those sanctioned loans, 24 were to food businesses to a total value of €3.2m.

As expected, there is lag in seeing the volume of eligibility applications being translated into loan approvals. This is because the eligibility application and the loan approval are sequential, and there is due diligence required in assessing loans which does take time. However, the ramp up in loans being processed is now becoming more visible with 100 of the 156 loans approved under this scheme approved in the two weeks up to 4th May.

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