Supports for Waterford businesses hit by Covid-19 emergency unveiled
A major expansion of supports for businesses impacted by Covid-19 will be of huge benefit to Waterford during the current emergency, newly elected local Senator John Cummins said.
Senator Cummins was speaking after the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, announced that a package worth €1 billion in liquidity measures which will be made available to businesses.
An additional €450m of lending will be provided through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) for SMEs in all sectors including agri-food, which will provide liquidity for firms.
It brings the total SBCI Covid-19 lending capacity to €650 million, with loans being made available through the main banks.
“These measures are in addition to the €150m of funding capacity in the Government’s Credit Guarantee Scheme, which I would encourage businesses in Waterford to avail of,” Senator Cummins said.
In the manufacturing and international services sectors, which employ over 460,000 people in Ireland, a new Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180m has also been announced. This is aimed at all firms with 10 or more employees impacted by COVID-19.
The fund will be operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules and should see up to €500m of additional investment in vulnerable but viable firms. These grants will only be repayable if and when a business returns to financial good health.
Senator Cummins (pictured below) added: “With regard to small businesses with under 10 employees, an additional €30 million will be made available through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). Microfinance Ireland (MFI), which is administering special COVID-19 Loans, will receive an additional €13 million in capital support bringing its total lending capacity up to €20 million for the coming period.
“Minister Humphries has also increased support for two trading online initiatives to a total of €7.6 million – the first for small businesses in partnership with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, and the second for retailers with over 10 employees. These supports will help businesses sell their products online at a time when so many retail outlets remain closed and require a much needed boost in revenue.”
Commenting on the package of supports, Minister Humphreys said: “The impact of COVID-19 presents unprecedented difficulties for businesses who have already spent the past three years preparing for the possible consequences of Brexit, but those preparations will stand to us. I want to reiterate to firms that we will continue to use all available tools at our disposal to support them and keep money flowing through the economy in the difficult months ahead.”
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, added: “This package of measures being announced today is designed to offer supports to businesses of all hues, from start-ups to more established companies. It is vital that traders examine what is on offer, apply for schemes and loans, many of which are available at reduced rates, to give themselves the best chance of survival during this difficult time.”