We know that many of the small businesses we have had the pleasure of working with over the past decade are currently suffering and we thought it important to let you know that the Government has introduced a number of measures and a Rapid Response funding scheme, aimed at stabilising the situation to some extent.
How can these people, who have unfairly found themselves in such an unenviable position recover and savour what they have been building through hard work and labour for a long time? RIKON might not have all the answers at this point in time, but we have always taken pride in providing help to the smaller enterprises to grow and succeed. This time is no different, except the focus is on survival, rather than growth.
Let’s take a look at some key financial support options that available for the SMEs:
- COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. A temporary wage subsidy of 70% up to a maximum weekly tax-free amount of €410 to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax. Workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week. It is closely aligned with the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
- Credit Guarantee Scheme. A government supported product from the banks for small and medium businesses who have difficulty borrowing from their bank. Businesses can apply for loans of up to €1 million at AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank. Loans can be for terms of up to 7 years. The scheme provides an 80% guarantee to participating banks which are AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.
- Business Continuity Voucher. Available through Local Enterprise Office, the scheme is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Online Trading Voucher. Designed to help businesses located in Waterford City and County with less than 10 employees and turnover of less than €2m, this scheme provides IT consultation, development of e-commerce functionality, purchase of Internet-related software, implementation of digital marketing strategy and much more. Delivered in a form of matched funding with the maximum amount payable of €2,500 or 50% of the eligible cost.
- COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Made available to employees and the self-employed who have lost their job on (or after) March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this initiative provides payments of €350 per week.
- COVID-19 Business Loan. Businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in their profits, and who are having difficulty in accessing finance from commercial lending providers, this scheme is a viable option. Ranging from €5,000 to €50,000, loan terms are typically up to 3 years, with first 6 months being interest and repayment free.
- Business advice by Local Enterprise Offices. The South East Local Enterprise Office Network of Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford offer 30-minute virtual consultations with HR, finance, digital and general business mentors. This is a confidential service and is open to all businesses.
- EI Virtual Mentoring Support. Similarly to the above-mentioned expert business support from LEO, Enterprise Ireland offers their assistance by providing a business mentor, which can assist businesses that employ between 10 and 249 people. Scheme is completely free.
- Webinar series by Local Enterprise Office. Series of online webinars covering the topics of remote work, emotional wellness, communications with clients, and management of remote working team. Make sure to book your place in advance.
- COVID19 Workplace Protection and Improvement. Grant aid for companies that need support in management team consultancy or training for staff. Support is provided by agencies in a form of 2.5 days of consultancy, worth €900 per day. Maximum support sum is €2,500.
This is not a complete list of supports. For more information please contact your Local Enterprise Office or Enterprise Ireland, who are working hard to make sure that companies are being looked after at this highly uncertain time. It is important to mention that RIKON are also very much open to helping your business directly or by assisting with access to appropriate grants above. Please feel free to submit your details in the application form below and we will contact you shortly to discuss how we can help your business. It is important to look after each other at a time like this and there is no doubt we will make it through together, as a community. Please stay safe.