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Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme

A scheme to fund working capital requirements or to fund innovation, change or adaptation of the business to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

The SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme is offered in partnership with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and is supported by the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.

The loans are available through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Approval of loans are subject to the bank's own credit policies and procedures. It should be noted that businesses cannot complete a loan application until they have received their eligibility letter from the SBCI.

The SME/small mid-cap must first complete the Eligibility Application Form to check if they are eligible to apply to the bank(s) for a loan under the scheme.

If an SME/small mid-cap is eligible they will receive a letter of confirmation from the SBCI, which they then present to the bank(s), as part of the credit application process.

For more information on applications click here.

  • Loan amounts of between €25,000 to €1.5m per eligible enterprise (see the State Aid section below for further details)
  • Maximum interest rate of 4%
  • Loan terms ranging from one year to three years
  • Loans unsecured up to €500,000
  • Optional interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans
  • The loan amount and term is dependent on the loan purpose

  • Future working capital requirements
  • To fund innovation, change or adaptation of the business to mitigate the impact of Covid-19

  • Refinance of undertakings in financial difficulties
  • Refinance of existing debt (e.g. term loans/leases/hire purchase etc)
  • Finance of pure real estate development activity

Viable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-cap enterprises that meet the eligibility criteria.

SMEs are defined by the Standard EU definition [Commission Regulation 2003/361/EC] as enterprises that:

  • have fewer than 250 employees
  • have a turnover of €50 million or less (or €43 million or less on their balance sheet)
  • are independent and autonomous i.e. not part of a wider group of enterprises
  • have less than 25% of their capital held by public bodies
  • is established and operating in the Republic of Ireland

A small mid-cap is an enterprise that is not an SME but has fewer than 500 employees.

Businesses that cannot apply for this product include those that:

  • are involved in the primary agriculture and/or aquaculture sector
  • are in financial difficulty (excluding cashflow pressures caused by Covid-19 impact)
  • are bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by courts
  • in the last five years have entered in to an arrangement with creditors, in the context of being bankrupt or wound-up or having its affairs administered by the courts
  • are convicted of an offence concerning professional misconduct by judgement, fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the European Union’s financial interests

SMEs/small mid-caps must satisfy the Covid-19 criterion and one of the innovation criteria:

Covid-19 Criterion

The business is impacted by the Covid-19 virus resulting in business turnover or profitability being negatively impacted by a minimum of 15.

Innovation Criteria (choose one of the following criteria)

Please note that an up-to-date business plan will be required to be provided to the finance provider(s) in all cases when applying for a loan.

1. At least 80% of the scheme loan will be spent on research and innovation activities associated with your response to the Covid-19 challenge with the remainder on costs necessary to enable such activities.

Evidence required from applicant: The business plan given to the finance provider must reflect the details of the expenditures and activities to be undertaken.

2. You intend to enter a new product or geographical market, and the required investment is higher than 50% of average annual turnover in the preceding five years.

Evidence required from applicant: The business plan given to the finance provider must reflect details of the expenditures.

3. You will have registered at least one technology right in the last 24 months and the purpose of the loan is to enable use of this technology right.

Evidence required from applicant: Evidence of technology right, e.g. patent, utility model, design right, protection certificates.

4. You are an SME and research and innovation costs represent at least 10% of total operating costs in at least one of the last three years preceding this application, or in the case where there is no financial history, as per current financial statements.

Evidence required from applicant: Costs to be certified by an accountant practising in the Republic of Ireland.

5. You are a small mid-cap and research and innovation costs represent either:

a. at least 15% of total operating costs in at least one of the three years preceding this application or

b. at least 10% per year of total operating costs in the three years preceding this application

Evidence required from applicant: Costs to be certified by an accountant practising in Republic of Ireland.

6. You have been awarded a research and development or an innovation prize by an EU institution or EU body over the last 24 months.

Evidence required from applicant: Appropriate evidence of prize.

7. You have received a grant, loan or guarantee from a European research and innovation scheme (e.g. Horizon 2020 or FP7) or regional/national research or innovation support scheme in the last three years, and are confirming that the loan is not covering the same expense.

Evidence required from applicant: Appropriate evidence of the grant, loan or guarantee.

8. You are an early stage SME and have received an investment over the last 24 months from a venture capital investor or business angel.

Evidence required from applicant: Appropriate evidence of the investment to be provided.

9. You intend to use the loan to invest in producing, developing or implementing new or substantially improved products, processes or services or production or delivery methods (including business models) that are innovative, and where there is a risk of technological, industrial or business failure as evidenced by an external expert.

Evidence required from applicant: The business plan must demonstrate those risks of failure and evaluated by an external expert, e.g. an accountant, engineer, the finance provider.

10. You are a “fast-growing enterprise” operating for less than 12 years with an average annualised employee or turnover growth greater than 20% a year, over a three-year period and with ten or more employees at the beginning of that period.

Evidence required from applicant: Evidence to be certified by an accountant practising in Republic of Ireland.

11. You are operating in a market for less than seven years and research and innovation costs represent at least 5% of total operating costs in at least one of the three years preceding the loan application or in the case of an enterprise (and particularly a startup) without any financial history, according to current financial statements.

Evidence required from applicant: Costs to be certified by an accountant practicing in Republic of Ireland.

Loans in this scheme are subject to the de minimis State aid threshold of €200,000 per undertaking received in the last three year fiscal period – i.e. the current year and the previous two years. The total amount of de minimis aid given to a single recipient performing road freight transport for hire or reward cannot exceed €100,000 over a three year fiscal period. If an enterprise has received State aid during this period it may not be able to avail of the maximum loan amount of €1,500,000 but may be able to avail of a lower loan level. For example, if an undertaking has received a grant of €160,000 during the preceding three year fiscal period and then applies for a three-year loan of €700,000 under the scheme, it would incur an amount of €44,800 of State aid thereby exceeding the €200,000 State aid threshold. Options for the undertaking would be to reduce either the amount or the term of the loan being sought. To identify the amount of state aid incurred for each loan amount and term, see the State Aid Matrix here.

How do I know what other State aid I have received?

If you have received aid granted by a member state or through state resources and are unsure of the amount of state aid that may have arisen from receipt of that aid, please contact the aid provider directly to confirm.

The following banks are offering SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loans:

SBCI COVID-19 WORKING CAPITAL LOAN SCHEME BUSINESS PLAN GUIDANCE

You must provide a separate business plan when applying for a loan under the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme. The requirement for a business plan under the scheme is to assist you in reviewing your business and to plan for Covid-19 and future business strategies.

The template below sets out the suggested headings to be used in the preparation of your business plan and the content required. The level of detail will be determined by the complexity of your business, the level of finance being sought and the finance provider’s prior knowledge of you and your business. Complex businesses with multiple products and outlets would require more detailed plans than less complex businesses and where the applicant is well known to the financial provider.

To assist in determining the level of detail that you should include, the headings have been presented in the form of core and optional sections with the core sections set out in bold type. The core sections must be completed for loans <€150K. All sections should be completed for loans >€150K.

1. Executive summary
  • Outline the amount of the loan being requested and its purpose. The purpose of the loan must be Covid-19 related.
  • Provide details on how the loan will be used to help your business prepare for or react to Covid-19. If you indicate in the eligibility assessment, that one the following innovation criteria applies, these details should also be included in this section:

1. At least 80% of the scheme loan will be spent on research and innovation activities with the remainder on costs necessary to enable such activities. Detail the expenditures and activities to be undertaken that meet this criterion.

2. Detail the risks of failure and the expenditures and activities to be undertaken.

2. The business - brief description of the business

History of the business, key milestones. Goals and overall strategy of the business.

3. Products, services, customers & marketing - describe the key products or services

Describe each product in terms of life cycle, target customers, geographical split of sales, distribution channels, marketing.

4. Financial information - latest financial accounts

Details of the business’s funding (loans, security, finance providers).

You can print the SBCI business plan here.

The personal data that we obtain about you:

Personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. This includes data which either by itself or with other data held by us or available to us, can be used to identify you or other people. Your personal data comprises personal information and financial information relating to your business (the "Applicant") that we have obtained from you. We collect your personal data directly from you and we may also obtain it indirectly from other sources, including from lenders ("Financial Intermediaries") that are participating in the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme (the "Loan Scheme"). The SBCI will act as data controller in relation to personal data you provide directly to us.

Personal data also includes special categories of personal data. We do not usually ask you for this type of information nor do we obtain it from third party sources. The exception is data concerning your health - this may be processed if you volunteer this information to us or to Financial Intermediaries for instance, if you tell us that you are unable to meet repayments because you have a health condition. Personal data also includes data relating to criminal convictions and offence details and we may process these if fraud prevention checks reveal a fraud or if we identify a fraud in relation to your application.

What we may use and process your personal data for and the relevant legal basis:

We are required by data protection law to indicate to you the legal basis which relates to our use and processing of your personal data. This may include (as relevant):

  • Processing that is necessary for performance of a contract or in relation to preparatory steps prior to entering into a contract: for example, completing this Application Form is necessary for the Applicant to be deemed eligible for the Loan Scheme. In particular, your personal data (including name, contact details, address and Eircode, and registration number) will be processed for the purposes of assessing the eligibility of your business for participation in the Loan Scheme. Providing personal data to the SBCI for this purpose is a contractual requirement in order to assess the Applicant’s eligibility for the Loan Scheme. Personal data provided as part of your application may also be processed in the context of the guarantee agreement in place between the SBCI and the relevant Financial Intermediary, if your application for participation in the Loan Scheme is successful. The SBCI will also use your contact details for the purposes of communicating with you in relation to your application and for connected purposes.
  • Processing that is necessary to comply with a legal obligation: (other than a contractual obligation) – such as: (a) to process your request for information or when you exercise your rights against us under data protection law; (b) for compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, including certain requirements to retain records; (c) for establishment and defence of legal rights; (d) for activities relating to the prevention, detection and investigation of crime; (e) to verify identity/ies including under anti-money laundering legislation; (f) to submit information and reports to Government Departments and/or EU institutions.
  • Processing that is based on your freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous consent: in limited circumstances we may rely on your consent to process personal data such as where consent is provided to participate in certain promotional activities in connection with the Loan Scheme and in relation to publication of your personal data (including your name, address and type of financial support provided on the European Investment Fund website in relation to loans above a certain amount). You are entitled to withdraw your consent at any time using the contact details below.

In relation to publication of your personal data or details of your business by the EIF on its website or in press releases, you may object to such publication by notifying the SBCI in writing (see contact details below) for any of the following reasons:

(i) where publication would risk harming the commercial interests of your business;

(ii) where publication risks threatening the rights and freedoms of individuals concerned as protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

(iii) where publication would be illegal under the applicable laws and regulations; or

(iv) where the applicant is a natural person (i.e. not a corporate or legal entity).

  • Processing that is necessary for legitimate interests: while the SBCI will not rely on its own legitimate interests as a lawful basis for the processing of personal data, personal data provided by the Applicant may be processed by other parties, such as Financial Intermediaries participating in the Loan Scheme for purposes such as: (a) fraud prevention and security purposes; (b) for management of business operations including auditing; (c) for market research and analysis including developing statistics (personal data may be anonymised prior to this – see below); and (d) to administer your loan account and to provide customer service and support functions including by website and or telephone; (e) for direct marketing (subject always to your consent, where that is required).

Eligibility checking:

The primary purpose for which we use your personal data is to assess your eligibility for participation in the Loan Scheme. This requires an assessment to be carried out by the SBCI to determine whether the Applicant meets the following criteria:

(i) the Covid-19 related criterion

(ii) the innovation criteria; and

(iii) the State aid criteria.

Your personal data and other information you submit in the Application Form may be processed automatically. However, any final decision about whether you are eligible for the Loan Scheme will [always] involve human decision-making.

Disclosing personal data to other parties:

The SBCI may disclose personal data provided by you to third parties including the following: (a) Financial Intermediaries, participating in the Loan Scheme, including for the purpose of confirming your eligibility; (b) Government Departments including the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, both of which are partners in the Loan Scheme, including for reporting purposes and in response to parliamentary questions; (c) the European Investment Fund (“EIF”) and its agents, the European Investment Bank (“EIB”), the European Court of Auditors, the European Commission (the “Commission”) and its agents including the European Anti-Fraud Office, other European Union institutions or bodies and body which are authorised by applicable law to carry out audit and control activities. Such personal data may be held for a period of 7 years after the later of (i) the termination of the relevant agreement between the SBCI and the European Investment Fund or (ii) 30 June 2022. (d) we may share your personal data with our professional advisors and our auditors; (e) regulatory authorities, government agencies if required to do so by law or where we are required to do so in response to requests from all such bodies; and (f) to our service providers (including the NTMA) who act as data processors on our behalf.

Retention period or criteria used to determine the retention period:

We will keep your personal data for as long as we need it to fulfil the purposes for which it was collected (see above). We will keep certain personal data after that in order to comply with legal and regulatory requirements. The criteria we use to determine data retention periods for personal data include the following:

  • Retention for duration of participation in Loan Scheme. Personal data provided with your Application Form will be retained by the SBCI for the duration of the Applicant’s participation in the Loan Scheme and for a period of seven years thereafter (this shall include for example if your application is approved by the SBCI but the relevant Financial Intermediary denies a loan application and/or if your business fails to draw down any approved loan facility).
  • Retention in case of claims. If the Scheme eligibility of your application is unsuccessful, any personal data contained in your application will be retained for a period of one year.
  • Retention in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements. We will retain your personal data after the periods described above as necessary in order to comply with our regulatory compliance obligations.

If you would like further information about our data retention practices you can ask for this at any time (contact details below).

Transfers outside the EEA:

We will not in the normal course transfer your personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA) save in exceptional circumstances and in all such cases appropriate safeguards shall be put in place to protect your personal data when it is outside the EEA. Such safeguards may include the Standard Data Protection Clauses (also known as EU Model Clauses). You can find out what these are here:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/international-transfers/transfer/index_en.htm.

Transfers may also happen based on the US Privacy Shield. Details here: https://www.privacyshield.gov/welcome.

You can contact us for a copy of EU Model Clauses.

Your rights under applicable data protection law:

There are various rights under data protection law and these will not always be relevant to you. We have described below what the rights are but please do be aware that they will not be engaged in all circumstances. If you wish to exercise any of these rights please contact us (details below).

  • The right to obtain access to personal data that we hold about you and certain prescribed information about how we process it. The purpose of this right is to enable you to obtain confirmation that your data is being processed, to gain access to your personal data, and to other supplementary information about how it is processed. This is to ensure you can be aware of and can verify the lawfulness of the processing relating to your personal data.
  • The right to obtain from us without undue delay the rectification of inaccurate personal data concerning yourself and to have incomplete personal data completed in certain circumstances.
  • The right to obtain from us the erasure of personal data concerning yourself without undue delay in certain circumstances (also known as the “right to be forgotten”). This right is not absolute – it applies only in particular circumstances and where it does not apply any request for erasure will be rejected. Circumstances when it might apply include where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected/processed, when consent is withdrawn (if relevant), when the individual objects to processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing, if the personal data is unlawfully processed, or if the personal data has to be erased to comply with a legal obligation. Erasure requests will be refused where it is lawful and permitted under data protection law such as where the personal data has to be retained to comply with legal obligations or to exercise or defend legal claims.
  • The right to obtain the restriction of processing of your personal data may be relevant if you contest the accuracy of your personal data and its accuracy is being verified; when the processing is unlawful and you request that use of the personal data is restricted and where you do not want erasure instead; or when we no longer need to process the personal data but you require the personal data to be retained in case of future legal claims.
  • The right to data portability where the personal data is processed by us based on a consent or based on a contract and by automated means (as relevant). This right allows individuals to have their personal data transferred to another controller where it is technically feasible to do so.
  • Rights relating to automated decision making about you including profiling (as relevant) if this has a legal or other significant effect on you as an individual – this right allows individuals in certain circumstances to access certain safeguards against the risk that a potentially damaging decision is taken without human intervention.

Your rights where data is transferred to the EIF, EIB or the European Commission:

Should you wish to exercise your right to verify, correct, delete or otherwise modify personal data relating to that held by the EIF, the EIB or the Commission please address your request to the following:

Your right to lodge a complaint:

You have the right to lodge a complaint with the data protection supervisory authority in Ireland, which is the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. For more information visit: website: www.dataprotection.ie

  • EIF: Attention of EIF Data Protection Officer, European Investment Fund, 37B avenue J.F. Kennedy, L-2968 Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • EIB: Attention of EIB Data Protection Officer, European Investment Bank, 88-100, boulevard Konrad Adenauer, L-2950, Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • European Commission: Attention of Data Protection Officer, European Data Protection Supervisor, Rue Wiertz 60, B 1047 Brussels, Belgium. By email:edps@edps.europ.

Contact Us

If you have questions or queries about this data protection notice you can contact the SBCI Data Protection Officer at the details below:

SBCI: Attention of SBCI Data Protection Officer
Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland
Treasury Dock
North Wall Quay
Dublin 1
D01 A9T8

See link below

NACE Codes

“Aid” means state and/or Commission funding which, but for an exemption granted pursuant to regulations adopted by the EU Commission (including but not limited to the De Minimis Regulation), meets the criteria in Article 107(1) of the Treaty on European Union.

"Commission" means the Commission of the European Union.

"Customer is used to refer to the SME or small mid-cap borrower.

"DAFM" means the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

"DBEI" means the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

"EIB" means the European Investment Bank.

"EIF" means the European Investment Fund.

"Facility" means the debt facility offered to the Customer.

"Finance Documents" means the documents entered into in connection with the Facility.

"Non-Co-Operative Jurisdiction" means any jurisdiction that does not cooperate with the European Union in relation to the application of internationally agreed tax standards (i.e. any jurisdiction classified as "non-compliant" by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, from time to time, unless otherwise notified by the EIR.

"Pre-Eligibility Application Form" means in respect of each Facility, the completed pre-eligibility application form as delivered by the Customer to the SBCI.

"SBCI" means the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

"SBCI Scheme" means the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme.

"SME" means a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise which employs fewer than 250 persons and has an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million. (See commission recommendation 2003/361/EC for further details)

The borrower must comply with the following:

  • It is an SME or small mid-cap
  • It is not active in any sector in Ireland outside the scope of the SBCI Scheme including, without limitation, the agricultural sector and/or fishery and aqua-cultural sector
  • It does not have a substantial focus on one or more restricted sectors listed in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 964/2014. (https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/881394aa-3a40-11e4-8c3c-01aa75ed71a1/language-en)
  • It is not established in a Non-Co-Operative Jurisdiction (meaning a jurisdiction that does not cooperate with the European Union in relation to the application of internationally agreed tax standards)
  • It is established and operating in Ireland
  • It has not received loans under the SBCI Scheme of more than €1,500,000 in aggregate
  • It has not received, including under the applicable facility, aid in excess of what is permitted under the De Minimis Regulation
  • It is not delinquent or in default under any agreement with the bank or another financial institution (save as may be agreed with the bank at its entire discretion)
  • It is not bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by the courts
  • It has not been convicted of an offence or subject to a ruling concerning professional conduct, fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the the European Union's financial interests. It is not performing, and shall not perform, illegal activities according to to applicable legislation in the country of the SBCI, the bank or the customer (including national, Union and international legislation, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights and its Supplementary Protocols)

The customer must not use the loan proceeds for any of the following:

  • Refinancing of existing debt owed by it
  • Financing of specific export operations or current expenditure linked to the export activity, including, for the avoidance of doubt, trade finance products
  • Financing contingent upon the use of domestic products over imported products over imported products
  • Financing the establishment and operation of a distribution network in other Member States of the European Union
  • Financing the purchase of road freight transport vehicles

The customer must confirm that, as at the date of the contractual documents relating to the facility entered into by the customer, it satisfies the eligibility criteria for the SBCI Scheme and that it undertakes to procure that it shall at all times comply with those eligibility criteria.

The customer undertakes to confirm the amount of aid received by it and the amount of aid receivable by it under the facility, in each case in respect of aid under the De Minimis Regulation and if the customer receives, under the SBCI Scheme or otherwise, aid in excess of what that customer is permitted to receive by law, the customer shall return to the bank for the onward transmission to the SBCI any such excess aid received under the SBCI Scheme in breach of law together with any other amount due in respect of that aid immediately upon: (i) the customer becoming aware of such excess receipt; and/or (ii) the bank notifying the customer of same; and

The customer undertakes to maintain and be able to produce all documentation related to any information supplied in connection with the facility for a period of seven (7) years after the termination of the SBCI Scheme.

Eligibility applications for the Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme are now being accepted through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie

Businesses may also wish to consider if one of the existing supports already in place could assist. These are the Credit Guarantee Scheme and the Brexit Loan Scheme. Both of these schemes support lending through the provision of an 80% Government Guarantee for qualifying businesses.

Working capital is a measure of the short-term liquidity of a business, finances and day-to-day running of a business. This includes cashflow for operational purposes.

Viable micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-cap enterprises that meet the eligibility criteria.

SMEs are defined by the Standard EU definition [Commission Regulation 2003/361/EC] as enterprises that:

  • have fewer than 250 employees
  • have a turnover of €50 million or less (or €43 million or less on their balance sheet)
  • are independent and autonomous i.e. not part of a wider group of enterprises
  • have less than 25% of their capital held by public bodies
  • is established and operating in the Republic of Ireland

A small mid-cap is an enterprise that is not an SME but has fewer than 500 employees.

Business with up to 499 employees can apply for eligibility to the scheme.

SMEs/small mid-caps that:

  • are involved in the primary agriculture and/or aquaculture sector
  • are in financial difficulty (excluding cashflow pressures caused by Covid-19 virus impact)
  • are bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by courts
  • in the last five years have entered in to an arrangement with creditors, in the context of being bankrupt or wound-up or having its affairs administered by the courts
  • are convicted of an offence concerning professional misconduct by judgement, fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the European Union’s financial interests

Loans of €25,000 up to €1.5 million can be applied for under the scheme.

For loans of up to €500k no security is required.

The interest rate charged on these loans is at the discretion of the participating banks but is limited at a maximum of 4%. The interest rate is fixed for the period of the loan.

Loans will be up for periods of up to three years in duration.

While there is no prescribed closing date for the scheme at present, applicants are urged to avail of this finance as soon as possible in the context of their business needs.

Depending on your previous and planned activities, there are different ways for which your businesses may meet one of the 11 innovation criteria for the Covid-19 scheme, including:

  • Your business has been active in innovation in the past (Criteria 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,11) you are considered an innovative business (Criteria 8, 10)
  • Your business is seeking to enter new markets (Criteria 2);
  • Your business wants to access finance in order to produce, or develop, or implement, new or significantly improved products or business processes (Criteria 9) or to undertake research and innovation activities associated with your response to the Covid-19 challenge (Criteria 1)

It is noted that in a similar scheme operated by the SBCI for Brexit-impacted businesses, of the applications to date for eligibility to that scheme, less than 1% have been declined due to not meeting the innovation criteria.

The term "innovation" has a broad definition. In applying to the scheme, businesses should take the meaning of innovation in the broad sense and not be limited to considering innovation as only technology-based or R&D-based. Rather businesses should also consider innovations in the context of adaptions, changes and developments they have made/plan to make across their products (goods and services) and also their business processes (such as distribution and logistics, marketing, sales, and after-sales services; information and communication technology (ICT) services to the business, administrative and management functions, engineering and related technical services to the business, and product and business process development).

There will be a two-step process to apply for a loan:

  1. Confirm your eligibility by completing the Eligibility Application Form. You will receive an eligibility letter if your application is successful. This eligibility letter is not a guarantee of loan approval.
  2. Once you receive confirmation that you are eligible, engage with the bank(s) to begin their standard loan application process. It is only at this stage that a decision will be made on credit approval.

As part of the application process, applicants must submit a business plan demonstrating the means by which they intend to innovate, change or adapt in response to this new challenge. However, this process has been made as straightforward as possible and is not onerous.

While eligibility codes remain valid for six months, in order to manage demand for the scheme, applicants are asked to apply for loans as soon as practicable in the context of their business needs.

If a business decides not to proceed with a loan application please inform applications@bls.sbci.gov.ie.

State aid is the term used for support given to an entity (business) engaged in economic activity using state funds that could potentially distort competition and affect trade between member states, and is generally prohibited because of its anticompetitive nature. The De Minimis Regulation is an EU mechanism to provide small amounts of aid, which is considered to have no effect on trade and therefore not State aid.

A single entity (business) can receive de minimis aid up to a €200,000 threshold over a three year period from a number of sources. The threshold for a road freight transport business is €100,000. For loans under this scheme, the amount of de minimis aid provided to a borrower is calculated based on the size and duration of the loan and the difference between the interest rate charged and the current commercial interest rate.

You will be required to self-declare if you have received de minimus aid in the previous three years. If you have received de minimus aid from other state bodies such as Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia or your Local Enterprise Office (LEO), this will be referred to in the grant letters you receive.

Please refer back to the SBCI website on a regular basis.

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SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme