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Future Growth Loan Scheme

A long-term, lower-cost loan scheme for SMEs and small mid-caps or SMEs involved in agriculture or fishing.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme is a long-term loan (7-10 years) that is offered by the SBCI with the support of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund (EIF).

The Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS) benefits from a guarantee from the European Union under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The Future Growth Loan scheme was delivered to the market by the SBCI in June 2019. The capacity of the Future Growth Loan Scheme has now been increased by up to €500m which will be made available through a number of financial providers in the coming months. The Scheme is supported by the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. To date, there has been very strong demand from SMEs and farmers for the longer-term, lower-cost finance.

Please note: Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank are now accepting loan applications for the Scheme from businesses meeting SBCI eligibility. The SBCI is actively engaged with three other financial providers who responded to the open call and hopes to announce them as scheme partners in the coming weeks. Businesses are advised to check the SBCI website for up to date information in relation to participating financial providers.

Step 1 – The applicant must first submit an Eligibility Application Form to the SBCI to check if it is eligible for the scheme. If the SBCI determines that the applicant is eligible, the applicant will be notified in writing and will be supplied with an eligibility code.

Step 2 – The applicant must provide this eligibility confirmation letter/code to the relevant financial institution when applying for a loan.

Step 3 – The applicant can submit their credit application with the eligible code to the following on-lenders: AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and KBC (existing scheme). The SBCI is actively engaged with two other financial providers who responded to the open call and hopes to announce them as scheme partners in the coming weeks. Businesses are advised to check the SBCI website for up to date information in relation to participating financial providers.

It is intended that the FGLS will be available for a three-year period or until the scheme has been fully subscribed.

For more information on applications click here

  • Loan amounts from €25,000 to a maximum of €3,000,000 per eligible applicant
  • Initial maximum loan interest rate of 4.5% for loans < €250,000 and 3.5% for loans >= €250,000. Variable interest rates are subject to change
  • Loan terms range from 7 to 10 years
  • Loans unsecured up to €500,000
  • Optional interest-only repayments available in certain circumstances
  • An “applicant” is an SME or small mid-cap that applies for a loan under the FGLS
  • Applicants for loans greater than €250,000 must submit a business plan to the relevant financial provider

Loans can be used for long-term investment.

Applicants must choose one of the below loan purposes:

  • Investment in machinery or equipment
  • Investment in research and development
  • Investment in business expansion
  • Investment in premises improvement
  • Investment in process innovation
  • Investment in people and/or systems

  • Finance of specific export operations, or finance contingent upon the use of domestic over imported products. In particular, it should not apply to financing the establishment and operation of a distribution network in other States, or current expenditure linked to the export activity
  • Finance of pure real estate development activity
  • Finance of activities constituting pure financial transactions (e.g. purchase of shares)
  • Loans to undertakings in difficulty
  • Finance of activities forbidden by national or EU law
  • Primary Agriculture (see specific FGLS SME Agriculture Customers section)
  • Refinance to reschedule existing loan or completed project
  • Aid for the acquisition of road freight transport vehicles by undertakings performing road freight transport for hire or reward

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

An SME is defined by the Standard EU definition [Commission Regulation 2003/361/EC] as an enterprise that:

  • has fewer than 250 employees
  • has a turnover of €50 million or less (or €43 million or less on their balance sheet)
  • is independent and autonomous i.e. not part of a wider group of enterprises
  • has 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.

An SME or small mid-cap that:

  • is in financial difficulty
  • is bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by the courts
  • in the last five years has entered into an arrangement with creditors, in the context of being bankrupt or wound-up or having its affairs administered by the courts
  • is 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

The provision of funding for these loans is being made under the De Minimis Regulations, which permit the provision of State aid. SMEs may avail of de minimis aid provided it does not exceed €200,000 in any three-year fiscal period. In the case of certain loans, State aid may arise by virtue of the discounted interest rate received by the SME on SBCI loans, and if so, the SME will be advised. It is important to note that the aid is not the amount of the loan.

See Regulation for further details.

See link below

FGLS NACE Codes

SBCI Future Growth Loan Scheme Business Plan Guidance

For loans of €250,000 or more

You must provide a separate Business Plan when applying for a loan under the Future Growth Loan Scheme for loans of €250,000 or more. The requirement for a business plan under the scheme is to assist you in reviewing your business and to plan for future business strategies.

The template below sets out the suggested headings to be used in the preparation of your business plan and the content. 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. However, all sections should be completed.

1. Executive summary

  • Outline the amount of the loan being requested and its purpose. The purpose of the loan must be ‘investment’ related.
  • Provide details on how the loan will be used.
  1. 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. Detail the risks of failure and the expenditures and activities to be undertaken that meet this criterion.

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. Staff details

Set out employee numbers by broad function. Senior management team and key personnel.

5. Legal status

Legal structure of the business e.g. limited company, sole trader, partnership etc.

6. Names of advisers

Name of accountant

Other advisers relevant to the business e.g. solicitors, engineers etc.

7. Suppliers

Principal suppliers and what products and/or services they provide. Details of terms of trade (not necessary if well known to the finance provider).

8. Business assets (premises and equipment)

Location of business premises including value, debt, etc.

If premises are rented, detail the amount and lease details. Key equipment used for the business, detailing its value and how it is funded.

9. Business risks and response to risks

List the key risks affecting the business and how it responds to those

List key competitors and business position relative to them. Consider SWOT analysis of the business.

What are the economic conditions the business is facing?

Is the business exposed to other risks e.g. foreign exchange or interest rate fluctuations?

10. Financial information

Latest financial accounts

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

You can print the SBCI business plan HERE.

Step 1 – The applicant must first submit an Eligibility Application Form to the SBCI to check if it is eligible for the scheme. If the SBCI determines that the applicant is eligible, the applicant will be notified in writing and will be supplied with an eligibility code.

Step 2 – The applicant must provide this eligibility confirmation letter/code to the relevant financial institution when applying for a loan.

Step 3 – The applicant must submit their credit application with the eligible code to the following on-lenders: AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. The SBCI is actively engaged with two other financial providers who responded to the open call and hopes to announce them as scheme partners in the coming weeks. Businesses are advised to check the SBCI website for up to date information in relation to participating financial providers.

It is intended that the FGLS will be available for a three-year period or until the scheme has been fully subscribed.

For more information on applications click here

  • Loan amounts from €25,000 to a maximum of €3,000,000 per applicant
  • Initial maximum loan interest rate of 4.5% for loans < €250,000 and 3.5% for loans >= €250,000. Variable interest rates are subject to change
  • Loan terms range from 7 to 10 years
  • Loans unsecured up to €500,000
  • Optional interest-only repayments may be made available at the start of the loans
  • An “applicant” is an SME that applies for a loan under the FGLS. Applicants for loans greater than €250,000 must submit a business plan to the relevant financial institution

Loans can be used for long-term investment in tangible or intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production. Please see example case studies here

Primary agriculture applicants must choose one of the below loan purposes:

  • The improvement of the overall performance and sustainability of the agricultural holding
  • The improvement of the natural environment, hygiene conditions or animal welfare standards, provided the investment goes beyond EU standards
  • The creation and improvement of infrastructure related to the development, adaptation and modernisation of agriculture
  • The achievement of agri-environmental-climate objectives
  • The restoration of production potential damaged by natural disasters, adverse climatic events, animal diseases, plant pests and the prevention of damages caused by those events
  • The applicant must submit a written eligibility application before work on the project or activity commences
  • The applicant must declare that the loan will be used to fund only the eligible costs applicable to the project

  • Loans to support export related activities towards third countries or other EU Member States, namely aid directly linked to the quantities exported, to the establishment and operation of a distribution network or to the other current expenditure linked to export activity
  • Loans contingent upon the use of domestic over imported goods
  • Loans to support investments required to comply with EU standards in force
  • Loans to an undertaking which is subject to an outstanding recovery order following a previous Commission Decision declaring an aid illegal and incompatible with the internal market
  • Loans to undertakings in difficulty
  • Loans to support the purchase of production rights, payment entitlements and annual plants
  • Loans to support the planting of annual plants
  • Loans to support drainage works
  • Loans to support the purchase of animals
  • Loans to acquire land

Viable micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in primary agriculture.

An SME is defined by the Standard EU definition [Commission Regulation 2003/361/EC] as an enterprise that:

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

An SME that:

  • is in financial difficulty
  • is bankrupt or being wound up, its affairs administered by courts
  • In the last five years has entered in to an arrangement in the context of being bankrupt or wound up, its affairs administered by courts
  • is 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

The provision of funding for these loans is being made under the de minimis regulations, which permit the provision of State aid. SMEs may avail of de minimis aid provided it does not exceed €200,000 in any three-year fiscal period. In the case of certain loans, State aid may arise by virtue of the discounted interest rate received by the SME on SBCI loans, and if so, the SME will be advised. It is important to note that the aid is not the amount of the loan.

See Regulations for further details.

See link below

FGLS NACE Codes

SBCI Future Growth Loan Scheme Business Plan Guidance

For loans of €250,000 or more

You must provide a separate business plan when applying for a loan under the Future Growth Loan Scheme for loans of €250,000 or more. The requirement for a business plan under the scheme is to assist you in reviewing your business and to plan for future business strategies.

The template below sets out the suggested headings to be used in the preparation of your business plan and the content. 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. However, all sections should be completed.

1. Executive summary

  • Outline the amount of the loan being requested and its purpose. The purpose of the loan must be ‘investment’ related.
  • Provide details on how the loan will be used.
  1. 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. Detail the risks of failure and the expenditures and activities to be undertaken that meet this criterion.

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. Staff details

Set out employee numbers by broad function. Senior management team and key personnel.

5. Legal status

Legal structure of the business e.g. limited company, sole trader, partnership etc.

6. Names of advisers

Name of accountant

Other advisers relevant to the business e.g. solicitors, engineers etc.

7. Suppliers

Principal suppliers and what products and/or services they provide. Details of terms of trade (not necessary if well known to the finance provider).

8. Business assets (premises and equipment)

Location of business premises including value, debt, etc.

If premises are rented, detail the amount and lease details. Key equipment used for the business, detailing its value and how it is funded.

9. Business risks and response to risks

List the key risks affecting the business and how it responds to those

List key competitors and business position relative to them. Consider SWOT analysis of the business.

What are the economic conditions the business is facing?

Is the business exposed to other risks e.g. foreign exchange or interest rate fluctuations?

10. Financial information

Latest financial accounts

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

You can print the SBCI business plan HERE.

The SBCI currently sources its funds from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). The Minister for Finance has provided a guarantee in respect of borrowings of the SBCI therefore funds it lends or obligations it guarantees can give rise to State aid and must comply with EU law governing State aid.

State aid can occur whenever State resources are provided selectively to undertakings engaged in economic activity, which confer an advantage over other undertakings. Generally, State aid is incompatible with the EC Treaty. However, the EC Treaty leaves room for a number of policy objectives for which State aid can be considered compatible.

The FGLS is offered under:

  1. The De Minimis Aid Regulations
  2. Article 14 Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation
  3. Article 17 Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation
  4. Article 17 General Block Exemption Regulation
  5. Article 29 General Block Exemption Regulation

De Minimis Aid exemption under Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013 (“De Minimis Regulations”)

The European Commission has determined that State aid given to undertakings which comply with the De Minimis Regulations has a negligible impact on trade and competition. State aid which remains below a certain ceiling, depending on sector, and otherwise complies with the De Minimis Regulations (de minimis aid) is not subject to pre-clearance with the European Commission. The maximum amount of de minimis aid any single recipient can receive is €200,000 (gross grant equivalent) over a three year fiscal period. 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. For loans, the amount of de minimis aid which is provided to a borrower (by means of a discounted interest rate) is calculated into its “gross grant equivalent” (based on the discount prevailing at the time the aid is granted)1. The de minimis aid is not equal to the total amount of the loan. Applicants for SBCI de minimis loans must be aware that such loans are provided to applicants subject to compliance with the De Minimis Regulations.

De minimis aid is cumulative. To ensure the relevant ceilings are not exceeded and the rules on cumulation are complied with, an applicant must declare any other de minimis aid covered by the Regulation or by other de minimis regulations it has received during the fiscal/calendar year concerned and the previous two years. It should be noted that a false declaration, resulting in State aid being granted in excess of the de minimis threshold, will require that excess aid needing to be recovered with interest. De minimis aid can be in the form of a grant, equity investment, guarantee or interest rate discount on a loan. De minimis aid could have been received from any State Agency, Government Department or Local Authority.

1The rate used is as specified in the Communication from the Commission on the revision of the method for setting the reference and discount rates (O) C 14, 19.1.2008, p. 6)

Examples of sources of de minimis State aid include:

  • Enterprise Ireland funding (e.g. Job Expansion Fund; Market Research Grant)
  • Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation – Credit Guarantee Scheme
  • An Bord Bia funding
  • Local Enterprise Offices (LEO)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Exclusions

Please note the following activities are excluded from SBCI loans offered under the de minimis exemption:

  • Finance of specific export operations, or finance contingent upon the use of domestic over imported products. In particular, it should not apply to financing the establishment and operation of a distribution network in other States, or current expenditure linked to the export activity.
  • Finance of pure real estate development activity;
  • Finance of activities constituting pure financial transactions (e.g. purchase of shares);
  • Loans to undertakings in difficulty;
  • Finance of activities forbidden by national or EU law;
  • Primary agriculture (see specific SBCI FGLS Agriculture Loan product below).
  • Aid for the acquisition of road freight transport vehicles by undertakings performing road freight transport for hire or reward.

This is a summary of the State aid rules and applicants are advised to seek their own State aid advice and read the applicable provisions of the relevant Regulation. Please refer to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407 2013 for full details on De Minimis State aid rules.


Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation Commission Regulation (EU) No 702/2014 (“ABER”)

State aid for the agricultural sector will be granted in accordance with Chapter 1 and Articles 14 and 17 of the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation EU (No) 702/2014. Aid shall only apply to agricultural products or production of agricultural products, and, shall be granted to SME’s active in primary agricultural production, the processing and marketing of agricultural products

Article 14 ABER

Loans for investment in tangible or intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production.

Where the loan is to support investments in tangible assets or intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production, the investment should pursue at least one of the following objectives:

  1. the improvement of the overall performance and sustainability of the agricultural holding;
  2. the improvement of the natural environment, hygiene conditions or animal welfare standards, provided the investment goes beyond EU standards;
  3. the creation and improvement of infrastructure related to the development, adaptation and modernisation of agriculture;
  4. the achievement of agri-environmental-climate objectives; and
  5. the restoration of production potential damaged by natural disasters, adverse climatic events, animal diseases, plant pests and the prevention of damages caused by those events.

Article 17 ABER

Aid for investment in tangible and intangible assets in connection with the processing and marketing of agricultural products.

Rules that apply to both Article 14 and 17 ABER

Eligible Costs and Aid intensity under Articles 14 and 17 ABER

The aid shall cover the following eligible costs:

  1. the construction, acquisition, including leasing, or improvement of immovable property;
  2. the purchase or lease purchase of machinery and equipment up to the market value of the asset;
  3. general costs linked to expenditure referred to in points (a) and (b), such as architect, engineer and consultation fees, fees relating to advice on environmental and economic sustainability, including feasibility studies; feasibility studies shall remain eligible expenditure even where, based on their results, no expenditure under in points (a) and (b) is incurred; and
  4. acquisition or development of computer software and acquisitions of patents, licenses, copyrights, trademarks.

The following costs are not eligible:

  1. costs, other than those referred to in paragraph (a) and (b) above, connected with leasing contracts, such as lessor’s margin, interest refinancing costs, overheads and insurance charges;
  2. working capital; and
  3. VAT (except where it is non-recoverable under Irish law).

The aid intensity or total aid resulting from a loan shall not exceed 40% of the amount of the eligible costs.

For the purposes of calculating aid intensity and eligible costs under this Scheme, all figures used shall be taken before any deduction of tax or other charge. The eligible costs shall be supported by documentary evidence which shall be clear, specific and contemporary.

Aid provided in the form of a discounted loan shall be discounted to its value at the moment it is granted. The eligible costs shall be discounted to their value at the moment the aid is granted. The interest rate to be used for discounting purposes shall be the discount rate applicable at the moment the aid is granted.

Exclusions under Article 14 and 17 ABER

The following activities are excluded from the FGLS:

  1. Loans to support export related activities towards third countries or other EU Member States, namely aid directly linked to the quantities exported, to the establishment and operation of a distribution network or to the other current expenditure linked to export activity;
  2. Loans contingent upon the use of domestic over imported goods;
  3. Loans to support investments required to comply with EU standards in force.
  4. Loans to an undertaking which is subject to an outstanding recovery order following a previous Commission Decision declaring an aid illegal and incompatible with the internal market;
  5. Loans to undertakings in difficulty;
  6. Loans to support the purchase of production rights, payment entitlements and annual plants;
  7. Loans to support the planting of annual plants (i.e. purchase of seed)
  8. Loans to support drainage works; and
  9. Loans to support the purchase of animals.
  10. Loans to acquire land

Maximum amount of aid payable under Articles 14 and 17 ABER

The maximum amounts of aid that may be generated through the form of discounted interest rates on loans supporting investment under the FGLS are:

  1. €500,000 per undertaking per investment project on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production.
  2. €7.5 million per undertaking per investment project in connection with the processing of agricultural products and the marketing of agricultural products.

These limits shall not be circumvented by artificially splitting up an aid project.

This is a summary of the State aid rules and applicants are advised to seek their own state aid advice and read the applicable provisions of the relevant Regulation. Please refer to Commission Regulation (EU) No 702/2014 of 25 June 2014 for full details on ABER State aid rules.

General Block Exemption Regulation Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 (“GBER”)

Article 17 GBER

FGLS loans that are offered under Article 17 must comply as follows:

The purpose of the loan is for investment in tangible or intangible assets of a business in one of the following categories:

  1. the setting up of a new establishment
  2. the extension of an existing establishment;
  3. diversification of the output of and establishment into new additional products;
  4. a fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing establishment; or
  5. the acquisition of the assets belonging to an establishment where 1) the business has closed or would have closed had it not been purchased; 2) the assets are purchased by third parties third parties unrelated to the buyer, and 3) the transaction takes place under market conditions.

Exception to requirement in 5. Where a member of family of the original owner or an employee take over a small enterprise (less than 50 employees and turnover and/or balance sheet not exceeding €10m) the sole acquisition of shares does not constitute investment.

Eligible Costs

The eligible costs shall be either or both of the following:

  1. the costs of investment in tangible or intangible assets
  2. the estimated wage costs of employment directly created by the investment project, calculated over a period of two years.

Intangible assets

Intangible assets must fulfil all of the following conditions:-

  1. they shall be used exclusively in the establishment receiving the aid;
  2. they shall be regards as amortizable assets;
  3. they shall be purchased under market conditions from third parties unrelated to the buyer;
  4. they shall be included in the assets of the undertaking for at least three years;

Wages as Eligible Costs

Employment directly created by the investment project shall fulfil the following conditions:

  1. it shall be created within three years of completion of the investment
  2. there shall be a net increase in the number of employees established compared with the average over the previous 12 months
  3. it shall be maintained during a minimum period of three years

Aid intensity

The aid intensity shall not exceed: 1) 20% of eligible costs for small enterprises (employees less than 50 employees and annual turnover/balance sheet not exceeding €10m) and 2) 10% of eligible costs for medium enterprises (employees between 50 and 249 employees with an annual turnover not exceeding €50m and or/ balance sheet not exceeding €43m).

Article 29 GBER

FGLS loans that are offered under Article 29 must comply as follows:

The purpose of the loan is for investment in the process and organisational innovation of the business.

The eligible costs shall be the following:

  1. Personnel costs
  2. Costs of instruments, equipment, buildings and land1 to the extent and for the period used for the project;
  3. Costs of contractual research, knowledge and patents bought or licensed from outside sources at arm’s length conditions;
  4. Additional overheads and other operating costs, including costs of materials, supplies and similar products, incurred directly as a result of the project.

1Land and buildings for business premises only.

The aid intensity shall not exceed 50% of the eligible costs for SMEs.

The following types of aid are excluded under GBER

  1. Aid contingent upon the use of domestic over imported goods.
  2. Aid granted in the sector of processing and marketing of agricultural products in the following cases:
    • Where the amount of aid is fixed on the basis of the price or quantity of such products purchased from primary producers or put on the market by the undertakings concerned; or
    • Where the aid is conditional on being partly or entirely passed on to primary producers
  3. Aid to export related activities towards third countries or other Member States, namely aid directly linked to the quantities exported, to the establishment and operation of a distribution network or to the other currently expenditure linked to export activity.
  1. Aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive coal mines, as covered by Council decision No. 2010/787.
  2. The categories of regional aid excluded in Article 13.
  3. Where an undertaking is active in the excluded sectors as referred to in points (c), (d) or (e) above, and in sectors which fall within the scope of this Scheme, this Scheme applies to aid granted in respect of the latter sectors or activities, provided that appropriate means, such as separation of activities or distinction of costs, are taken to ensure that the activities in the excluded sectors do not benefit from the aid granted in accordance with this Scheme
  4. Aid in favour of an undertaking which is subject to an outstanding recovery order following a previous Commission decision declaring an aid illegal and incompatible with the internal market.
  5. Aid to undertakings in difficulty.
  6. Aid where the grant of aid is subject to the obligation for the beneficiary to have its headquarters in Ireland or to be predominantly established in Ireland, although the requirement to have an establishment or branch in Ireland at the moment of payment of the aid is allowed.
  7. Aid subject to the obligation for the beneficiary to use nationally produced goods or national services.
  8. Aid which restricts the possibility for the beneficiaries to exploit the research, development and innovation results in other Member States.

This is a summary of the State aid rules and applicants are advised to seek their own State aid advice and read the applicable provisions of the relevant Regulation. Please refer to Commission Regulation (EU) (EU) No 651/2014 for full details on GBER State aid rules.

Publication and Information under FGLS (ABER and GBER)

The information (see below) referred to in this Scheme will be published on the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland’s website for each individual aid award that exceeds:

  1. €500,000 for aid granted under GBER
  2. €60,000 for aid granted to borrowers active in the primary agriculture production under ABER
  3. €500,000 for beneficiaries active in the sectors of the processing of agricultural products and the marketing of agricultural products under ABER

in accordance with State Aid transparency rules.

Please note that the State aid amounts above represent the amount of aid that may be generated through the form of discounted interest rates on loans and does not represent the loan amount. Only the aid amount is required to be published and not the size of the loan. This will be monitored on a case by case basis and is not expected to arise in many situations.

Access to the State aid website shall be allowed to any interested party without restrictions. No prior user registration shall be required to access the State aid website. The following information on individual aid award shall be published:

  1. Reference of the identification number of the aid;
  2. Name of the beneficiary;
  3. Type of enterprise (SME/Small Midcap) at the date of granting the aid;
  4. Region in which the beneficiary is located;
  5. Sector of activity at NACE group level;
  6. Aid element, expressed as full amount in national currency;
  7. Aid instrument – Interest rate subsidy
  8. Date of granting the aid;
  9. Objective of the aid – investment.
  10. Granting authority – SBCI
  11. For article 17 aid, the name of the EIF, EIB and of the financial intermediary

Incentive Effect under FGLS (ABER and GBER)

This Scheme shall apply only to aid which has an incentive effect if the aid is being offered under ABER and GBER.

Aid shall be considered to have an incentive effect if the beneficiary has submitted a written application for the aid to SBCI or its on-lenders/agents before work on the project or activity starts. The application for the aid shall contain at least the following information:

  1. Undertaking’s name and size
  2. Description of the project, including its start and end dates
  3. Location of the project
  4. List of project costs
  5. declaration of any other aid obtained for the specific project

If work begins before the applicant has submitted a written application to SBCI, the whole project will be ineligible for aid.

There is a two-step process to apply for a loan:

  1. The first step is to confirm your eligibility for the scheme by completing the Eligibility Application form available here. If your application is successful, you will receive an eligibility letter. This eligibility letter is not a guarantee of loan approval.
  2. Once you receive confirmation that you are eligible, you must then 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.

The SBCI eligibility number is valid for six months from the date of issue.

Full details of the scheme criteria are available here.

No, these loans cannot be used to refinance existing debt such as term loans, leases, HP.

The scheme is targeted at new and incremental long-term investment in Irish businesses.

You can get more than one loan provided that the total of those loans does not exceed €3m.

This depends on the loan amount involved and if the bank has all the information it needs to process an application. The banks websites provide details on their loan application times.

Yes, you can apply to all provider banks. Your eligibility code can be provided to multiple finance providers once you do not exceed the total maximum loan amount under the scheme.

The maximum amount of loan(s) you can get under the scheme is €3 million.

The full amount of the loan may have not been available due to the de minimis threshold. Also, approval of a loan under the scheme is subject to the banks credit policy. The maximum loan amount will not be appropriate in every case. If you are not satisfied with the reason given, you can utilise the bank’s appeal process and/or avail of the services of the Credit Review Office.

Loans up to €500k are unsecured.

Yes, provided that each of these loans is less than €500k. Loans greater than €500k may be secured.

The interest rate charged is at the discretion of the bank, but it is limited to an initial maximum interest rate of 4.5% for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5% for loans equal to or greater than €250,000. Variable interest rates are subject to change.

As per the EU definition:

  • An SME is an independent enterprise that employs fewer than 250 persons and which has an annual turnover not exceeding €50m and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43m
  • A small mid-cap is an enterprise that employs more than 250 but fewer than 500 persons

State aid can occur whenever State resources are used to aid an entity engaged in economic activity that potentially could distort competition and trade.

The European Commission allows small amounts of State aid to be given to an entity as long as the aid complies with the de minimis regulations and remains below a certain threshold. Examples of sources of State aid may include funding under schemes from Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia, or a Local Enterprise Office.

The maximum amount of de minimis aid any single recipient can receive is €200,000 (gross grant equivalent) over a three-year fiscal period. 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.

For loans under this scheme, the amount of de minimis aid which is provided to a borrower determined by the size and duration of the loan under the de minimis rules.

The de minimis aid is not equal to the total amount of the loan.

Where you have received State aid, you will have received a letter from the State body that provided it. Examples of State aid granting bodies include Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia or the Local Enterprise Office.

It stands for the “Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community”. It is the standard system used in the European Union for classifying business activity.

NACE codes are divided into sectors such as retail, manufacturing, services etc.

A searchable list of NACE Codes is available here.

A business would be considered to be a family business where the members of one family, or a small number of related families control the business, for example

  • they hold more than 50% of voting shares, and/or
  • they supply a significant proportion of the senior management, and
  • the owners and/or senior managers perceive the business to be a family business.

It means that the main presence of business is in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland).

You should initially complete and submit the SME de minimis form, we will contact you directly for any additional information or documentation required.

For loans in excess of €250,000, a business plan must be completed as part of the application process.

You must give the business plan to the finance provider.

The applicant is responsible for preparing the business plan. The SBCI encourages all applicants to consider using the expertise of an accountant/financial adviser in this process.

You need tick only one box indicating the purpose of the loan being applied for.

It is important that all the declarations at the end of the form are completed.

This is a person who is authorised to sign declarations on behalf of the business, e.g. the business owner or the CEO.


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A long-term, lower-cost loan scheme for SMEs and small mid-cap or SMEs involved in agriculture or fishing.