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Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme

A long-term low-cost scheme to support eligible businesses, including farmers and fishers, when investing in their growth and resilience or climate action and environmental sustainability.

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme (GSLS) is established and offered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and benefits from a guarantee that has been provided by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB), with support from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

The scheme provides SMEs and Small Mid-Caps, including farmers and fishers, with long-term financing to either:

Step 1Applicants must first register (or login) on the SBCI Hub and submit an online Eligibility Application Form to check if they can access the scheme. Once the online form is completed, successful applicants will be issued with an eligibility code.

Step 2 – The applicant must provide this eligibility code to a participating on-lender to begin their credit application process.

Please note that the SBCI eligibility code is not a guarantee of credit approval and does not oblige the on-lender to provide finance.

Approval of loans is subject to each of the participating on-lender’s credit criteria, policies and procedures.

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme will operate until 30 June 2026 or until the scheme has been fully subscribed (whichever is earlier).

The scheme provides SMEs and Small Mid-Caps, including farmers and fishers, with long-term financing to encourage the growth and resilience of their enterprises or improve their performance in terms of climate action and environmental sustainability.

These loans are long-term investment towards climate action and environment sustainability.

Businesses wishing to invest in climate action and environmental sustainability may be categorised as one of the following:

  • Investment in green/sustainable measures
  • Any investment by SMEs classified as a Green / Sustainable Enterprise
  • Any investment by farmers classified as a holder of a Green Eco Label

Qualifying climate action and environmentally sustainable loans will receive a discounted interest rate when compared to equivalent loans.

Do you qualify for a Green Discount?

Are you a sustainable enterprise or investing in climate action and environmentally sustainable measures? You may be eligible for a discounted interest rate on your GSLS loan.

The below table provides information on requirements for green discount eligibility.

Requirements for Green Enterprises

Green Eco-Label
(Farming)
Green Eco Label
(Organic Farming)
Green Enterprise
non-agri SME
Herd number X X
Origin Green Membership X
ACRES Membership X
Organic Licence X
>90% Green Revenue* X
Accountant letter** X
Project technical details

*Based on activities outlined in Use Case Document
**External accountant letter proving eligible source of income



Green Eco Label (Farming)

Are you a beef or dairy farmer participating in quality assurance or biodiversity schemes? You may be eligible for a discount as a sustainable farmer.

To qualify, borrowers must be members of:

  • The Department of Agriculture’s ACRES Tier 1, Tier 2 or ACRES Co-operation

and

  • Bord Bia’s Origin Green Beef or Dairy Assurance Schemes

Eligibility will be based on providing a valid herd number linked to the above schemes.

For more information on membership of these schemes please use the below links:



Green Eco Label (Organic Farming)

Are you certified organic by an organic certification body? You may be eligible for a discount as an organic farmer.

To qualify, borrowers must:

  • be registered with, and approved as, an organic operator by an organic certification body, and
  • be a member of the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Farming Scheme.

Eligibility will be based on providing valid herd number, linked to the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Scheme.

For more information on membership of these schemes please use the link below.



Green Enterprise - SME

Are you an SME engaged primarily in sustainable activities? You may be eligible for a discount as a Green SME.

To qualify, borrowers must:

  • generate 90% or more of their revenue from eligible, sustainable activities and
  • provide an external accountant’s letter confirming the percentage of “green” activity revenue in the most recent 12-month period for which financial information is available.

Applicants will be required to upload the external accountant’s letter referenced above during the pre-eligibility application on the SBCI Hub.

For a list of sustainable activities, please see the Green SME Use Case Document

For a more information regarding the valid Accountant’s Letter upload, please see the Accountants Letter Template

Begin your SBCI pre-eligibility assessment here



Green Measures

Are you investing in measures to improve your company’s position in relation to climate action and environmental sustainability? You may be eligible for a discount.

To qualify, borrowers must:

  • be investing in measures which align with the EIB Group’s parameters for the scheme and
  • provide a description of intended measure(s) during your SBCI Hub application

Eligibility will be based on the assessment made during your SBCI Hub application.

Access a list of eligible categories here

View a video describing the SBCI Hub assessment process here

Use Case Document for eligibility of Climate Action and Environmental Sustainability support

Begin your SBCI pre-eligibility assessment here

These loans are long-term investments towards the growth and resilience of the enterprise.

Loans will be allowed – subject to certain conditions – for, but not limited to, the following purposes:

  • Investments in tangible or intangible assets
  • Machinery or equipment
  • Research and development
  • Business expansion
  • Premises improvement
  • Process innovation

  • Loan amounts from €25,000 to a maximum of €3,000,000 per borrower (loan amounts are dependent on aid intensity and State aid thresholds)
  • Discounted interest rates when compared to equivalent loans, with an additional discount for loans for climate action and environmentally sustainable purposes
  • Loan terms from 7 years up to a maximum of 10 years
  • Loans are unsecured up to €500,000; loans above €500,000 may be secured
  • Personal guarantees for loans in excess of €500,000 are limited up to 20% of the loan amount
  • Loans may only be used for the purposes of long-term investment for business growth and resilience or long-term investment in climate action and environmentally sustainable measures
  • Loans are available up to 30 June 2026 or until the scheme has been fully subscribed (whichever is earlier)

This is an indicative and non-exhaustive list. The various legal documents presented by the scheme on-lenders will contain the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

Loan interest rates vary between participating on-lenders, but are reduced from standard rates.

An additional 0.25% discount will be applied to businesses with climate action and environmentally sustainable eligibility.

Learn more about climate action and environmental sustainability eligibility.

Loans are not available to SMEs and Small Mid-Caps, including farmers and fishers, with a business focus on one or more of the restricted sectors, including but not limited to:

  • Any production, trade or other activity that is illegal under the laws or regulations of the home jurisdiction for such production, trade or activity (including human cloning).
  • The production of and trade in tobacco and related products.
  • The financing of the production of and trade in weapons and ammunition of any kind. This restriction does not apply to the extent such activities are part of or accessory to explicit European Union policies.
  • Casinos and equivalent enterprises.
  • Research, development or technical applications relating to electronic data programs or solutions, which:
    • (a) aim specifically at:
      • (i) supporting any activity included in the restricted sectors referred to above;
      • (ii) internet gambling and online casinos; or
      • (iii) pornography

or which:

  • (b) are intended to enable to illegally:
    • (i) enter into electronic data networks; or
    • (ii) download electronic data.
  • When providing support to the financing of the research, development or technical applications relating to
    • (a) human cloning for research or therapeutic purposes; and
    • (b) Genetically Modified Organisms (“GMOs”)
    the SBCI will require appropriate specific assurance on the control of legal, regulatory and ethical issues linked to such human cloning for research or therapeutic purposes and/or GMOs.
  • Fossil fuel-based energy production and related activities such as:
    • (a) Coal mining, processing, transport and storage;
    • (b) Oil exploration and production, refining, transport, distribution and storage;
    • (c) Natural gas exploration and production, liquefaction, regasification, transport, distribution and storage; or
    • (d) Electric power generation exceeding the Emissions Performance Standard (i.e. 250 grams of CO2e per kWh of electricity), applicable to fossil fuel-fired power and cogeneration plants, geothermal and hydropower plants with large reservoirs.
  • Energy-intensive and/or high CO2-emitting industries and sectors (NACE nomenclature, 4 digits)
    • (a) Manufacture of other organic basic chemicals (NACE 20.14);
    • (b) Manufacture of other inorganic basic chemicals (NACE 20.13);
    • (c) Manufacture of fertilisers and nitrogen compounds (NACE 20.15);
    • (d) Manufacture of plastics in primary forms (NACE 20.16);
    • (e) Manufacture of cement (NACE 23.51);
    • (f) Manufacture of basic iron and steel and ferro-alloys (NACE 24.10);
    • (g) Manufacture of tubes, pipes, hollow profiles and related fittings of steel (NACE 24.20);
    • (h) Cold drawing of bars (NACE 24.31);
    • (i) Cold rolling of narrow strip (NACE 24.32);
    • (j) Cold forming or folding (NACE 24.33);
    • (k) Cold drawing of wire (NACE 24.34);
    • (l) Aluminium production (NACE 24.42);
    • (m) Manufacture of conventionally fuelled aircraft and related machinery (sub-activities contained within NACE 30.30 activity “Manufacture of air- and spacecraft and related machinery”);
    • (n) Conventionally-fuelled passenger air transport (sub-activities of NACE 51.10);
    • (o) Conventionally fuelled freight air transport (sub-activities of NACE 51.21);
    • (p) Service activities incidental to conventionally fuelled air transportation. (sub-activities of NACE 52.23).
  • Finance of pure real estate development activity, i.e. financing of land, including agricultural land and an activity with a sole purpose of renovating and re-leasing or re-selling existing buildings, as well as building new projects as for example: buying land and/or building real estate with the aim to increase the value of the property. However, buying or renting of land or buildings or facilities ancillary or instrumental to eligible business activities may be considered eligible in so far as it meets the State aid requirements
  • Land acquisition is excluded for farmers
  • Financing of activities constituting pure financial transactions, such as the purchase of shares or financial instruments, with the exception of eligible business transfers
  • Restrictions specific to fisheries and aquaculture - under Article 29 GBER
  • Restrictions specific to agriculture - under Articles 14 and 17 ABER
  • Financing to support the purchase of livestock
  • Purchase of fishing vessels
  • Further exclusions under the De Minimis Regulation.

Further exclusions around Restricted Assets can be found here.

This is an indicative and non-exhaustive list. The various legal documents presented by the scheme on-lenders will contain the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

Viable SME and Small Mid-Cap businesses, including farmers and fishers, that meet the eligibility criteria.

SMEs are defined by the standard EU definition contained in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC as enterprises that:

  • have fewer than 250 employees
  • have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million
  • are independent and autonomous, and not part of a wider group of enterprises
  • have less than 25% of their capital held by public bodies.

A Small Mid-Cap is an enterprise that is not an SME but has fewer than 500 employees.

In addition, in order to be eligible for the scheme, SMEs must be established in an EU Member State and operating in the Republic of Ireland.

An SME or Small Mid-Cap that:

  • does not satisfy the eligibility criteria (see section below)
  • is bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by courts
  • is subject to, or fulfils the criteria under domestic law for being placed in, collective insolvency proceedings
  • in the last five years has entered into an arrangement in the context of being bankrupt, or wound up, or having its affairs administered by courts, or has been the subject of a final judgment or final administrative decision for being in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions, or it or any of the persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over it has been convicted by a final judgment or a final administrative decision for grave professional misconduct, where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, or it or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over it has been the subject of a final judgment for fraud, corruption, participation in a criminal organisation, money laundering or terrorist financing, terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, or child labour and other forms of trafficking in human beings
  • has a substantial focus in one or more of the excluded activities or restricted sectors, or
  • has 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 EU’s financial interest.

This is an indicative and non-exhaustive list. The various legal documents presented by the scheme on-lenders will contain the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

An SME or Small Mid-Cap must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • It is established in an EU Member State and operating in the Republic of Ireland
  • It does not have a substantial focus on one or more excluded sectors
  • It is not established in a non-compliant jurisdiction
  • It is not delinquent or in default in respect of any other loan or lease either granted by the on-lender or by another financial institution unless (i) it has been delinquent for less than 20 days and (ii) such delinquency does not dissuade the on-lender from lending to the SME in accordance with its credit policy
  • It is not engaged in any illegal activities
  • It is not a sanctioned person or in breach of restrictive measures
  • It is not subject to any preferential tax measure regarded as harmful under the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes

This is an indicative and non-exhaustive list. The various legal documents presented by the scheme on-lenders will contain the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

Loans under the Growth and Sustainable Loan Scheme will be eligible for either growth and resilience investment or climate action and environmentally sustainable purposes.

Once applicants have received their SBCI eligibility code (step 1 of the application process), they must submit their credit application, together with the eligibility code, to the relevant on-lender to begin their loan application process (step 2).

Additional on-lenders will be announced in the coming weeks. We invite you to visit the SBCI website for updated information.

Please Note – AIB and Finance Ireland are open for both growth and resilience, and climate action and environmentally sustainable investment loan applications.

Please Note Bank of Ireland is currently open for climate action and environmentally sustainable investment loan applications.

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme operates under the following State aid measures:

De Minimis Regulation

  • Small Mid-Caps
  • SMEs borrowing funds for climate action and environmental sustainability measures

Article 17 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)

  • SMEs borrowing funds to invest in growth and resilience measures

Article 29 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)

  • SMEs in the fishery and aquaculture sector implementing process and organisational innovation projects

Article 14 of the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation (ABER)

  • SMEs active in the primary production of agricultural products

Article 17 of the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation (ABER)

  • SMEs active in the processing of agricultural products and the marketing of agricultural products

For a more extensive description of the State aid measures applicable to the scheme, please refer to the relevant Regulations.

The information provided by applicants will be shared with, amongst others, the SBCI, the SBCI’s authorised agents, the European Investment Fund (EIF), the Commission and its agents (including OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office), the European Court of Auditors, the European Investment Bank, and any other entity the EIF is subject to, and to their respective affiliates, officers, directors, employees and professional advisers to the extent necessary for the Counter-Guarantee and to their respective auditors.

The SBCI is required to publish details of the borrower and aid amount on its website where the individual aid award for an SME or Small Mid-Cap exceeds the following thresholds:

  • €60,000 for aid granted to SME borrowers active in the primary agricultural sector under ABER.

Please note that the loan amount is not the aid amount. The borrower will be sent a State aid letter by the SBCI if any State aid is generated by a loan under the Growth and Sustainable Loan Scheme. Only if the amount of State aid exceeds the above thresholds will the details require publication.

NACE is the standard system used in the European Union for classifying business activity.


Please note – The description of the scheme on this webpage has been prepared for the purposes of providing information of a general nature to potential applicants and others interested in the scheme.

The various legal documents presented by the scheme on-lenders will contain the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

In addition to the criteria listed in the “Loan Features” section above, the financing arrangements must meet certain criteria (including but not limited to those set out below):
  • the loan must be provided in compliance with the relevant State aid regime,
  • the loan must be drawn down to a bank account in a participating Member State,
  • the loan must be entered into by 30 June 2026,
  • the loan must be a term loan denominated in euro,
  • the loan must have a minimum scheduled maturity of seven years,
  • the final scheduled maturity date of the loan must not fall after 30 June 2036,
  • the loan must comply with any applicable transfer of benefit terms under the scheme,
  • the loan shall not finance illegal activities or artificial arrangements aimed at tax avoidance,
  • the documents governing the loan must be legal, valid, binding and enforceable under applicable law, and
  • the loan must not finance transactions with a sanctioned person.

This is an indicative and non-exhaustive list. The various legal documents presented by the scheme on-lenders will contain the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

Applicants must not use the loan proceeds for:

  • refinancing of existing term loan debt
  • financing of specific export operations
  • financing current expenditure linked to the export activity
  • financing contingent upon the use of domestic over imported products
  • financing the establishment and operation of a distribution network in other Member States.

This is an indicative and non-exhaustive list. The various legal documents presented by the scheme on-lenders will contain the full terms and conditions of the scheme.

In addition to the SMEs definition above, please see also the following definitions for qualifying enterprises:

“Branch” has the same meaning as it has in Commission Regulation (EU) 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty, and includes an establishment within the meaning of that Regulation.

“Qualifying Enterprises” means an SME established, or with a branch (as defined above), in the State.

“Commission Recommendation” means Commission Recommendation (2003/361/EC) of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

“SMEs” means a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise within the meaning of the European Commission Recommendation (as defined above).

There is a two-step process to apply for a loan under the Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme:

STEP 1 - First register (or login) on the SBCI Hub and complete the online Eligibility Application Form. Once completed, eligible applicants will get an eligibility code. Please note, the SBCI eligibility code is not a guarantee of loan approval.

STEP 2 - Once you get the SBCI eligibility code, you should engage with a participating on-lender to begin the loan application process. It is only at this stage that a decision will be made on credit approval by the relevant on-lender.


Loans range from €25,000 up to a maximum of €3 million.

The SBCI eligibility code is valid for six months from the date of issue, but it is always subject to the scheme remaining open and having funding available.

The eligibility code can be used multiple times, provided that you don't exceed the maximum loan amount available under the scheme and the eligibility code hasn't expired.

Loans terms range from 7 up to a maximum of 10 years.

Under the Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme, loans can only be used for investment purposes. The scheme provides long-term funding for investments in the growth and resilience of the business or for investments in climate action and environmentally sustainable measures.

No. The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme does not allow for the refinancing of existing loans or debt products.

Loan interest rates vary between participating on-lenders, but are reduced from standard rates.

An additional 0.25% discount will be applied to businesses with climate action and environmentally sustainable eligibility.

If the loans are with two different on-lenders, they will both be on an unsecured basis.

If they are with the same on-lender, then security may be required for the amount in excess of €500,000.

Approval depends on the loan amount involved and if the on-lender has all the information needed to process an application. Each on-lender provides details of their loan application times on their websites.

Yes. You can use the same SBCI eligibility code to apply for a loan with different on-lenders, provided that you don't exceed the maximum loan amount available to you under the scheme and the eligibility code has not expired.

Yes. You can get more than one loan, provided that the total of those loans does not exceed the maximum loan amount available to you under the scheme.

Loans will be available up to 30 June 2026, or until the scheme has been fully subscribed (whichever is earlier).

The State aid rules that applies to the Scheme are as follows:

  • De Minimis Regulation
    • Small Mid-Caps
    • SMEs borrowing funds for climate action and environmental sustainability measures
  • Article 17 of General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)
    • SMEs borrowing funds to invest in growth and resilience measures.
  • Article 29 of General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)
    • SMEs acting in the primary production or processing of fishery or aquaculture products implementing process and organisational reform
  • Article 14 of Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation (ABER)
    • SMEs active in the primary production of agricultural products
  • Article 17 of Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation (ABER)
    • SMEs active in the processing of agricultural products and the marketing of agricultural products

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 and the Local Enterprise Office.

NACE 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.

Access the list of NACE Codes eligible for the Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme

It means that the applicant operates their business and has a registered business address in Ireland.

A primary producer is a person engaged in the production, rearing or growing of primary products including harvesting, milking and farmed animal production. It also includes fishing and the harvesting of wild products.

Approval of a loan under the scheme is subject to the individual on-lender’s credit policy. The maximum loan amount may not be appropriate in every case.

If you are not satisfied with the reason given, you can apply to the on-lenders' appeal process.

In the case that the on-lender is a bank, if your appeal is unsuccessful, you may be eligible for the services of the Credit Review Office.

Apply Now!
A long-term low-cost scheme to support eligible businesses, including farmers and fishers, when investing in their growth and resilience or climate action and environmental sustainability.

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