Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 €3m.

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 a maximum interest rate of 4.5% for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5% for loans equal to or greater than €250,000.

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;
  • Small Midcap 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, 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 on the SBCI website.

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 e.g. –

  • 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, CEO.