Government and Industry Supports
The Government has responded to the challenges facing business and individuals in a number of ways.
Analysis of State Supports
The Government has responded to the challenges facing business and individuals in a number of ways. Payments of some taxes have been suspended and a flexible attitude to companies in difficulty has been adopted.
This is an evolving situation. The state is responding on a daily basis so it is worthwhile keeping an eye on these sites.
Wage Subsidy Scheme
The most significant announcement to date has been the Income Support Scheme, or Wage Subsidy Scheme. In this, the state aims to support up to 70 per cent of an individual salary for a company, up to €38,000 per employee. This scheme is administered by the Revenue Commissioners (here).
Enterprise Ireland has produced a guide for companies also and its portal page is a good resource for linking out to agencies like Micro Finance Ireland and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (here).
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) has a detailed information page providing information surrounding on the impact of Covid-19, which is worth monitoring (here).
The Department for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) is the best access point for seeking income support for those either made unemployed or self-isolating as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The Department is encouraging online applications and asking people not to visit the Intreo Offices. It has acknowledged that it is experiencing huge pressure on services (here).
€1 billion in liquidity measures available for SMEs
- Expansion of two SBCI Loan Schemes by €450m to provide an extra €250m for working capital and €200m for longer-term loans, bringing the total allocation to support liquidity in companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis to €650m
- €180m Sustaining Enterprise Fund for firms in the manufacturing and international services sectors
- Extension of supports for online trading to €7.6m
- Expansion of Microfinance Ireland funding by €13m to €20m for COVID-19 loans with interest rates dropped from 7.8% to 4.5%
- Free mentoring, free online training for all businesses
Lobbying Government – Scale Ireland
Scale Ireland has been engaged with Government and other stakeholders about their response. They are currently surveying the eco-system to inform their work and NDRC would encourage people who in a position to do so to take part (survey)
Scale Ireland has also produced a helpful guide on the scheme following interaction with both the Revenue Commissioners and DEASP. This suggests that the scheme is more wide-ranging than high-level reporting might suggest, and that it will evolve. It's worth keeping an eye on their guide (here).
CRO Postpones Filing Deadlines
In light of the COVID-19 crisis and to ease pressure on companies who are due to submit their Annual Returns, the Company Registrations Office have decided to postpone the filing deadline until 30 June. The Government body has also announced the closure of its offices but that online submissions will continue.
SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme
An initiative by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland - along with state departments and the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility - is creating a new loan scheme for businesses. Under the plan, loans worth up to €1.5m per eligible entreprise will be made available. Interest rates are capped at 4%, and the loans range up to three-year terms. (here)
Local Enterprise Offices
It is quite possible that the role LEOs play in the support of startups will grow in significance as this pandemic continues.
As part of their reponse to Covid-19, LEOs have planned a Business Continuity Voucher. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. 'The goal is to help business owners make informed decisions about what immediate measures and actions should be taken to protect staff and sales.' (here)
Science Foundation Ireland
Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have launched a joint rapid-response call to fund research, development, and innovation activities that will deliver significant and timely impact for Ireland within the context of the current emergency.
'The SFI, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland rapid response call is an agile and adaptive initiative to support development of innovative solutions (including STEM-based, social/behavioural science) that can have rapid demonstrable impact on the current COVID-19 crisis in Ireland.' (here)
Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide
The National Standards Authority of Ireland has published a ‘Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide’ outlining preventative measures businesses can take to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The Government, in welcoming this guidance, has reaffirmed its commitment to assisting businesses operate whilst rigorously adhering to public health measures.