Business Supports to help your business through challenges posed by Covid-19

‘Tough times don’t last,
Tough people do’

To support you through this difficult time and period of uncertainty, I have put together a list of Business Supports, which will hopefully help your business navigate through these challenging times.

I’m sure as soon as I have this published another support will just have been announced (and will be much needed I’m sure). If you know of any other scheme or support available, please share with me, and I will keep this resource updated for all!

Remember, you are not alone, we’re all in this together.

Kind regards,

Elaine Carroll
CEO All-Ireland Business Foundation

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Specific supports include;

  • COVID-19 Income Support Scheme to provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis.

    In summary:

    • temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax
    • workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an emergency COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203)
    • the COVID-19 illness payment will be increased to €350 per week
    • the self-employed will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme)
    • enhanced protections for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills
  • A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for viable but vulnerable firms that need to restructure or transform their businesses, details of these supports are being finalised.
  • A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Further information can be found at Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).
  • A Short Time Work Support is available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is an income support payment for employees who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week and is intended to help employers during periods of temporary difficulty. Further details at Gov.ie.
  • “Finance in focus” grant of up to €7,200 available to Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients to support financial planning.
  • Revenue Commissioners: The application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employers) liabilities. However companies are still required to file all returns (more detail below). Details on other Revenue reliefs / concessions can be found at Revenue announce measures to assist SMEs experiencing cashflow difficulties arising from COVID-19.
  • Borrowers Support – special supports such as loan repayment holidays, mortgage holidays etc. have been agreed – more details here.

Other Enterprise Ireland/Local Enterprise Office supports including:

  • Strategic consultancy grant for SME’s to assist the company development of a strategic response plan.
  • Act-On Initiative, providing access to 2 days consultancy engagement at no extra cost to assess Financial Management, Strategic sourcing and transport and logistics advice.
  • Key Manager Support to provide partial funding towards the recruiting of a Full or Part-time Manager with critical skills for future growth.
  • Agile Innovation Fund and Operational Excellence Offer.
  • Be prepared Grant for contingency planning.
  • Vouchers for business continuity preparedness, innovation and productivity will be available through Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area (Local Enterprise Office).
  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme is a government-supported product from the banks for small and medium businesses who have difficulty borrowing from their bank. Businesses can apply for loans of up to €1 million at AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank. Loans can be for terms of up to 7 years. The scheme provides an 80% guarantee to participating banks which are AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.
  • Additional financial supports are available locally through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices and Microfinance Ireland. The maximum loan available from Microfinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises are facing.

*More details on all of the above supports are on Enterprise Ireland

*You can also email the Enterprise Ireland Business Response Unit at clientresponse@enterprise-ireland.com

‘By failing to prepare,
you are preparing to fail’.

– By Benjamin Franklin

Never in my own personal experience has the above quote meant so much.

Covid-19 will have short and long term business impacts. Planning for operational resilience is key to alleviating any effects on your business, workforce, supply chain and customers.

The following are the 4 key areas in your business which may be impacted by Covid-19. I have also listed the key supports available under each. Hopefully, they will help you to prepare!

1. People management: KEY SUPPORTS

Income Support Scheme

An eligible employer will be supported up to 70% of an employee’s take home income up to a maximum weekly tax free payment of €410 (that is, 70% of take home weekly income of €38,000 per annum).

The scheme will provide support on incomes up to €76,000 or twice average earnings. It will be capped at net €350 for incomes between €38,000 and €76,000.

The employer is expected to make best efforts to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the subsidised period.

Revenue will provide further guidance on operation of the scheme.

There will be severe penalties for any abuse of the scheme.

Eligibility for the Income Support Scheme

Employers must self-declare to Revenue that they have experienced significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19, with a minimum of 25% decline in turnover, and an inability to pay normal wages and other outgoings, in accordance with guidance to be issued by Revenue.

This scheme is open to impacted employers in all sectors. This recognises the impact that COVID-19 is having across all parts of the economy.

The employee must have been on the payroll in February 2020.

Self-employed workers

Self-employed who qualify will be paid the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 rather than through the Revenue scheme. They will be eligible on a similar basis as the Revenue scheme for employees.

Eligibility for COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

People who have already been approved for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will now get an increased payment of €350 per week (instead of €203) at their next payment date. Anyone else who loses their job due to the COVID-19 crisis can apply to the department for payment at the new rate.

The COVID-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week.

Further details are available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Short time work to support

Short time work support is available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is an income support payment for employees who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week, due to business challenges affecting their employment. It is intended to help employers during periods of temporary difficulty, without resorting to permanent layoffs. Employer and employment application forms and more detail can be found at Gov.ie.

Employees can also apply for Short-time Work Support at their local Intreo Centre or Branch Office – local Intreo Centre can be found at Gov.ie.

Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme 

The Minister has announced the implementation of exceptional measures to enable workers who are temporarily laid off claim a special COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €203 per week. The scheme will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners and will allow workers to remain on the payroll as employees, thus maintaining the relationship. Full details on the scheme can be seen here.

Enterprise Ireland Key Manager / Part Time Key Manager Support

The aim of this initiative is to provide partial funding towards the cost of recruiting a Full Time or Part Time Key Manager with skills that are critical to the future growth of the client. The Part-Time Key Manager grant has been introduced in order to support companies to attract senior leadership talent by offering more flexible working arrangements.

**The most significant and beneficial in the immediate future has been an announcement last night by Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty that:

“Where employers, who have to cease trading because of the impact of social distancing, continue to pay workers they will be able to claim refunds from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. A temporary refund scheme is being established for this purpose. This refund will be for €203 per worker per week. This means that workers retain their link with employers and there is no need for them personally to submit jobseekers claim.”

The Minister explained that refunds will take some time to process but in the meantime, the Banks will provide working capital finance in the form of overdrafts or short-term loans to cover costs.

More details are to follow.

2. Business processes and operations management: KEY SUPPORTS

€200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme

For eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19, further information can be found at Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

Finance in Focus Support

The Finance in Focus grant offers Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta clients funding of up to €7,200 to cover third party consultant’s fees. These consultants will work with the clients to develop a detailed financial and business plan that identifies funding needs and potential sources of funding.

Strategic Consultancy Grant

The grant supports the hiring of a strategic consultant for SME’s typically over a longer period to assist the company in the development and/or the implementation of strategic initiatives. It is designed to facilitate business growth as the consultants can act as a coach, mentor, facilitator, an analyst for the company.

Be Prepared for Contingency Grant

The Be Prepared Grant is designed for Enterprise Ireland clients who would benefit from further research and external expertise in examining their exposure to Covid-19 and exploring ways of addressing this. The grant offers up to €5,000 or 50% of the total cost in financial support.

Revenue supports – see here for full brief.

The Revenue has provided the following updated advice which will further assist businesses that are experiencing trading difficulties caused by the impacts of COVID-19.

Information for SMEs  

  • Tax Returns: businesses experiencing temporary cash flow difficulties should continue to send in tax returns on time.
  • Application of Interest: the application of interest on late payments is suspended for January/February VAT and both February and March PAYE (Employers) liabilities.
  • Debt Enforcement: All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.
  • Tax Clearance: current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.

SMEs, for tax purposes, are businesses with a turnover of less than €3 million. Businesses are other than SMEs that experience cashflow or trading difficulties should contact the Collector-General’s office or engage directly with its branch contacts.

Borrowers Support – special supports such as loan repayment holidays, mortgage holidays etc. have been agreed – more details here.

The range of supports proposed by the BPFIare customer focused so as to cater for the different impacts of COVID-19 on each individual customer.

These proposals include extensive supports for SME customers – banks are working to ensure a wide range of credit, cash flow and supply chain supports are offered to businesses who are trying to manage the pressures arising from COVID-19. A deferral of up to 3-months on loan repayments will be of assistance to many businesses. 

In addition, the banks are adopting a customer-focused approach to these businesses with a wide variety of tailored supports including extensions of credit lines, risk guarantees, and trade finance.

These supports complement the range of Government supports available through the SBCI.

3. Supply Chain Management: KEY SUPPORT

Act-On Initiative

An Act-On initiative to support impacted exporting businesses will be available to Enterprise Ireland supported companies. The initiative provides access to 2 days company consultancy engagement at no extra cost to help companies strengthen their capabilities in three key business areas; financial management, strategic sourcing and transport and logistics.

4. Communications – internal and external management: KEY SUPPORT

Information, advice and webinars

Enterprise Ireland will engage directly with businesses to provide information and practical support. Over the coming weeks, Enterprise Ireland will be developing an online portal of relevant advice, articles and webinars which will be accessible here.

Development Advisor

Speak to your Development Advisor who can direct you to the relevant supports specific for your organisation and/or your industry.

I hope the above helps. Remember, we’re all in this together. If you know of any other support or scheme to help, please let me know and I can add it here for all our benefit!

In the words of Gloria Gaynor, we will survive!!

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