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Government launches further Covid-19 grants and loans for SMEs

Start-ups and SMEs in Ireland will have more options for Covid-19 financing support as further funds have been given to lender Linked Finance and the grant scheme for smaller businesses is opening its second round.

Linked Finance, the peer-to-peer lender, has been awarded an additional €5m by the Government under the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS). This brings Linked Finance’s total under the scheme to €15m.

The start-up, which is the first non-bank lender in CCGS, facilitates loans to small businesses, with €10m in loans issued under the scheme to date. It is launching a new 13-month loan product for the hospitality sector, where businesses reopened their doors this month.

“Being allocated a second tranche demonstrates the success of alternative lenders participating in the scheme, and shows the improving range of options there are for businesses looking to access finance fast and efficiently in a seamless online process,” Linked Finance chief executive Niall O’Grady said.

Its new loan product, Recharge SMEs, is open to bars, restaurants, hotels and cafes.

“With the hospitality sector reopening, we are conscious that many businesses in the sector will require working capital to reopen, restock, rehire,” O’Grady said. “Our new Recharge SMEs loan will allow companies to access up to €50,000 to support their immediate needs and help them to get back trading in what we hope will be a bumper summer for the industry.”

Meanwhile, the Government’s Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid for SMEs that were hit by lockdowns has opened a second round of applications.

Eligible SMEs and microenterprises that don’t fall under the remit of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) can apply for these grants through their local authority or Local Enterprise Office.

Grants of €4,000 are available to small businesses with turnover above €50,000, and €1,000 is available for those with turnover between €20,000 and €50,000. Applications close on 21 July.

Businesses that received a grant in the first round of the Small Business Assistance Scheme may be eligible for a second grant. The eligibility criteria has been extended to businesses operating from non-rateable premises, such as a home office or hotdesk. Businesses availing of the Employment Wage Subsidy are still eligible to apply.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar, TD, said the grants will help Ireland’s smallest businesses during the reopening of the economy.

“Our aim throughout the pandemic has been to include as many businesses as possible with all the Government funding schemes that are in place,” he said.

“My message to those running businesses today is that the Government will continue to help you as you get back on your feet. Brighter days are ahead.”

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