Friday 21 October 2016

How you can get the State's financial muscle behind your business idea

Published 14/05/2015 | 02:30

The 10 State agencies who could make the difference to your financial situation
The 10 State agencies who could make the difference to your financial situation

If you decide not to go down the route of sourcing funds privately, what are the other ways of funding your business project? We take a look at the different types of Government supports available.

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1 Enterprise Ireland

The government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets.

EI works in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales on global markets to sustain economic growth, regional development and secure employment. Substantial financial grants and vouchers for start ups, established SMEs and large companies are available.

2 Local Enterprise Offices

Over 31 Local Enterprise Offices provide a range of financial supports designed to assist with the establishment and/or growth of local businesses employing up to ten people.

LEOs also have an excellent SME online tool that helps narrow down your search for information on aid and supports for business.

3 MicroFinance Ireland

Like a bank, Microfinance Ireland (MFI) offers interest-bearing loans but, unlike a bank, it operates on a not-for-profit basis. Helping to create or sustain a job is at the heart of MFI business.

SMEs may have difficulty in accessing credit from banks due to economic difficulties or for reasons such as a lack of security, a difficulty with existing borrowings or the lack of a track record.

Microfinance Ireland has been initiated by the Government to provide another funding avenue to assist people who are finding it difficult to access credit, which in turn will help to create and sustain employment. Irish-based SMEs can apply to MFI for unsecured business loans from €2,000 up to €25,000.

4 National Pension Reserve Fund

The NPRF has made investment commitments of €375m to three new long-term funds which will provide equity, credit and restructuring for Irish SMEs and mid-sized corporates. In June 2013, the Government announced its decision to establish the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and make the NPRF's €6.4bn of resources available for investment on a commercial basis to support economic activity and employment in Ireland.

5 Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

If you have big plans for your small business, the SBCI can help you fund them. A new, strategic SME funding company, the SBCI's goal is to ensure access to flexible funding for Irish SMEs.

The organisation offers flexible products with longer maturity and capital repayment flexibility, subject to credit approval. It also offers lower cost funding to financial institutions, such as banks, which is then passed on to SMEs. This allows market access for new entrants to the SME lending market and creates real competition.

6 InterTradeIreland

The only organisation which has been given responsibility by the governments both North and South of the border to boost economic co-operation. By encouraging better use of our collective resources the organisation aims to help to expedite trade and business growth across the island and create an environment where it is easier to do business.

InterTradeIreland aims to support SMEs across the island to identify and develop North/South trade and innovation opportunities.

7 Fáilte Ireland

Festivals and events have been identified as being an important component of the Irish tourism product offering. Festivals provide opportunities to showcase culture, people and places, thereby greatly improving the visitor experience of Ireland. They also help improve the distribution of tourism revenue around the country. Consequently, Fáilte Ireland provides considerable support to festivals, investing approximately €4m in 210 festivals and events in 2014.

8 Culture Ireland

Culture Ireland has been allocated annual funding of €2.5m for the year to promote Irish arts both at home and abroad. The next deadline for receipt of grant applications is 15 June 2015. Applications may be made by either the Irish artist or company or the international presenter or partner.

Applications are not accepted outside of the regular grants round, unless an exceptional case can be made that the event is high profile and could not have been known by the deadline, for example a film to be screened in a major international festival.

9 BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit

The BlueBay fund, to which the NPRF has committed €200 million, is a €450m credit fund that will provide loans to larger SMEs and mid-sized businesses in Ireland. BlueBay is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada and is a specialist asset manager of fixed income credit, corporate loans and alternative products.

Loan amounts are expected to range in size from €5m to €45m and BlueBay is able to access additional capital for situations that require larger amounts.

The loans can be used by borrowers for a variety of purposes such as refinancing existing liabilities, acquisition finance or investment expenditure. Pure real estate finance is not intended to be included.

10 Údarás na Gaeltachta

Provides advice guidance and funds directly to SMEs on applications for financial aid & feasibility grants via the government's credit guarantee scheme are processed from SMEs for funding.

This scheme aims to assist viable SMEs on the margins of commercial lending decisions in accessing credit. Accessing credit via the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation website.

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