Just 70 firms sign up for Brexit grant as EI steps up backing
Seventy Enterprise Ireland (EI) client companies have availed of a Brexit grant since the scheme went live earlier this year.
The EI 'Be Prepared Grant' provides firms with up to €5,000 to get themselves in shape to deal with any potential fallout from the UK's EU exit.
It was launched at the end of March and is limited to EI's 5,000 client companies. However, it is likely to be most popular with about 600 of the agency's companies that are exposed to the UK.
The agency stressed that it was working on a one-on-one basis with each of the client companies exposed to the UK.
The figure showing the take-up so far of the grant was obtained by Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins in response to a parliamentary question.
The number of firms taking up the grant is gradually rising. In September, 45 companies were approved for the scheme.
The agency expects 100 companies to have taken up the grant by early next year.
Persuading companies to prepare for life after Brexit has been difficult. In the six months to September, just 38pc of EI's firms had taken measures to deal with the UK's EU exit.
The grant support is designed to help firms cover consultancy, travel and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with drawing up a Brexit action plan. EI will match 50pc of the costs incurred by a company in drawing up a strategy, up to a maximum of €5,000.
"While the news of the progression of the negotiations is welcome, companies cannot wait and must urgently put a Brexit plan in place for their business as the countdown is underway and there are just over 460 days left to Brexit," the EI spokesman added.
"From a Brexit perspective we are mainly engaging with our 600 clients with significant UK exports on a one-to-one basis to ensure they get access to all of our supports in the areas of business strategy, innovation, sales, operations, resourcing, etc."
Cross-border development body InterTrade Ireland has so far approved 24 Brexit vouchers worth €2,000 to companies here, with 17 applications pending, according to separate figures obtained by Mr Collins.