AIB announces €75m funding for farmers and SMEs

Michael Creed
Michael Creed
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

AIB has announced it is making an additional €75m in funding available as part of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland’s (SBCI) ‘Future Growth Loan Scheme’ which is designed to provide support to SME and agri businesses.

It comes after both Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland announced they were accepting applications to their loan funds, after the Future Growth Loan Scheme was rolled out in April, with €300m in funding opened to applications.

AIB was one of two initial finance providers who agreed to participate in the scheme.

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, said there has been "very strong demand for the Future Growth Loan Scheme from businesses since it was launched earlier this year".

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said the loan funding would help meet the "significant demand from farmers, the seafood sector and food businesses for investment finance.

"This is particularly important for young and new entrant farmers, especially those who do not have high levels of security. It will also serve smaller-scale farmers, who often do not have the leverage to negotiate for more favourable terms with their banks.

"Critically it will allow them to focus on competitiveness and innovation, both key themes in our Food Wise strategy for the sustainable development of the agri-food sector.’’

Loan amounts vary from €100,000 to a maximum of €3,000,000 per SME applicant and €50,000 to a maximum of €3,000,000 for agri applicants. Businesses looking to avail of the scheme through AIB will be able to so from November 9.

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The Future Growth Loan Scheme is a Government of Ireland scheme offered by the SBCI in conjunction with the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. The Future Growth Loan Scheme benefits from a guarantee from the European Union under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The Future Growth Loan Scheme to allow for the roll out of €300m in funding to eligible Irish SMEs including farmers is now open for applications.

Businesses can apply for loan eligibility through the SBCI from today.

The Scheme, which will be delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through commercial lenders makes €300 million available to eligible businesses with up to 249 employees at an interest rate of 4.5pc or less for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5pc and less for loans greater than or equal to €250,000.

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