The Government has opened applications for its latest round of Covid relief grants for small businesses.
The Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid (SBASC) offers €8,000 for SMEs, sole traders, self-employed or partnerships that do not qualify for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) or other sector-specific programmes.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has made €60m of funding available, meaning 7,500 small companies could benefit.
"My objective is to ensure that as many businesses as possible get through this period and are able to re-open successfully," said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. "This new payment will help businesses with fixed costs like rent, insurance, utilities and security."
The application period remains open until April 21. Businesses must apply via their local authorities. Qualifying companies will receive €4,000 in the first quarter and another €4,000 in the second quarter.
New #Covid assistance scheme launched today to help small businesses, sole traders and partnerships with fixed costs during the pandemic. Check out https://t.co/F1nXF4U21k or your local authority for more info pic.twitter.com/d8wSvLmnSU— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 11, 2021
To qualify, businesses will need a minimum turnover of €50,000, have suffered a 75pc loss in revenue due to Covid and not be eligible for certain other Covid schemes. CRSS replaces revenue up to €5,000 a week for qualifying businesses that have lost three-quarters of sales due to lockdown restrictions.
Last year the Government distributed nearly all of the grant aid made available through its various Covid support schemes, according to figures from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
More than €750m in grants and vouchers was pumped into businesses in 2020, in addition to billions in wage subsidies, loans and other benefits, such as Revenue's debt warehousing scheme.
The funds, distributed mainly by Enterprise Ireland, local authorities and local enterprise offices, have benefitted tens of thousands of businesses which have received payments from a little as €500 to greater than €40,000.
Grants have proven far more popular than loans from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, which expanded its funding lending capacity by €600m in 2020 and also added a €2bn risk-sharing loan programme, the Covid Credit Guarantee Scheme.