Tuesday 15 October 2019

Plans for extra €10m to provide more micro-loans for small businesses that would be hit by no-deal Brexit

Heather Humphreys (Brian Lawless/PA)
Heather Humphreys (Brian Lawless/PA)
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

AN extra €10m to allow for more mirco-loans for small businesses hit by a no-deal Brexit is set to be provided under proposals are to be considered by Cabinet today.

Meanwhile, there would be a boost in Entrerprise Ireland's ability to provide research and development (R&D) grants and the agency would be able to offer loans for the first time if proposed legislation is passed.

Independent.ie understands that the proposals are being brought to Cabinet by Business Minister Heather Humphreys as part of efforts to enhance the Brexit supports available to businesses.

READ MORE: More than 70pc of agri-food firms 'failing to prepare'

The Industrial Development Bill includes amendments to existing laws to increase Microfinance Ireland's equity cap by €10m to €35m.

The extra €10m is to allow for increased volumes of loans to micro-enterprises most at risk from Brexit.

The measure would only be implemented in the case of a crash-out, hard Brexit.

READ MORE: Unemployment rate static last month, but warning that impact of a hard Brexit remains a considerable risk

In terms of the Enterprise Ireland-related measures, the changes to the law are aimed at increasing agency's ability to provide a competitive and flexible offering to its client companies in terms of R&D grants.

The horticulture sector would beocme eligible for Enterprise Ireland grant aid for the first time under the plans.

The proposals would also allow Enterprise Ireland to give out loans.

The loans would be subject to State aid rules and due diligence so that they don't displace any existing non-government and government supported lending in the economy.

READ MORE: Manufacturers remain concerned over Brexit as sector shrinks again

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