There are many schemes available for businesses at present to access additional finance through grants and loans. We have detailed many of them in our ongoing Covid-19 coverage and you can read more by clicking here. The Future Growth Loan Scheme, from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, is another initiative intended to assist companies to work through these unprecedented times and to grow their businesses. We have written a brief overview of the scheme.
What is the Future Growth Loan Scheme?
The Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €800m of loans available for terms of 7-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland, including those in the agriculture and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment in a business. The scheme first launched with a total funding of €300m in 2019. The additional €500m under the expanded scheme will be made available through participating financial providers.
The initial maximum interest rate is capped at 4.5% for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5% for loans more than or equal to €250,000 for the first six months. The rates offered by the SBCI are lower than those typically offered by the market. AAL has been advising clients on the benefits of the SBCI and other related institutions for several years.
Amounts Available Under the Future Growth Loan Scheme
Loans of up to half a million euro are unsecured and loans are capped at three million euros. The minimum available to a business is €25,000.
The scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating lenders.
Am I Eligible?
This scheme is available to eligible SME and Small Mid-Cap businesses, including those in the agriculture and seafood sectors in Ireland.
The definition of Small Mid-Caps can be found here: InnovFin SME Guarantee (PDF, 230KB)
Applying for the Scheme
There is a two-stage application process for the Future Growth Loan Scheme. It is:
- Applications for eligibility under the scheme will be made through the SBCI website. The SBCI will assess the applications and those successful will be issued an eligibility reference number;
- Apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using the eligibility reference number.
What Do I Need To Provide With My Application?
Loans of over €250,000 must be accompanied by a business plan that adheres to the SBCI criteria. You can find out more about the criteria at SBCI.ie
What can the loans be used for?
Loans can be used for:
- Investment in tangible or intangible assets to increase productivity and/or efficiency, set up a new establishment, or extend an existing one.
- Diversification into new products or a change in a production process.
- Investment in tangible or intangible assets for process and organisational innovation.
- Investment in tangible and intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production (excludes purchase of land other than site costs or livestock).
- Investment in connection with the processing and marketing of agricultural products.
We have written extensively about the need for companies to consider their organisational structure and it is heartening to see that the SBCI is making loans available to companies who wish to innovate within their organisation.
40% of Grants Are Aimed at the Agri & Seafood Sectors
As the agriculture and food sector have a particular exposure to the UK market, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine contributed 40% of the State funding. As a result, at least 40% of the fund will be available to Primary Agriculture (farmers) / Food businesses.
Which finance providers are participating in the scheme?
The current participating finance providers will continue to offer the scheme. These are AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and KBC. Two new providers have applied to deliver the scheme and the SBCI is currently engaging with these with a view to their participation in the scheme.
We Can Assist You
We are working with several client companies readying their applications for the Future Growth Loan Scheme. We can assist you in your application, or we can advise on this or other available schemes. Call us on 052 61 37775 or email our Managing Director Áine Kiely O’Donnell on [email protected]