The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie Mc Conalogue TDhave signed an Agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF). The finalisation of this Agreement is a key milestone in the establishment of a new long-term loan scheme for SMEs which will be underpinned by resources from the European Investment Bank Group.
The €500 million “Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme” will make competitively priced loans of between €25k and €3 million available to SMEs, including farmers and fishers and small mid-caps, for terms of up to ten years, with loans of up to €500k available unsecured. The scheme will target a minimum of 30% of the lending volume towards Environmental Sustainability purposes with the aim of encouraging SMEs to take positive actions in support of the climate change agenda.
The scheme will be delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating finance providers.
“The signing of this agreement with the EIF has unlocked significant funding to enable SMEs to avail of long-term finance at a lower cost. The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme (‘GSLS’) was developed to build on existing Government funding for SMEs and as a successor to the popular Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS). It will assist small and medium enterprises and mid-caps to expand, create new jobs, access new markets, develop their products and services and invest in energy efficiency and sustainability.”
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie Mc Conalogue TD said:
“I am pleased that we are signing this agreement with the European Investment Fund to progress the new €500 million “Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme” (‘GSLS’), which will facilitate strategic investment by SMEs, including farmers, fishers and food businesses, to ensure their continued viability and sustainability into the future. I am committed to ensuring that the agri-food sector has appropriate access to finance, especially in achieving the objectives of Food Vision 2030, our shared ten-year strategy for the Irish agri-food sector, to ensure that our economic and environmental objectives can be achieved in the time ahead.”
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD said:
“This Government is committed to supporting Irish SMEs. The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme will make a further €500m in longer term lending available to SMEs.
“SMEs will be able to avail of lending terms of 7 to 10 years on loans ranging from €25,000 to €3 million. Loans of up to €500,000 could be unsecured.
The loan guarantee further demonstrates the strong relationship between Ireland and the European Investment Fund, part of the European Investment Bank Group, in supporting Irish businesses to enhance their productivity and competitiveness as well as their environmental sustainability.”
Christian Kettel-Thomsen, Vice President of the European Investment Bank said:
“Investment in machinery, innovation and people by small business and farmers across Ireland will be strengthened by this new financing. The European Investment Bank Group is pleased to support the Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme, combining the financial resources and technical expertise of the EIB, EIF and Irish partners to support Irish business during challenging times.”
Roger Havenith Deputy CEO of the European Investment Fund said:
“We have worked closely with the Irish government and the SBCI under several EU programmes in the past with very good results. Today’s agreement renews this strong partnership, and we are confident that we can make a difference together in support of Irish businesses during these difficult times, driving both long-term investment and measures to improve environmental sustainability.”
June Butler, CEO of SBCI said:
“The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme (GSLS) will enable businesses to invest in sustainability, innovation and further expansion through longer term investments, using low-cost, longer-term and more accessible funding. The SBCI is delighted to continue playing its part in supporting Irish businesses as they seek to access affordable finance, and to deliver a real impact and much needed support for the creation of economic activity in Ireland.”