COVID-19 business supports

Introduction

Business owners can avail of a number of supports during COVID-19.

This page summarises the financial support schemes, rates waivers and tax measures to help if:

  • Your business is unable to operate
  • You have reduced revenue
  • You need financial support to help your business operate safely during COVID-19

You can also get advice from your accountant or use the advisory support from your Local Enterprise Office (LEO). Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption of your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by COVID-19.

You can get up to date information on the COVID-19 supports and guidance for businesses and employers on gov.ie.

Financial supports

The following financial supports are available to businesses and employees affected by COVID-19.

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

Under the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), you could get a flat-rate subsidy per employee, if your turnover fell by 30%.

For most businesses, the EWSS ended on 30 April 2022.

For businesses directly impacted by the public health restrictions introduced in December 2021, the EWSS ended on 31 May 2022.

Loans, grants and vouchers

A range of other supports for businesses affected by COVID-19 are available.

COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme

The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme provided loans from €10,000 and €1 million for terms up to five and a half years. The size of the loan was linked to business turnover (25% of 2019 turnover) or wage costs (double annual wage bill in 2019).

The Scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating lenders. The Scheme closed at the end of June 2022.

The Covid-19 Loan Scheme

The Covid-19 Loan Scheme replaced the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS). It is available to small and medium businesses including farmers, fishers and food businesses. Businesses must have experienced an adverse impact of a minimum 15% in turnover or profit due to the impact of Covid-19.

Loans under the scheme:

  • Range between €25,000 and €1.5 million.
  • Are available with terms of one to 6 years.
  • Are available without security where the loan amount is less than €500,000.
  • The finance will typically feature a lower interest rate than other comparable lending in the market.

Loans can be used for liquidity or working capital, investment and up to 30% of new loans may be allowed for refinancing of existing short-term credit. The scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating lenders.

COVID-19 Business Loans

COVID-19 Business Loans up to €25,000 are available through Microfinance Ireland (MFI). There are no repayments for the first 6 months and the equivalent 12 months interest-free subject to certain terms and conditions. The loan terms are typically up to 3 years and there are no fees or charges.

The loan is open to sole traders, partnerships and limited companies with fewer than 10 full-time employees and annual turnover of up to €2 million. You can apply through the MFI website or through your Local Enterprise Office.

Trading Online Voucher Scheme

A Trading Online Voucher Scheme worth up to €2,500 is available through to help small and microenterprises get online. A second voucher of up to €2,500 is also available. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for more information and application details.

Online Retail Scheme

The Online Retail Scheme opened for applications on 5 May 2022 and closed on 1 June 2022.

Funding was available of up to:

  • 80% of the eligible project costs up to €80,000, for first time applicants
  • 50% of the eligible project costs up to €80,000, for applicants who were awarded funding in the previous Online Retail Scheme calls

Applicants must be Irish based retail enterprises with 10 or more full-time employees. Apply through the online portal available on Enterprise Ireland’s website.

Digitalisation Voucher

Companies in the manufacturing and internationally traded service sectors could apply for the Digitalisation Voucher up to a value of €9,000. Applications closed on 3 June 2022.

Eligible businesses could use the voucher to get technical or advisory services from an approved provider, in order to adopt digital tools and techniques across the business.

Enterprise Support Grant

If you were getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance and are reopening your business, you may qualify for the Enterprise Support Grant.

The grant, worth up to €1,000, is aimed at sole traders who do not pay commercial rates.

To apply, download the COVID-19 ESG 1 application form (pdf) and return it your local Intreo Centre.

Future Growth Loan Scheme

The Future Growth Loan Scheme is available to businesses in Ireland, including those in agriculture and fishing sectors. Loans are available from €25,000 up to €3,000,000 for terms of between 7 and 10 years. The loans have a maximum interest rate of 4.5% and the first €500,000 borrowed can be unsecured. You can get more information on how to apply from the SCBI website.

COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant

You may be eligible for a Business Financial Planning Grant from Enterprise Ireland of up to €5,000 to help you develop a Business Sustainment Plan and to engage the services of an approved Financial Consultant. For more information and to apply contact Enterprise Ireland.

Help for specific industries

Find up to date details of the COVID-19 supports and guidance for businesses and employers on gov.ie.

Rates waiver and tax measures

A number of measures are available to help businesses reduce their operational costs.

Waiving of commercial rates

Rates due to local authorities were waived until the end of March 2022. From 1 April 2022, commercial rates are owed to local authorities as usual.

Contact your Local Authority for further details.

Waiving of licence fees for street furniture

For the remainder of 2022, restaurant and café owners do not have to pay street furniture licence fees for tables and chairs used for outdoor dining.

Reduction of standard rate of VAT

The VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sector will remain at the decreased rate of 9% until the end of August 2022 (extended under the Economic Recovery Plan for Ireland and in Budget 2022).

‘Warehousing’ of tax liabilities

Debts that are warehoused are subject to 0% interest for the warehoused period. The tax debt warehousing scheme was further extended until 30 April 2022. No interest will be payable up to 30 April 2023 and a reduced interest rate of 3% a year will apply from 1 May 2023.

Find more information on the initiatives covering COVID-19 related tax debts in Revenue’s Information Booklet (pdf).

Training and mentoring

Skillnet Ireland is running a number of initiatives aimed at helping small businesses through current business challenges.

The ReBound initiative gives small businesses online training and mentoring on implementing the return to work safely protocol. You can get more information about returning to work safely.

The MentorsWork initiative is a free 8-week mentoring programme to support business recovery and help you sustain and improve your business. There are 300 places available and you can apply at mentorswork.ie.

Support is also available from:

More information

You can get up to date information on the COVID-19 supports and guidance for businesses and employers on gov.ie.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has an Enterprise Information Centre, with information on the Government supports available to businesses affected by COVID-19. Call (01) 631 2002, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm or email: infobusinesssupport@enterprise.gov.ie.

Page edited: 4 July 2022