Five Government Supports for Small Businesses
23 Apr 2020
Those welcoming windows dotted along the main streets of our towns; warm coffee shops and rustic book stores, vibrant florists, family restaurants. The lights shining late in the office spaces of start-ups and small firms; a symbol of the hardworking and courageous who started out on their own.
Small businesses make up the backbone of our community – in many cases they are lifestyle hobbies, dreams built with passion by our neighbours and now, friends. These are the businesses most at risk right now. Some credit unions offer SME support and financial help for struggling businesses. Others will try help in whatever way they can. If you're struggling financially, do contact your local credit union to see how they might help.
We’ve also summarised below a range of Government Agencies’ support that are available to support businesses as they navigate through COVID-19 challenges.
Local Enterprise Office Supports
There are 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland which offer a wide range of experience, skills and services to support business to grow and expand. Local Enterprise offices (“LEO”) provide a range of COVID-19 supports to local businesses. E-mail or telephone your Local Enterprise Office to find out more .
1. Business Continuity Voucher
The new Business Continuity Voucher, available through Local Enterprise Offices, is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The goal is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales. If your application is successful, a qualified expert will be selected by your Local Enterprise Office to work with you on your business continuity plans. The value of this service is up to a maximum of €2,500. Further details include the application process can be accessed here.
2. Mentoring Programme
Under the Local Enterprise Office Mentor Programme, clients work with an experienced mentor to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities when the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end. Mentoring services are now free of charge. Click here for more information.
3. Lean for Micro
LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Under this programme, clients can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert (a qualified practitioner), who will work with the company to introduce lean principles, undertake a specific cost savings project and assist the company in benchmarking its performance. LEAN for Micro can also be used to help implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Click here for more information.
Enterprise Ireland Supports
Enterprise Ireland is the ROI government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. They work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. Enterprise Ireland has specific COVID-19 supports available to business engaged in the export markets which although not directly available to your credit union may be of relevance to certain businesses in your common bond. Please see here for further details of Enterprise Ireland supports that are available.
Support for Employers and Employees
4. The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
This enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer through the payroll system. The scheme is operated by Revenue and is expected to last 12 weeks from 26 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. More information on this scheme here.
5. The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
This is a payment of €350 per week. It is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Click here for more information on this scheme.