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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure IE-2020-14/792 – measures in Ireland

COVID-19 working capital loan scheme

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 April 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Measure added 26 April 2020 (updated 03 February 2022)

Background information

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is a state-owned bank, which has been set up after the last financial and economic crisis in 2015. Its objective is to provide access to finance to small and medium sized enterprises.

SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme is intended to assist SMEs and small mid-cap companies (up to 500 employees) to survive the COVID-19 crisis by granting them access to working capital loans from private banks under advantageous terms.

The scheme is offered in partnership with the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine and is supported by the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.

Approval of loans are subject to the participating banks' own credit policies and procedures.

Content of measure

The working capital loan scheme provides loan amounts of between €25,000 to €1.5 million per eligible enterprise. Loans may be unsecured up to €500,000, are of duration of 1 to 3 years and have a maximum interest rate of 4%. Optional interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans.

Loans can be used for future working capital requirements or to fund innovation, change or adaptation of the business to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. They may not be used for any form of refinancing, for example of existing debt.

Access to funding is conditional upon business turnover/profitability being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus by a minimum of 15%. Businesses in the agriculture / aquaculture sectors are outside the scope of the scheme as are businesses in financial difficulties / bankruptcy prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Use of measure

According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, up to 5 March 2021: 4,440 enquiries / applications were received and 3,961 were deemed eligible; 1,001 were approved with a total value of €135.93 million.

According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: 4,292 enquiries / applications were received and 3,837 were deemed eligible. As of 31 December 2020, 958 were approved with a total value of €125.65 million.

As at 30th June 2021, 1,036 loans have progressed to sanction at Bank level to a value of €142.9 million; 910 of these loans were drawn to a value of €114.3 million.

According to COVID-19 and Brexit Business Supports Tracker 2021, 428 loans were approved in phase 2 at a value of €7.77 million.

According to COVID-19 and Brexit Business Supports Tracker 2022, 987 loans were approved at a value of €128.2 million, as of 4 January 2022.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers SMEs
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
EU (Council, EC, EP)
European Funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement as case not in social partner domain No involvement as case not in social partner domain
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions

No involvement.



Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 working capital loan scheme, measure IE-2020-14/792 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.