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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-2020-31/1049 – measures in Ireland

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) issue new loan scheme

SBCI Future Growth Loan

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 30 July 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Measure added 28 August 2020 (updated 15 November 2021)

Background information

An existing fund of €300 million for financing SMEs for long-term purposes is being expanded by an additional €500 million in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund had been established in June 2019 and offers loans for seven to ten years with the support of the following national government Departments - Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Agriculture, Food and the Marine - as well as the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS) benefits from a guarantee from the European Union under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

It provides funds through the commercial banks at national level.

Content of measure

FGLS provides loans from €25,000 to a maximum of €3,000,000 per applicant.

Loan terms vary from 7-10 years and unsecured loans are available for up to €500,000. The initial maximum interest rate is 4.5% for loans below €250,000 and 3.5% for loans greater than or equal to €250,000.

Loans can be used for long-term investment. Applicants must choose one of the below loan purposes: Investment in machinery or equipment; Investment in research and development; Investment in business expansion; Investment in premises improvement; Investment in process innovation; Investment in people and/or systems.

Excluded activities are:

  • Finance of specific export operations, or finance contingent upon the use of domestic over imported products. In particular, it should not apply to financing the establishment and operation of a distribution network in other States, or current expenditure linked to the export activity
  • Finance of pure real estate development activity
  • Finance of activities constituting pure financial transactions (e.g. purchase of shares)
  • Loans to undertakings in difficulty
  • Finance of activities forbidden by national or EU law
  • Primary Agriculture (see specific FGLS SME Agriculture Customers section)
  • Refinance to reschedule existing loan or completed project
  • Aid for the acquisition of road freight transport vehicles by undertakings performing road freight transport for hire or reward

Use of measure

According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: 7,812 applications were deemed eligible. As of 31 December 2020, 2,742 loans were sanctioned with a total value of €554.6 million.

According to the COVID-19 and Brexit Business Supports Tracker 2021, 3,440 loans were sanctioned to a value of €725.29 million as at 24 September 2021.

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
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


No social partner role - funding made available from EU and national government sources.

Views and reactions

Not known.



Eurofound (2020), Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) issue new loan scheme, measure IE-2020-31/1049 (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.