The new Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), a multi-funded strategic bank, was launched by the government on Friday. The aim of the state-backed scheme is to make lending available to small and medium sized businesses.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin launched the scheme in a ceremony in Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park, Dublin. German finance minister and the head of the European Investment Bank (EIB) were also in attendance.
The new SBCI will make an initial €800 million available for SMEs to borrow money at more favourable terms, allow for longer term loans, and to support expansion and job creation. Mr Noonan said “we have big plans for the SBCI and it will be a key source of funding for years to come”.
Initially the SBCI will be jointly funded by €150m from German Bank KFW, €400m from the European Investment Bank (EIB), and €240 from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).
The scheme is designed to help restart lending to SMEs and could facilitate up to €5 billion in lending to the SME sector over 5 years. Taoiseach Endy Kenny said “it will finance SMEs in first instance but can grow to finance other key sectors of the economy.”
Ireland’s SME sector has suffered a squeeze on credit and investment. SMEs can begin accessing the loan scheme from December this year and it will be administered by AIB and Bank of Ireland.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said “I am confident the SBCI will help improve the economic situation and labour market in Ireland and contribute to Europe.” EIB president Werner Hoyer said the scheme could be a model for other European countries.
The 19th of September 2014 is e-Day, the date from which Government Departments, Local Authorities and State Agencies will no longer use cheques in their dealings with businesses. e-Day was launched in September 2013, 12 months before it takes effect, to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements and to give both the various public sector bodies and affected businesses plenty of time to make arrangements for paying electronically.
Ireland is one of only a few EU Member States that still makes use of cheques as a regular payment method. The particular focus of e-Day is to encourage SMEs to migrate from cheque usage, as they are either issuers or receivers of more than 60% of all cheques in Ireland. It is hoped that moving from cheques to electronic payments will result in reduced costs and improved cash-flow for the overall business sector.
Businesses that currently pay public bodies by cheque will therefore need to check with them what alternative options will be accepted. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Direct Debit and Payment Card options are among the alternatives that will be offered by Government Departments, State Agencies and Local Authorities.
Very few things in life are free so why not avail of a free event to help your business. If you own or manage a small business or are thinking of starting your own business you should visit www.takingcareofbusiness.ie to register as places are limited.
Speakers on the day will include representatives from National Employment Rights Authority, Companies Registration Office, Department of Social Protection, Enterprise Ireland, Revenue as well as many others. Please see the eflyer for full details - https://www.takingcareofbusiness.ie/eflyer.pdf
Printworks Conference Centre, Dublin Castle
22nd October 2013 8.30am to 2.30pm
Initiative of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation
The Government has developed a Microfinance Fund to assist start-up and growing enterprises across all sectors with 10 or less employees. Loans of €25,000 are available to companies considered to be commercially viable even though they may not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by commercial banks. Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have been refused credit by a commercial lending institution before their application is considered.
The new fund will generate €90 million in new lending to 5,500 micro enterprises which will support 7,700 new jobs. Borrowers will pay a commercial interest rate. For more information see www.microfinanceireland.ie.
Legislation aimed at protecting undocumented migrant workers is being progressed as a priority by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
The proposed legislation will address, amongst other matters, an important legal issue identified in a recent High Court decision. In August 2012, the High Court overturned a Rights Commissioner's award of over €91,000 in favour of a foreign national employed as a restaurant worker.
The Court found that the employee’s contract of employment was substantively illegal in the absence of the appropriate employment permit and that he was therefore not entitled to the award.
The proposed legislation will protect migrant workers whose employment in Ireland is unlawful by reason of not having a work permit. The Department recently confirmed that it is expected that the Bill will be published in the first quarter of this year.