A Guide to Applying for Irish Government Support

This guide provides information on how the government in Ireland is offering support to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how you can access that aid.

Businesses all across Ireland are grappling with the challenges posed by COVID-19. In response to these turbulent times, the government has developed a package of programs to support Irish businesses as well as to stimulate the Irish economy.

These programs consist of a variety of initiatives designed to support a range of business needs, such as fostering investment, boosting business growth, and eliminating the need for layoffs.

Programs at a glance

Please note, the following information is meant to serve as a guide. Please check with official government sources (listed below) to obtain the most up-to-date and accurate information on Irish government support programs.


Working capital loans for businesses

SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme

The SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Loan can help businesses avoid layoffs and offset other costs that keep business afloat. This loan can be used for future working capital or to support necessary business changes as a result of COVID-19.


Your business must:

How to apply

  1. Complete the Eligibility Application Form to determine if you are eligible.

  2. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive a letter of confirmation from the SBCI. You’ll need to present this letter to the bank you request a loan from when you apply.

  3. You can apply for a loan through AIB, Bank of Ireland, and Ulster Bank.

Helping SMEs secure credit

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

In these difficult times, securing funding as an SME can mean the difference between survival and having to close the doors. With the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, SMEs won’t be required to provide collateral or risk mitigating their credit when attempting to receive support.

This scheme is for companies who are facing difficulties obtaining credit due to three factors:

  1. Have inadequate collateral

  2. Are involved in a new business market, sector, or technology that is deemed a high risk

  3. Need to refinance due to the exit of their lender from the Irish market

This particular scheme offers a variety of solutions for SMEs, so make sure you ask your participating lender to explain the options.


Qualified SMEs that are interested in applying for this scheme can do so through a participating lender. Lenders will have the final say in the loan amount as well as any other decisions around lending.

How to apply

Contact one of the participating lenders: Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, and AIB

Supporting employers to retain employees

Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

Below is the breakdown of subsidies based on average net pay per week:

Net Pay Per Week
(on average)
Subsidy Percentage Subsidy Maximum
Less than €412/week 85% of previous weekly net income €350/week
Between €500 and €586/week 70% of previous weekly net income €410/week
Excess of €586/week
(tiered system)
Up to 60% of previous average net weekly income

Between 60% and 80% of employee’s previous average net weekly income

More than 80% of employee’s average net weekly pay
Up to €350/week

Up to €205/week

No subsidy payable

For more information about the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, visit the Ireland government website.


Employers who can verify a loss of at least 25% of their trade are eligible for this loan.

If you’re a self-employed person and pay yourself as a PAYE worker through your payroll, you can apply for this scheme. However, if you don’t pay yourself as a PAYE worker, consider applying for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

How to apply

For additional information on this scheme or to submit your application, visit the Ireland government website.

Sustaining business in manufacturing and international services

Sustaining Enterprise Fund

How to apply

To apply for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund loan, companies will need to provide the following:

If your company meets the above requirements, contact your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor to start your application.

For more information on this scheme, visit the Enterprise Ireland website.

Supplying microbusinesses with working capital

Microfinance Ireland Loans

The Microfinance Ireland Loan is for businesses that estimate a reduction of 15% or more in annual or projected turnover or profit and are having a challenging time securing financial assistance from commercial lending institutions.

This loan offers financial assistance in various amounts from €5,000 to €50,000, which can be used for working capital and other essential business shifts as a result of the pandemic.

How to apply

Set up an appointment with your local enterprise office or register on the Microfinance Ireland website.

When applying, be sure to have the following information ready:

If you need help with your application, there are 31 LEOs available to assist. To find the location closest to you, visit their website.

Helping SMEs and mid-caps invest for long-term business growth

Future Growth Loan Scheme

The Future Growth Loan Scheme through the Government of Ireland and supported by the EIB Group, will provide up to €300 million of loans with a term of 8-10 years. The loans range from €100,000 (€50,000 for farmers) to a maximum of €3 million, with unsecured loans up to €500,000 per applicant.

How to apply

  1. Apply for eligibility through the SBCI website. If you’re deemed eligible, you’ll be issued an eligibility reference number.

  2. Apply for a loan with a participating financial provider using your eligibility reference number.

For those interested in applying for a loan that exceeds €250,000, you’re required to provide a Business Plan with your application.


Assisting small businesses with long- and short-term growth

€2,500 Business Continuity Voucher

How to apply

  1. Download the application form through the Local Enterprise Office website.

  2. Complete and email your application directly to your LEO as an attachment. To find your LEO’s email address, visit the LEO location finder website.

  3. Your LEO will confirm receipt of your application. Once they’ve assessed it, they will notify you if you’ve been approved for the voucher.

If you need assistance with the €2,500 Business Continuity Voucher application or if you have questions, contact your local LEO.

Supporting online growth opportunities for retailers

COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme


Those who qualify may use the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme to create a compelling online offer to support their business. These funds could cover services such as research and development, consultancy costs, implementation, training, and more.

In addition to the requirements listed above, eligible businesses must also:

For more eligibility details, visit the Enterprise Ireland website.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted through the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System during the call open dates, which are to be confirmed.

For the latest information on application scoring, visit the Enterprise Ireland website.


Supporting financial planning

COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant

The COVID-19 Financial Planning Grant is designed to help businesses create a strategic financial plan in response to COVID-19. This includes preparing the documents required to apply for external financial assistance from banks or other providers, including Enterprise Ireland.

For more information, visit the Enterprise Ireland website.

To apply, contact your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor or the COVID-19 Business Response Unit by emailing businessresponse@enterprise-ireland.com.

Training and advisory assistance

Lean Business Continuity Voucher

The Lean Business Continuity Voucher provides assistance to businesses in the form of up to €2,500 worth of training or advisory services. These services help businesses stay operational during the pandemic.

For a full breakdown of eligible programs this voucher covers—and to apply—visit the Enterprise Ireland website.

Strategic Consultancy Grant

The Strategic Consultancy Grant is meant to help offset the expense of hiring strategic business consultants who help SMEs sustain business growth. This grant will cover up to 50% of the costs associated with hiring a consultant to a maximum grant amount of €35,000.

What’s unique about this grant is that businesses may not use it towards normal operating costs—such as PR, marketing, legal, or other financial expenses. This grant may only be used for strategic support.

For more information about this grant, as well as how to apply, visit the Enterprise Ireland website.

Other useful resources for businesses

Tax relief information

Irish Government COVID-19 Resource Page

Irish Government Daily COVID-19 Updates