Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, Martin Heydon, has advised SMEs to apply for funding from their bank following news that €800 million in funding is being made available to lenders through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI).

“SMEs should know that there is a new opportunity for them to access credit that could help them expand and create jobs. The Government has announced that €800 million in funding is being made available to SMEs through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). This dates back to last year when the Government oversaw Ireland’s successful exit from the EU/IMF Bailout. It was decided then that Ireland would establish a State owned source of funding similar to the successful model operated in Germany.

“SMEs really stand to benefit from this increased funding being made available through the banks. Better still, this is low cost funding for businesses, meaning credit will be available at a better rate than they might currently get from their bank. The first loans should be available to SMEs by the end of this year, so businesses should really start thinking about their applications now.

“I encourage the Small Firms Association, Chambers Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and all other stakeholders to help promote this initiative to small businesses needing capital.

“It is also important that SMEs don’t just give up if they fail to receive the funding they seek from their banks. There is always the option of a review with the bank in question, and if this fails, they can approach the Credit Review Office, which is overturning over 50% of refused bank loans.

“With supports like this, the Government is really doing everything it can to support SMEs. They are a major focus of our successful Action Plan for Jobs which has seen over 70,000 people employed since its launch two years ago. The Local Enterprise Offices are a one stop shop for businesses to avail of information and credit such as the Micro Enterprise Loan Fund and the Seed Capital Scheme. The Government also recently highlighted opportunities for SMEs to win business thought the public procurement process.

“I strongly encourage businesses to apply for capital from their banks now that this €800 million in funding is being made available. I am pleased to say that this funding is not a one off, as over €5 billion will be made available to SMEs through the SBCI over the next five years. This is about long term support and encouragement of SMEs as the Government knows how crucial they are for job creation.”