The COVID-19 crisis has put companies under immense pressure, with job losses and uncertainty about what lies ahead.
Údarás na Gaeltachta has been in direct contact with Gaeltacht businesses to support them and their staff during this period. Working with other Government Departments, Agencies and State Colleagues on an integrated State approach to COVID-19, the Údarás is committed to ensuring that our clients and subsidiaries are informed and up to date with regards to available supports.
Our main advice to all our stakeholders is to follow the guidelines issued by the Public Health Authorities nationally and internationally as well as relevant Government Departments. The current advice on COVID-19 can be found at the following links:
To support the reopening of Gaeltacht businesses over the coming weeks, seminars, online resources and specific building trade solutions are being provided on an ongoing basis. Many Gaeltacht businesses have restructured their skills and processes to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can find out more about the return to work protocol here:
The Údarás provides advice to its clients on contingency planning – financial planning and recovery strategy. Gaeltacht businesses are being encouraged to avail of the COVID-19 support schemes available through Údarás na Gaeltachta as set out below.
Údarás na Gaeltachta works closely with Enterprise Ireland (EI) to ensure that all support schemes available through EI are available to Údarás na Gaeltachta’s client companies. This is done directly or if necessary through partnership with EI.
The following are the supports available to eligible companies to help them address the business problems arising from COVID-19:
The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is a support for Údarás na Gaeltachta clients who have 10 or more full-time employees. It is aimed at international trade or manufacturing service companies and is provided in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. This grant will assist businesses in developing a robust financial plan, including the preparation of required documentation to back up external applications to banks and / or other financial providers. The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is worth up to € 5,000 and will enable companies to access external support from approved financial advisers to prepare a financial plan to protect the company in the short to medium term.
The financial plan will enable the business to:
Under the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, High Potential Startups (HPSUs) can apply for a collective investment of €50,000 per business in the form of equity or debt instruments. The fund is open to companies where Údarás na Gaeltachta has already made equity investments at the seed stage of the HPSU, which has demonstrated commercialisation before the COVID-19 crisis and can demonstrate the need for additional funding. This fund is available to HPSU Gaeltacht businesses and is operated in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland.
The purpose of the fund is to sustain eligible manufacturing and internationally traded services companies to provide support to companies: who have been impacted by a 15% or more reduction in actual or projected turnover or profit; and require access to liquidity to sustain business continuity. This fund will provide a €25,000 to €50,000 short term working capital injection to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and strengthen their ability to return to growth and be trading strongly in 3 years’ time.
The objectives of the fund are to provide financial support (against detailed costs and cashflows) to eligible companies for a 3-month period to support business continuity and sustain business so that companies can return to viability and contribute to the recovery of the Irish economy.
The €180m Sustaining Enterprise Fund is specifically targeted at all companies with 10+ employees affected by COVID-19 but still viable. The fund is available to eligible Údarás na Gaeltachta clients and will be operated in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. Advance payments, which need to be repaid, up to €800,000, as agreed with the EU under the new State Aid rules, will be provided, as well as leveraged loans from financial markets, and €500m of additional investment for viable but vulnerable bodies. These grants will only be repayable if and when the business is back in financial health.
The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies (10+ employees) (including High Potential Startup companies) to access up to €2,500 for training or advisory support services for the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. The service can take the form of management advice or training for management or company staff or a combination of both.
Companies can access support from a list of approved service providers. The service emphasises the operations of the company in terms of:
The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is open to small, medium or large client companies (including High Potential Startup) of Údarás na Gaeltachta and is provided in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland.
The Credit Guarantee Scheme provides loan supports of up to €1 million for periods up to 7 years. Údarás na Gaeltachta is advising companies on making applications to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.
Micro-enterprises can access COVID-19 loans of up to € 50,000 from MicroFinance Ireland. The new COVID-19 loan includes an option for a moratorium on interest and repayments for the first six months. Loans are available at interest rates of between 4.5% and 5.5%. Clients of Údarás na Gaeltachta as well as other Gaeltacht businesses can apply directly to microfinanceireland.ie after consulting with a development executive of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
The new COVID-19 online retail scheme is suitable for retailers employing over ten people. The purpose of the scheme is to support companies in the indigenous retailer sector with an online presence to meet the demand from domestic and international customers for competitive online offers. Successful applications will be funded to support a maximum of 80% of project costs. Grants of €10,000 to €40,000 will be made under this competitive scheme. Údarás na Gaeltachta is advising and supporting Gaeltacht companies in preparing applications for the scheme run by Enterprise Ireland.
The Online Trading Scheme is being provided in order to increase the number of Gaeltacht businesses trading online and to increase Gaeltacht business sales online. This scheme has been a valuable support to businesses big and small in recent years and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance their capability to trade ‘online’ and, as a result of this, to stabilise and develop the employment foundation during this period.
Under the Online Trading Scheme a maximum grant of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenses, excluding VAT, whichever is lower, is available to eligible businesses to develop and strengthen their ability to trade ‘online’.
The Business Continuity Voucher is worth up to €2,500 and can be used by companies and sole traders, employing up to 50 people, towards the cost of third-party consultancy to develop a short-term and long-term strategy for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustainability is the main focus of most small businesses at the moment and it is therefore vital that the right decisions are made. For those who get a voucher they have access to contingency plan advice to help them keep trading through the crisis and prepare for the recovery phase. The voucher also helps businesses prepare a business case to apply for emergency financial interventions through the banks. The voucher supports a range of different sectors, depending on the needs of each business, but includes significant policies such as preparing a business case for emergency funding applications, developing a business continuity plan, reducing variable costs, reviewing and exploring supply chain finance options , implementation of remote working processes and procedures and access to HR and Information and Communication Technology expertise.
Support will be available to client companies that export and whose business is affected by the virus. The initiative provides 2 no-cost company consultancy days to support companies build their strengths in three business areas: Financial Management, Strategic Sourcing and Transportation and Logistics.
The Mentoring Scheme provides support through a business mentor who assists businesses in the business start-up phase or advises on specific areas of the business plan – which is critical at this time. Údarás na Gaeltachta officers liaise directly with each client to provide support, inform them of the best supports available to them and assist them in their application.
Gaeltacht businesses are advised to contact Údarás na Gaeltachta directly by phone or email in order to discuss their proposals with a Development Executive to ensure that the appropriate support package is selected.
COVID-19 support schemes will continue until the end of 2020 as with all other national schemes. Údarás na Gaeltachta has a range of its own schemes to support companies in their future development (Capital Investment, Marketing, Innovation and Competitiveness).
Údarás staff are available at any time to discuss with you the best way to support your company, please contact us.
Head Office, Galway: 091-503100
Donegal Regional Office: 074-9560100
Mayo Regional Office: 097-81418
Kerry Regional Office: 066-9150100
Cork Regional Office: 026-45366