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Government Brexit Programmes, Funds & Supports

Published: 20 February 2020
From: Department of the Taoiseach

Brexit represents a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, which can’t be underestimated. That’s why Government, working with industry bodies and business groups, started preparing supports for business from the time Brexit first became a possibility. Government’s priority is to ensure that businesses right around the country can manage risks and maximise growth opportunities. This has informed the range of advisory and financial supports that are in place.

An overview of the range of supports available and where you can find further details is below.

There is an ongoing calendar of Government events across the country. For details of upcoming events in your sector or locality, please visit here . You can also sign up to the weekly Government Brexit update , which outlines the latest developments on Brexit preparations, outreach and supports.

Assessing your Brexit readiness

As a first key step, there are a number of tools that businesses can use to self-assess their Brexit readiness and identify what areas of their businesses might be most impacted or need the most attention.

For companies in any sector: Use Enterprise Ireland's Brexit Scorecard to get an overall sense of your preparedness

For those in food, drink or horticulture: Use the Bord Bia Brexit Barometer

For those in tourism: Use Fáilte Ireland’s Brexit Readiness Check

Getting advice

There is a broad range of programmes and advisory supports in place depending on your specific business needs.

For all businesses: InterTradeIreland’s Brexit Advisory Service provides a range of practical advice, support and information for businesses on Brexit related issues.

For small and micro businesses: The Local Enterprise Office network is running a nationwide Brexit Mentor Programme to support business owners and managers.

For those who export: Enterprise Ireland is running Brexit Advisory Clinics across the country as well as a series of Brexit Webinars with information and key tips that will help your business mitigate some of the risks of Brexit.

If you work in food, drink, fisheries or horticulture: Bord Bia’s Brexit Barometer provides information on supply chain, currency, customs and international market diversification opportunities for the sector.

The new National Food Innovation Hub at the Teagasc Moorepark Campus provides infrastructure, expertise and opportunities to SMEs to innovate and engage in research activities in an affordable way.

In addition to the current supports open to the Irish seafood sector, Bord Iascaigh Mhara has a range of supports for seafood businesses to prepare for Brexit. Companies can avail of specific mentoring and consultancy of up to two days to help develop their Brexit strategy to mitigate associated risks. To apply for the Brexit Support Programme, please email brexit@bim.ie .

If you work in tourism: Fáilte Ireland’s Brexit Response Programme is designed to help you diversify your source markets, to address issues around Great Britain market retention and to enhance your skills and capabilities across a wide range of business functions.

Any company considering a market diversification strategy should be aware that companies in Ireland have access to the benefits of the full range of EU Free Trade Agreements, including those recently concluded with Japan, Singapore and Canada. The EUs Free Trade Agreements with third countries help to open new markets, break down barriers and provide new opportunities for Irish based firms. In particular, agri-food businesses who often face the toughest barriers in exporting to third Countries. Brexit has reinforced the importance of accelerating the delivery of EU trade deals with leading economies and regional blocs. Further information is available here .

Managing currency risk

As part of its dedicated Getting Brexit Ready programme, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has published guidance on Currency Risk Management for Irish SMEs . Further guidance and tools for managing currency exposure are available here .

Financial supports

In response to Brexit, a number of financial supports have been introduced to help address the challenges that it presents for Irish business. These include:

  • InterTradeIreland's Start to Plan vouchers, which provide up to €2,250 for SMEs to source professional advice/training to prepare for Brexit. Valued at €5,625, with ITI paying 50%, it allows businesses to implement critical changes and strengthen their preparation for the new trading relationship ahead.
  • Skillnet Ireland’s Clear Customs initiative, which offers immediate and free customs training to customs intermediaries, and to businesses who frequently trade with or through the UK.
  • Cashflow may be impacted by Brexit and businesses should consider applying for a working capital loan through the Brexit Loan Scheme through which eligible businesses can secure loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million, including unsecured loans up to €500,000, for terms of up to three years and a maximum interest rate of 4%.
  • The Local Enterprise Office network offers a range of supports including a Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters grant, which supports businesses to develop new export market opportunities.
  • Enterprise Ireland's Be Prepared Grant offers up to €5,000 to assist exporting client companies to develop a plan to deal with Brexit and the Market Discovery Fund, which supports companies to research viable and sustainable new market entry strategies.
  • The Future Growth Loan Scheme , which makes up to €300 million of loans available to support strategic investment by SMEs, in a post-Brexit environment. The scheme offers loans with terms of 8-10 years and is open to eligible Irish businesses, including those in the primary agriculture and seafood sectors.
  • The Online Retail Scheme through which eligible SMEs can secure funding of up to €25,000 to develop a more competitive online offer. The total fund size is up to €1.25 million. The most recent call for proposals closed on 31 July with the awards to be announced shortly. You can find more information on the Scheme here .

Upskilling supports

A range of supports to upskill staff within your business have been developed across key areas to address the challenges of Brexit including customs clearance, supply chain management, and marketing. These include:

Customs and supply chain

  • Skillnet Ireland’s Clear Customs initiative offers immediate and free customs training to customs intermediaries, and to businesses who frequently trade with or through the UK.
  • Enterprise Ireland’s Customs Insights , a 45 minute online course available to all businesses which aims to give companies a good understanding of the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed after the transition period.
  • The Local Enterprise Offices run one-day customs workshops throughout the country, which aim to provide businesses with a better understanding of the potential impacts, formalities and procedures when trading with the UK after the transition period. Visit LocalEnterprise.ie to register.
  • Enterprise Ireland’s Act On Initiative , a customised programme to help eligible companies develop an action plan for Brexit focusing on the areas of financial and currency management, strategic sourcing, and customs and logistics.
  • Bord Bia offers training in customs and tariffs, currency risk and supply chain management tailored for the needs of the food and drink sector. Bord Bia’s supply chain strategy guide and the logistics service provider directory aim to support businesses to identify operations partners, establish more efficient distribution channels or routes and identify possible strategies for managing Brexit.

Other training supports

Businesses can also avail of existing training supports through:

  • Their local Regional Skills Forum which helps employers to connect with the range of services and supports available across the education and training system. Contact your Regional Skills Fora manager to explore your options.
  • The Skillnet Ireland Network which works with businesses across a range of sectors to meet existing and emerging skills needs.
  • Springboard + which offers free/subsidised higher level courses in a range of areas such as business development and logistics/supply chain management.
  • Participation in the Logistics or Retail sector apprenticeship programmes. For further information visit the Apprenticeship Council .
  • Enterprise Ireland’s GradStart programme which supports client companies in the recruitment of highly skilled graduates to develop and grow their business for two years. Where a company has a clear requirement for a graduate with language proficiency, 70% of individual graduate salary costs are covered.

Further information on these training and upskilling supports is available from Getting Business Brexit Ready: Upskilling .

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