Michael Noonan has introduced a range of initiatives to support the SME sector to grow and create jobs.

Mr Noonan said that the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, which is set to be formerly launched at the end of this month, will increase the availability of loans of longer duration along with more flexible conditions.

The Minister also said that the amount of finance that can be raised by a company under the Employment and Investment Incentive will be increased to €5m a year, up to a maximum of €15m. 

He said that investment in the management and operation of nursing homes, medium sized enterprises in non-assisted areas and internationally traded financial services will now qualify under the scheme. 

The inclusion of hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation in the scheme - subject to approval from the European Commission - will be extended for another three years.

The Minster also announced support for exporting companies by improving the Foreign Earnings Deduction.

Changes include extending the list of countries eligible to include Mexico, Chile and other countries in the Middle East and Asia, while travel time will be included to make it easier for smaller companies to send employees on trade missions.