The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme for small and medium businesses has been extended the end of June, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said today.
Low-cost loans will continue to be available to Irish SMEs through a wide range of lenders including three banks, six non-bank finance providers and 19 credit unions.
Unsecured loans of up to €250,000, at reduced interest rates are available to SMEs, primary producers and companies employing less than 500 people.
Since it was set up in September 2020, the scheme has approved loans to more than 9,000 businesses - the fastest deployment of such a level of lending to businesses in the history of the state.
The continuation of the scheme for another six months will provide options for small businesses who need increased liquidity as they move toward a changed but more stable trading environment.
The Tánaiste said he estimates that over 63,000 jobs have been maintained which would otherwise have been at risk without the scheme.
"The extension of this scheme will give business a level of certainty that if they need liquidity, they will be able to access low-cost loans, unsecured up to €250,000. This will help business react to ongoing developments and take advantage of any opportunities over the coming months," Leo Varadkar said.
"In the aftermath of the last recession, access to credit for viable but vulnerable businesses was a huge problem. Businesses failed that might have survived, jobs were lost and even businesses that were doing well could not get the loans they needed to expand or invest," Mr Varadkar said.
"The picture is very different today. This ensures easier access to credit, lower interest rates and longer repayment periods for business than would otherwise be the case," he added.