News & Events

€300 million Future Growth Loan Scheme for SMEs and Farmers open for applications

  • Scheme to support strategic long-term investment in a post Brexit environment.
  • SMEs and farmers can apply for loan eligibility from today. At least 40% available to the agri-food sector.
  • Loans of up to €3 million available. Maximum rate of 4.5% for loans of up to €250,000; 3.5% for larger loans.
  • Scheme administered for Ministers Humphreys’ and Creeds’ Departments by Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) an agency of Minister Donohoe’s Department.
  • Scheme delivered in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and the European Commission.

Dublin, Ireland, 17 April 2019 Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today (April 17) announced that the Future Growth Loan Scheme to allow for the roll out of €300 million in funding to eligible Irish SMEs including farmers is now open for applications.
Businesses can apply for loan eligibility through the SBCI from today. Three finance providers have agreed to participate in the Scheme and negotiations are ongoing with another two.

Minister Humphreys said “The UK’s departure from the EU may have been delayed but investment in innovation and diversification remains important for business. This Scheme has been developed to address the lack of long term financing options on the marketplace. The low interest rate, and the fact that no collateral is needed for loans of less than €500,000 make this scheme a very attractive support for businesses who want to invest for their future. I strongly encourage firms to start the application process with SBCI. The process has been designed to be as simple as possible”.
Minister Humphreys continued: “I’m very pleased at the level of interest we have received from finance providers. It is likely that we will have five banks offering the Scheme – which means more choice for Irish businesses.”

This scheme is available to eligible Irish SMEs including farmers and the agri-food & seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment in a post Brexit environment.

The new EIF support for business investment in Ireland is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.


Note to Editors

About the Future Growth Loan Scheme

The Future Growth Loan Scheme, which was announced in the 2019 budget will provide affordable financing to Irish businesses and the primary agriculture and seafood sectors to support strategic long-term investment in a post Brexit environment.

The Scheme, which will be delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through commercial lenders makes €300 million available to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees. The initial maximum interest rate is capped at 4.5% for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5% for loans more than or equal to €250,000 for the first six months. The rates thereafter are variable and will be dependent on the cost of funds at that point in time, however the credit margin component of the price has been capped. These rates represent a significant saving compared with the prevailing rates that are otherwise being offered for similar loans on the market.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme features a two-stage application process. Applications for eligibility under the scheme will be made through the SBCI website. The SBCI will assess the applications and those successful will be issued an eligibility reference number.
Eligible businesses will then be able to apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using the eligibility reference number. Approval of loans are subject to the finance providers’ own credit policies and procedures.

Loan features:
• Loan amount from €100,000 (€50,000 for primary agriculture) up to a maximum of €3,000,000
• Loan term from a minimum of 8 years to a maximum of 10 years
• Loans less than €500,000 will be unsecured
• Interest rate of 4.5% for loans up to €249,999 and 3.5% and less for loans greater than or equal to €250,000.
Loans can be used for:
• Investment in tangible or intangible assets to increase productivity and/or efficiency, set up a new establishment or the extension of an existing one.
• Investment in diversification into new additional products or a change in a production process.
• Investment in tangible or intangible assets for process and organisational innovation.
• Investment in tangible and intangible assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production.(excludes purchase of land (other than site costs) or livestock)
• Investment in connection with the processing and marketing of agricultural products

This Scheme is supported by an agreement with the EIF, and SBCI have signed to support lending toward small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as small Mid-caps. This agreement allows SBCI to provide guarantees to lenders financing companies in Ireland for a total of €300 million over the next three years with the support of a counter-guarantee provided by the EIF.

About EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on EIF's work under EFSI is available here.

About the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)

As Ireland’s promotional financial institution, the SBCI’s goal is to ensure access to lower cost longer term funding for Irish SMEs by facilitating the provision of:
• Lower cost funding to finance providers, the benefit of which is passed on to SMEs and which enhances competition in the SME lending market
• Risk-sharing and guarantees that enhance access to finance for SMEs and farmers and that address specific market failures
• Sourcing and delivering EU funding.

All of these elements create a more competitive and dynamic environment for SME finance. The SBCI is a vital part of the country’s financial architecture. By taking a fresh approach to providing access to lower cost finance for SMEs in Ireland, the SBCI is actively supporting the long-term potential of the sector to drive economic growth and create jobs.

About the Juncker Plan

The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called "Juncker Plan", is one of the European Commission's top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides a first loss guarantee, allowing the EIB to invest in more, often riskier, projects. The EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise more than €194 billion in investments and support over 426,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For more information please contact or ph: (01) 6312200
If you no longer wish to receive emails from the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation Press Office, please notify us by email to