A €330 million loan scheme has been announced to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including farmers, respond to the changes that Brexit has brought to their trading environment.

The Brexit Impact Loan Scheme (BILS) was launched today (Monday, November 8) by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar.

The €330 million scheme – supported by funds from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) – will offer low-cost loans from €25,000 to €1.5 million for up to six years.

The Irish Farmers Association has previously stated that the loan-repayment timeframe of six years should be extended to 10 years.

Loan applications from businesses that have been approved for eligibility for the BILS by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) can now be made to AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Further detail on eligibility approval can be found on the SBCI website.

Participating BILS lenders must provide for loans with terms of up to six years, for investment and working capital purposes, and to make loans of up to €500k (at a minimum) available without requiring security.

This low-cost lending will help businesses as they respond to the changes Brexit has brought to their trading environment, the DETE said in a statement.

Commenting on the BILS, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said ensuing Ireland’s agri and rural businesses are insulated from the worst effects of Brexit continues to be a key priority for him and government.

“The scheme is a really strong option for many businesses who are seeking access to finance and offers a real choice to those businesses,” he said.

CEO of SBCI, June Butler, said:

“The new and enhanced BILS will support SMEs throughout Ireland as they deal with the challenges of Brexit.”