Keep your business moving forward
Proudly providing the Government's Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to Irish SMEs
fast and simple finance at our lowest-ever rates
Linked Finance is an approved lender under the Government’s Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.
how does it work
The Credit Guarantee Scheme offers lower-cost lending to businesses affected by Covid-19.
Access fast and flexible working capital or investment funding to help your business recover and prepare for the future.
Start your application online today
Before you start, read our tips for a fuss-free application:
why choose linked finance
Our difference is the way we do business.
We believe in providing business finance that’s simple and fast to access, offers great rates and provides real support every step of the way.
what our customers say
The process was painless, and after providing my documents the decision was made very quickly and the funds were available almost immediately. This is such a useful and flexible alternative to bank lending, which I intend to return to as my business continues to grow.
As our business has grown in recent years, Linked Finance has been there to support us. They understand our business and they are very commercial and attentive to our needs.
frequently asked questions
The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (the “Scheme”) is provided by the Government of Ireland to facilitate lending at discounted rates to Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) adversely impacted by Covid-19. This includes Primary Producers such as Agriculture and Fishing businesses.
The scheme is aimed towards businesses experiencing an adverse impact of at least 15% actual or projected turnover or profit due to Covid 19.
The Scheme provides a state guarantee provided by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to the finance provider of up to 80% of the loan value in the event the loan cannot be repaid by the borrower.
The minimum amount you can borrow with Linked Finance under the Scheme is €10,000. The maximum is €250,000. The loan is at a fixed rate of interest and the term of the loan can be between 12 months and up to 5 years. The loan is repayable in monthly instalments and by direct debit.
The maximum amount of the credit that is permitted to be advanced to a borrower under the Scheme cannot exceed €1m, and will be determined by one of the following three criteria:
- double the annual wage bill of the borrower (including social charges and cost of subcontractors) for 2019 or last year available.
- 25% of the borrower’s total turnover in 2019.
- the amount needed to cover the liquidity needs for the coming 18 months for SMEs (this amount will need further justification).
When working out this maximum loan amount we will need to take into account if you already have a live loan under this Scheme with us or with another provider.
The documents you provide to us as part of your application will help us to determine the maximum amount of credit you can apply for. As part of your application will be asked to provide:
- Last two years’ full accounts
- Most recent 12 months’ bank statements
- Evidence of any overdraft (if applicable)
- Tax Clearance Certificate.
The loan can be used to boost working capital or for capital expenditure for your business. For example, you might use it for:
- improving working capital
- making capital investments in your business
- asset finance (such as the purchase of new machinery, vehicles or information technology)
- expansion capital (which could involve employing new staff to grow your business)
- You can also use it to refinance short term facilities used for Covid-19 expenses.
In some specific circumstances this Scheme can be used to re-finance existing debt facilities, but only where this would have a substantial benefit to the business’ cash flow position and the refinance loan amount cannot be more than 30% of the total new loan.
Incorporated (Limited Company) SME businesses, (those with less than 250 employees and turnover under €50m), or Incorporated (Limited Company) Micro-enterprises (those with less than 10 employees and under €2m turnover) trading at least 2 years with annual turnover in excess of €100,000 can apply for a loan with Linked Finance.
Some conditions apply for all Linked Finance loans. These include:
- If your business is a limited company, it must be registered with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).
- It must have filed accounts with the CRO (if required to do so) at least once and at least half of its directors must be Irish residents.
- Your business must have been actively trading for at least the past two years.
- Your business must meet our minimum credit risk and fraud criteria.
- Your business must not have any outstanding judgements for more than €250.
- In special circumstances, we can support younger companies who have demonstrated strong growth potential over a shorter trading history but this is at Linked Finance’s sole discretion.
In addition, to fulfil the Credit Guarantee Scheme criteria, you will be asked to confirm that:
- Your business has, or is projected to have, a reduction of minimum 15% in your turnover or profitability as a result of Covid-19.
- The business was a viable business and was not in financial difficulty before 31 December 2019 (see FAQ “What is the definition of financial difficulty?”)
- The business can return to viability in the future.
- The business is not bankrupt nor is it in the process of being wound up or having its affairs administered by the courts.
- The business has not exceeded the total amount it is allowed to borrow / receive as a grant under this Scheme and other schemes provided by Government, Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland and county enterprise boards.
Businesses from certain limited sectors or industries are not eligible for the Credit Guarantee Scheme. Please refer to FAQ “Which business sectors are not eligible” for more information.
Sole Traders and Partnerships are unfortunately not eligible for Linked Finance’s Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.
Once we receive your application we will go through all the eligibility criteria in more detail.
A few certain sectors or industries are not eligible to apply for a loan under the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.
- Extraction of crude petroleum
- Extraction of natural gas
- Support activities for petroleum and natural gas extraction
- Manufacture of tobacco products
- Manufacture of weapons and ammunition
- Manufacture of military fighting vehicles
- Construction of buildings
- Construction of residential and non-residential buildings
- Buying and selling of own real estate
- Gambling and betting activities
- Monetary intermediation
If you’re not sure, the list of eligible business sectors by NACE code can be checked on the SBCI’s website.
Businesses that were in financial difficulty as at 31 December 2019 are not eligible to apply for lending under this scheme.
SME businesses only need fulfil one of these criteria to be in difficulty:
- had accumulated losses greater than half of their subscribed share capital (for limited liability companies) or capital (for unlimited liability companies);
- had entered into collective insolvency proceedings or fulfilled the criteria to be put into collective insolvency proceedings;
- had not received rescue aid (within the meaning of the Temporary Framework), or to the extent that it had received rescue aid, it has reimbursed the relevant loan and/or terminated the relevant guarantee (which constituted such rescue aid) upon or prior to entering into the Loan
- had not received restructuring aid (within the meaning of the Temporary Framework) or, to the extent that it had received restructuring aid, it is not subject to a restructuring plan upon or prior to entering into the Loan.
Micro-enterprises which were already in difficulty on 31 December 2019 are eligible provided that they are not subject to collective insolvency procedures under national law and that they have not received rescue aid, which is not yet fully repaid, or restructuring aid or alternatively, if any restructuring aid was received, it remains subject to a restructuring arrangement.
To ensure you get a fair interest rate on a Linked Finance Credit Guarantee Scheme loan, the rate you pay is always determined by our credit evaluation process. Our rates are determined by the credit grade awarded and the term of the loan.
Our rates start at 4.75% p.a.
First, start off your application by filling in the online application page.
We will call you back to go through the scheme in more detail and go through the eligibility criteria in more detail.
To complete your application you will need to provide supporting documentation.
- Last 12 months’ bank statements,
- 2 years’ full business accounts
- Evidence of any overdraft
- A tax clearance certificate
In some instances we may need to ask for more information but we commit to do this as quickly and simply as possible.
Once we have this documentation we can commence the credit review. If you are successful, we will tell you the loan grade we have assigned and the relevant interest rate. At that point you can decide if you would like to proceed with the loan.
Once you have accepted the loan offer and provided documentation to verify your address and identity, the loan will be funded and you will be able to draw down your funds.
We like to work with speed to get you your funds as quickly as possible, so you will have a named account manager to see you through every step of the process.
Linked Finance will charge you a success fee if the loan goes ahead. This fee is 3.0% of the loan amount requested.
In addition, the borrower contributes to the cost of the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme by paying a risk premium on the loan value. This premium is separate from, and is in addition to, the cost of the credit advanced. We collect this premium as part of each direct debit and we will pay this to the Government on your behalf.
The premium rate for SMEs that will apply will depend the length of time for which the credit is being advanced, as per the table below:
|Duration of Facility||1 year||2 year||3 year||4 year||5 year|