Head of Enterprise Updates

Kildare LEO available to help local businesses facing unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic


The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has left many businesses in Kildare facing into an uncertain future. Many businesses are facing critical challenges, including temporary ceasing of trading, cash flow and financial difficulties, critical staff continuity options and an uncertain future.

The Local Enterprise Office in Kildare is available to support local businesses in addressing these challenges and is on hand to ensure they are in the strongest position possible in the face of this unprecedented and continuously evolving crisis.

>> On Friday 15th May, the Government approved details of the Restart Grant. This grant is being delivered through the Local Authorities directly. You can make an application for this support through the Kildare County Council website here.

>> On Saturday 9th May,  Minister Heather Humphreys launched The Return to Work Safely Protocol which is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. You can view the Return to Work Safely Protocol document on Gov.ie here. 

>> On Friday 1st May, The government published a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business to ease the COVID-19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society in a phased manner. For details of this recent announcement and to see this roadmap, you can view the publication on Gov.ie here.

>> On Wednesday 8th April, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, announced a major expansion of supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including an expansion of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme and a reduction in the interest rate for Microfinance Ireland loans Read full article here>>> 

The first step for businesses experiencing cash flow difficulties should always be to open communication with your bank. All banks have announced measures which will offer flexibility to customers experiencing difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and may be able to provide loan payment holidays or emergency working capital facilities.

Additional cash flow supports can be accessed through your Local Enterprise Office Kildare:

  • Changes have been made to the MicroFinance Ireland loans available through LEO Kildare. The maximum loan available through the programme has been doubled to up to €50,000 as an immediate measure to deal with the impact on micro-enterprises. The interest rate for loans has been reduced from 6.8% to 4.5%.
  • Businesses may also be eligible for a Business Continuity Voucher through LEO Kildare. The initiative will provide advisory specialists in fields including finance and HR to help develop a lean, robust business strategy as enterprises face an extended period of great uncertainty. Applications are available here and should be submitted to localenterprise@kildarecoco.ie.
  • The Trading Online Voucher provides funding of up to €2,500 towards improving online training capabilities. Businesses who previously benefitted from the Trading Online Voucher Scheme can, from Wednesday 8th April 2020, apply for a second voucher of up to €2,500, with co-funding of 10%.
  • We have also launched a range of online interactive training programmes to support businesses through COVID 19. The courses are free to our clients and places are limited. These courses will all be delivered online via a web link. Click here to see what courses are available.

  • ENTERPRISE IRELAND have launched the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme for retail businesses with MORE THAN 10 employees. The final date for companies to submit an application is 3.00 pm on Wednesday 20th May 2020. Full details of the application process and eligibility criteria can be found on Enterprise Ireland's website, here.

Other Government Supports:

  • The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has put in place a package of business supports – including the Covid-19 Working Capital Loan. This will offer loans of up to €1.5m at reduced rates, with the first €500,000 unsecured. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at www.sbci.gov.ie
  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme is a Government supported product from the banks for small and medium enterprises, providing an 80% guarantee to participating banks. Businesses can apply for loans of up to €1m for terms of up to 7 years from AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank. 
  • €200m Package for Enterprise Supports, including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme, is available through Enterprise Ireland. This is targeted at firms identified as being vulnerable but viable, that need to restructure or transform their business to overcome the challenges presented by Covid-19.

Covid 19 Unemployment Payment

  • Payment has increased to €350 per week
  • Also available to the self-employed
  • Those eligible will receive this payment without having to attend an INTREO office.


Wage subsidy scheme - UPDATE >> 15th April

On 15 April 2020, changes to the Wage Subsidy Scheme were announced. These changes will take effect from 4 May.

  • The subsidy will increase from 70% to 85% for employees with a previous average take home pay below €412 per week
  • The subsidy will be €350 per week for employees with a previous average take home pay between €412 and €500 per week
  • The subsidy remains the same for employees with a previous average take home pay of between €500 and €586 per week
  • A tiered system has been introduced for employees with a previous average take home pay of over €586 and less than €960 per week
  • Employees who were taking home more than €960 per week will be able to avail of the scheme (this change applies from 16 April)

You do not need to re-apply if you have already applied for the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme. 

You can make payroll submissions from 26 March 2020 under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme arrangements on the same basis as for the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, and €410 will be refunded for each eligible employee per week.

You will then be reimbursed for amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue through the payroll process. In general, this will be made within 2 working days after receipt of the payroll submission.

The Revenue Commissioners have urged anyone thinking of rehiring employees to do so before May 4th as it will make the administration of the scheme much easier for them. For businesses who have already availed of the scheme, Revenue may have overpaid the subsidy that the actual business is entitled to. Details of both the reconciliation process and the process for employers to follow when returning excess Wage Subsidy Scheme funds to Revenue will be published in due course. The Revenue have published how the excess subsidy should be repaid and the  banking details on their latest FAQ’s located at www.revenue.ie

Full details on the Wage Subsidy Scheme here:



Deferral of rates

The government has agreed with local authorities that they should defer rates payments due from the most immediately affected businesses, primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, until the end of May.

Businesses are also being advised to be mindful of the supports available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/4cf0e2-covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-employers-and-employees-test/


A full range of supports are available through Local Enterprise Office Kildare, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and to help businesses develop robust plans for financial stability and efficient trading in the face of unprecedent challenges presented by Covid-19.

While all upcoming training events and face to face meetings have been postponed in the interest of public safety, Local Enterprise Office Kildare remains open to assist local businesses with any queries they may have during this difficult time. 

Experts are available to assist with all your queries at 045 980838 or via email at localenterprise@kildarecoco.ie


Please click here for further details on Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses