Review of the Future Growth Loan Scheme
The Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS) was announced in March 2019 to address gaps in long-term lending to Irish SMEs. Initially making available €300m in lending, the scheme was expanded in July 2020 with a further €500m, following rapid uptake by businesses. The FGLS was established with the support of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF).
SQW was commissioned by DETE in October 2021 to undertake an independent Review of the FGLS. Key findings from the Review include:
- FGLS loan finance had been used by businesses to address their specific growth aspirations, with no ‘typical’ activity identified, and the finance often used to support a range of re-enforcing activities.
- Consistent with scheme objectives, the FGLS finance had been used for strategic investments to support and accelerate business growth. The finance had also helped businesses respond to external shocks (including Covid-19 and Brexit) and support the exploitation of digital technologies and environmental sustainability.
- At this early stage, evidence pointed to material benefits for businesses and the economy, including employment and turnover growth, self-reported productivity and competitiveness effects, enhanced relationships (including with the finance community), and improved ability to respond to external challenges.
- The evidence base suggested ongoing strong demand for future long-term lending, including from those businesses that had secured finance from FGLS.
The full report, along with a set of case examples, can be found here.