Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme

A long-term low-cost scheme to support eligible businesses, including farmers and fishers, when investing in climate action and environmental sustainability.

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The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme (GSLS) is established and offered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and benefits from a guarantee that has been provided by the European Investment Fund (EIF), with support from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

A guarantee fee is payable by the borrower and will be incorporated into the overall interest rate collected by the bank, payable to SBCI.

It will run until 30 June 2026 or until it is fully subscribed, whichever occurs first.

 

Loan Purpose

The scheme provides SMEs and Small Mid-Caps*, including farmers and fishers, with long-term financing to improve their performance in terms of climate action and environmental sustainability.

*Please see Who can Apply tab for full definition of SMEs and Small Mid-Caps

 

Loans for Climate Action and Environmental Sustainability

These loans are long-term investment towards climate action and environment sustainability.

Businesses wishing to invest in climate action and environmental sustainability must be categorised as one of the following:

  • Investment in green/sustainable measures
  • Any investment by SMEs/Small Mid-Caps classified as a Green / Sustainable Enterprise
  • Any investment by farmers classified as a holder of a Green Eco Label

Loan Features

  • Loan amounts from €25,000 to a maximum of €3,000,000 per borrower (loan amounts are dependent on aid intensity and State aid thresholds)
  • Loan terms from 7 years up to a maximum of 10 years
  • Security may be required for loans above €500,000
  • Loans may only be used for long-term investment in climate action and environmentally sustainable measures
  • Loans are available up to 30 June 2026 or until the scheme has been fully subscribed (whichever is earlier)
  • Variable interest rate loans 1
  • Interest only option 2

 

Representative Examples

Loans < €250,000

A Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme facility of €100,000 at a variable rate of 5.312% over a 7 year term will require 84 monthly repayments of €1,426.99. The total cost of credit is €19,867.16

Loans => €250,000

A Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme facility of €300,000 at a variable rate of 3.772% over a 7 year term will require 84 monthly repayments of €4,067.61. The total cost of credit is €41,679.24
Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your credit facility agreement, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future.
Warning: The cost of your repayments may increase.
Warning: The entire amount that you have borrowed will still be outstanding at the end of the interest-only period.

Bank of Ireland is not responsible for information provided on third party websites.

Level of security required and rate applicable, will be determined by the amount, purpose & term of facility, in conjunction with the nature and value of the security being offered.

Over 18 years only. Lending criteria, and terms and conditions apply. Maximum credit of €500,000 available for online applications.

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme is a variable rate loan. If you repay early, in full or in part, your Growth and Sustainability loan, additional charges will not be payable to Bank of Ireland

1Reference Rate and Margin will be determined by the loan size. A discount of 0.25% is applied for Climate Action / Environmentally Sustainable Loans. For loans under €250,000 the variable rate is made up of the Small Business and Agri Rate (SBAR) plus a margin of 3.912% – The SBAR rate is a BOI reference rate under SME Regulations. The SBAR rate is 1.4% (correct as at 25/09/2023) and is liable to change. For up to date SBAR rates please visit Business Banking Reference Rates. For loans over €250,000 the variable rate is made up of the 3-month Bank Cost of Funds (3-month BCOF) with a margin of 2.762% – The 3-month BCOF is a BOI reference rate under SME regulations. The 3-month BCOF rate is 1.01% (correct as at 25/09/2023). For up to date BCOF rates please visit Business Banking Reference Rates.
2Interest only option available subject to credit approval.

Who can apply?

Viable SME and Small Mid-Cap businesses, including farmers and fishers, that meet the eligibility criteria. Please see How to Apply section for more detail on eligibility criteria

SMEs are defined by the standard EU definition contained in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC as enterprises that:

  • have fewer than 250 employees
  • have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million
  • are independent and autonomous, and not part of a wider group of enterprises
  • have less than 25% of their capital held by public bodies

A Small Mid-Cap is an enterprise that is not an SME but has fewer than 500 employees.

In addition, in order to be eligible for the scheme, SMEs must be established in an EU Member State and operating in the Republic of Ireland.

 

Who Cannot Apply

An SME or Small Mid-Cap that:

  • does not satisfy the eligibility criteria (see section below)
  • is bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by courts
  • is subject to, or fulfils the criteria under domestic law for being placed in, collective insolvency proceedings
  • in the last five years has entered into an arrangement in the context of being bankrupt, or wound up, or having its affairs administered by courts, or has been the subject of a final judgment or final administrative decision for being in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions, or it or any of the persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over it has been convicted by a final judgment or a final administrative decision for grave professional misconduct, where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, or it or persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control over it has been the subject of a final judgment for fraud, corruption, participation in a criminal organisation, money laundering or terrorist financing, terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, or child labour and other forms of trafficking in human beings
  • has a substantial focus in one or more of the excluded activities or restricted sectors, or
  • has been convicted of an offence or subject to a ruling concerning professional conduct, fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the EU’s financial interest.
  • For limited companies who do not have their annual filings up to date, any company that is overdue must bring these up to date with the CRO before applying

 

Excluded Activities

Applicants must not use the loan proceeds for:

  • refinancing of existing term loan debt
  • financing of specific export operations
  • financing current expenditure linked to the export activity
  • financing contingent upon the use of domestic over imported products
  • financing the establishment and operation of a distribution network in other Member States, or
  • additional restrictions apply to loans covered by Article 14 of the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation (“ABER”).

For a full list of excluded activities please visit SBCI

Before you apply, make sure that your business qualifies for the scheme. 1

1Bank of Ireland is not responsible for information provided on third party websites.

How to Apply

Step 1 – Applicants must first register (or login) on the SBCI Hub and submit an online Eligibility Application Form to check if they can access the scheme. Once the online form is completed, successful applicants will be issued with an eligibility code.

Step 2 – The applicant must provide this eligibility code to the Bank when submitting their credit application.

If you’re seeking a loan of up to €500,000 you can apply online.

For loans of over €500,000 please contact your Business Relationship Manager or click here.

Please note that the SBCI eligibility code is not a guarantee of credit approval and does not oblige the on-lender to provide finance.

Approval of loans is subject to each of the participating on-lender’s credit criteria, policies and procedures.

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme will operate until 30 June 2026 or until the scheme has been fully subscribed (whichever is earlier).

 

Eligibility Criteria

An SME or Small Mid-Cap must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • It is established in an EU Member State and operating in the Republic of Ireland
  • It does not have a substantial focus on one or more excluded sectors
  • It is not established in a non-compliant jurisdiction
  • It is not delinquent or in default in respect of any other loan or lease either granted by the on-lender or by another financial institution unless (i) it has been delinquent for less than 20 days and (ii) such delinquency does not dissuade the on-lender from lending to the SME in accordance with its credit policy
  • It is not engaged in any illegal activities
  • It is not a sanctioned person or in breach of restrictive measures
  • It is not subject to any preferential tax measure regarded as harmful under the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes

 

State Aid

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme operates under the following State aid measures:

De Minimis Regulation

  • Small Mid-Caps.
  • SMEs borrowing funds for climate action and environmental sustainability measures.

Article 17 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)

  • SMEs borrowing funds to invest in growth and resilience measures.

Article 29 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)

  • SMEs in the fishery and aquaculture sector implementing process and organisational innovation projects.

Article 14 of the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation (ABER)

  • SMEs active in the primary production of agricultural products.

Article 17 of the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation (ABER)

  • SMEs active in the processing of agricultural products and the marketing of agricultural products.

For a more extensive description of the State aid measures applicable to the scheme, please refer to the relevant Regulations. Please visit SBCI here

 

Representative Examples

Loans < €250,000

A Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme facility of €100,000 at a variable rate of 5.312% over a 7 year term will require 84 monthly repayments of €1,426.99. The total cost of credit is €19,867.16

Loans => €250,000

A Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme facility of €300,000 at a variable rate of 3.772% over a 7 year term will require 84 monthly repayments of €4,067.61. The total cost of credit is €41,679.24
Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your credit facility agreement, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future.
Warning: The cost of your repayments may increase.
Warning: The entire amount that you have borrowed will still be outstanding at the end of the interest-only period.

Bank of Ireland is not responsible for information provided on third party websites.

Level of security required and rate applicable, will be determined by the amount, purpose & term of facility, in conjunction with the nature and value of the security being offered.

Over 18 years only. Lending criteria, and terms and conditions apply. Maximum credit of €500,000 available for online applications.

The Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme is a variable rate loan. If you repay early, in full or in part, your Growth and Sustainability loan, additional charges will not be payable to Bank of Ireland