Irish start-ups grapple with dual impact of the coronavirus and Brexit

Irish start-ups grapple with dual impact of the coronavirus and Brexit

9/16/2020 12:45:00 PM

Irish start-ups grapple with dual impact of the coronavirus and Brexit

Ireland officially entered recession last week after the economy contracted a record 6.1% between April and June.

Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty ImagesDUBLIN — Brexit is back on the agenda for Ireland's small businesses and start-ups, despite the continued threat of the coronavirus pandemic.Researchpublished on Tuesdayfrom the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), showed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lost between 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) and 10 billion euros from March to June with many companies using up their cash reserves.

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Meanwhile, Julie Sinnamon, the chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, the agency responsible for developing the country's indigenous businesses and a regular early stage backer of tech start-ups, spoke to CNBC on the impact of Covid-19."The immediate impact on companies was liquidity, so a lack of funding," she said.

Enterprise Ireland established a number of funds and mechanisms to provide emergency capital to companies. It has approved 34.4 million euros of funding for Irish companies affected by the coronavirus so far. Much of that has been through the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which provides liquidity of up to 800,000 euros, with up to 200,000 euros of that being non-repayable.

It hasn't been without challenges. Some companies have complained of a slow process in getting applications submitted and approved during what are emergency times. In June, justfive companies had been approvedfor the Sustaining Enterprise Fund. As of Sep. 11, there have been 53 companies approved. Enterprise Ireland said it aims to complete applications in 20 days.

"I think between now and the end of the year we will succeed in supporting and using the funding available," Sinnamon told CNBC. "But this slow start in terms of companies applying is not any different than we would have expected, or would have seen in previous crises when you had similar supports available for companies."

Sinnamon said Enterprise Ireland's attention is now shifting to longer-term efforts. Covid-19 has seen the agency balancing the needs of companies facing an immediate risk of collapse and those that have been forced to pivot into new areas."For some of them it has required investing in innovation, changing their products. In some cases, it was really just retracting into their shell in the short term, but in others it was diversification," she said.

BrexitAt the start of 2020, Enterprise Ireland's priorities were very different. Since 2016 the company's top line messaging has been around Brexit preparedness, developing support funds and grants for those most exposed."We are really trying to reactivate the (Brexit) plans for companies who had parked them in the height of the Covid crisis to make sure that they're continuing with their plans," Sinnamon said.

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It has been urging Irish companies to reduce their dependence on the U.K. for exports and to diversify into other markets. The U.K.'s Brexit transition period with the EU is set to end on Dec. 31 and there's still a real chance that both sides will fail to agree a trade deal before that date.

Read more: CNBC »

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Start with one currency.

After Brexit bombshell, Britain is seeking to reassure U.S. lawmakers on Irish border issueThe U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is in Washington to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among other senior officials, as Britain seeks to reassure its U.S. partners on Brexit negotiations. That is easy with disingenuous Trump around, bird of feathers flock together. Post Nov3rd, may be difficult. That's why they've sent Dominic Raab to Washington. I just hope he goes to Washington DC not Washington Tyne & Wear 🤣🤣🤣

Dominic Cummings' plan to build UK Google after Brexit is 'simplistic': Tech critics - Business InsiderBusiness Insider is a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals. Launched in 2007, the site is now the largest business news site on the web. And the rest of Britain is without job, or low wage job😅

UK sees 'a way through' parliamentary maze for Brexit treaty breach billBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government sees a 'way through' the parliamentary maze for his bill that would break the Brexit divorce treaty as it talks with rebels in the Conservative Party, a minister said on Wednesday. Might need to change the title of this, as the bill is called United Kingdom Internal Market Bill and the 'Brexit treaty breach' part is only 4 clauses of the bill, just a thought. Considering how inept, untruthful and corrupt this government is cunning does seem to be one of their strengths.

Exclusive: Britain has moved to break fisheries deadlock in Brexit trade talks - EU sourcesBritain offered tentative concessions on fisheries in trade talks with the European Union last week, two diplomatic sources told Reuters, just as London was publicly threatening to breach the terms of its divorce deal with the bloc. Like MichelBarnier will fall for this again. 🥰🥰☕☕ EU must agree UK is an independant coastal state, with rights to its costal waters. UK can give EU temporary allocation while it builds up its fleet. But it is UKs waters to allocate, not EUs to give away over time.

A no-deal Brexit would be more costly for the UK than coronavirus, Goldman saysFailing to reach a trade deal with the European Union would be more costly for the U.K. than dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Goldman Sachs economists have warned. What’s a Brexit? Is that a new IPO If it gets you out of the extremely restrictive 'freedoms' of the EU (which came from above) it's worth it. Goldman says = is this like Jane Says by Jane's Addiction?

Exclusive: EU to delay euro clearing decision on Brexit divorce threat: sourceThe European Union is set to delay a decision on allowing clearing houses in London to continue clearing euro transactions for EU-based clients due to Britain's plan to breach part of the Brexit divorce settlement, a derivatives industry source said. Waan bogadinaynaa Second thoughts before pulling the trigger on the gun they are pointing at their own head. Brussels had said it would grant Britain 'time-limited' access to euro derivatives clearing from January to avoid huge disruption to markets as a unit of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) (LSE.L) clears over 90% euro-denominated swaps that are widely used by companies.