Surge in applications for Brexit vouchers from firms in Ireland
Businesses’ demand for Brexit planning vouchers has increased massively in recent months in Ireland as the date for the UK leaving the EU looms closer.
More than a third of all applications were made in the last few months for the voucher, which was launched in 2017.
It comes as the Irish government launched a number of other schemes to help businesses prepare for Brexit.
InterTradeIreland unveiled new funding and online learning for businesses.
Minister for business Heather Humphreys announced details of the package of support, which includes two new vouchers.
The first provides up to 2,250 euros (£1,930) towards professional advice to help businesses understand what exposure they have in relation to Brexit.
This includes issues such as customs requirements and supply chain exposure, VAT and financial implications, as well as complex tariff codes.
The second voucher – the new Brexit Implementation voucher – provides financial support up to 5,625 euros (£4,825), with InterTradeIreland paying 50%.
This will make businesses better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.
Ms Humphreys called on businesses to act now to prepare for Brexit and warned against complacency.
Speaking in Monaghan, she said: “These innovative, accessible tools and associated funding will help businesses deal with the complexities surrounding Brexit.
“We all know that Brexit has created real commercial and political uncertainty.
“We can, however, be clear that it’s not too late to start planning for the future, so businesses can be prepared, prepared to speak to, and answer questions from their staff, supply chain and customers and prepared to build extra resilience into their business.
“That is why I would urge SMEs to be proactive and to take advantage of the full range of Brexit supports available from InterTradeIreland and other state bodies.”
InterTradeIreland has also developed an online tool designed to help cross-border traders understand customs requirements.
Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland designated officer, said: “Through our research and engagement with cross-border traders, we recognise the acute challenges they face as they come to terms with Brexit in the face of many other competitive challenges.
“Our financial support will be enhanced by the development of a new interactive online learning resource focused on the most pressing issues around Brexit raised by SMEs in their engagement with us.
“It is aimed at busy cross-border traders and makes high-quality, concise information available to them in their own time, in an accessible way.
“As we move closer to the March 29 deadline, the message is that it’s still not too late to make preparations.
“Through free, impartial, independent and up-to-date Brexit-related advice, alongside funding support, we are focused on helping as many SMEs as possible to prepare for whatever way Brexit ultimately evolves.”