Social Democrats TD for Wicklow Jennifer Whitmore is encouraging local businesses in Wicklow to avail of the Government’s Restart Grant scheme set up in response to COVID19. The call comes after figures released to her by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation revealed that when compared to other counties, the take up of the grant in Wicklow was lower than expect, according to Deputy Whitmore.
Speaking on the figures, Deputy Whitmore says…
“I was surprised to see that only 500 businesses in Wicklow have applied and been granted the Restart Grant scheme as of 6 July 2020. This amounts to a total of €1,931,284. Compare this to Wexford which saw 994 businesses granted a total of nearly €2m, it paints an interesting picture.
“Given the fact that over half of the jobs available in Wicklow are provided by SMEs and small, local businesses, you would expect a larger take up of the Restart Grant Scheme. As a tourist destination facilitating seasonal businesses, Wicklow is also home to local towns and villages servicing large population areas. Small businesses are not only important service providers, they are important local employers. It’s vital that they are supported throughout the State’s response to the pandemic.
“The Minister did indicate to me that a further €17,844,688 of grant funding has been approved as of 6th July and will be paid shortly. I would hope that this means many more applications from businesses in Wicklow are due to be granted. In the meantime, it’s important that information on supports is reaching the SME sector in its entirety so that no business falls behind because they were not aware of the supports available to them.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of local businesses throughout Wicklow since being elected. I’ve spoken to some business owners who have experienced shut down or are close to closing their shop doors for good, as a result of the lockdown. Now that we enter the summer months, we need to help businesses rebound as much as possible. Many businesses have found themselves scrambling to find a new way to continue doing business. They have been incredibly creative in finding ways to survive the current level of uncertainty, but they need further assistance to keep up with the changing environment.
“I would urge any businesses who need assistance, to contact their Local Enterprise Office (LEO) as well as checking out the various grants available online. I will endeavour to raise the concerns and issues facing the SME sector with the Minister in my work in the Dáil and help our local employers to continue playing an important part in our towns and villages across Wicklow” concludes Whitmore.