The Government launched the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme (SBCS) in May 2020 to assist small-to-medium businesses affected by COVID-19. Since then, over 100,000 SME businesses have used the opportunity to access tap into cheap working capital. Around 6,500 SMEs have so far made more than $45.4m in repayments.

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash reported that around 82% of loans are to firms with one to five employees and round 92% of loans are to firms with 10 or fewer staff.

After the initial launch of the scheme, and as 2020 ground on, the Government made further rounds of changes. They extended the application period and expanded eligibility for the scheme. New criteria for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme (SBCS) now allow more businesses and organisations to apply.

Businesses employing up to 50 full-time staff may apply to the Inland Revenue Department for loans of $10,000 plus $1,800 per employee. The loans:

  • accrue interest at the rate of 3% for a maximum term of five years
  • will not be liable for interest if repaid within two years
  • require no repayments for two years, although voluntary payments can be made at any time.