SME Financing Guarantee Scheme
The Scheme aims at helping local small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and non-listed enterprises (collectively, “Enterprises”) to obtain financing from participating lenders (“Lenders”) for meeting their business needs so as to enhance their productivity and competitiveness in the rapidly changing business environment. Under the Scheme, the HKMCI may provide guarantee coverage of 50%, 60% or 70% to the credit facilities of eligible Enterprises approved by the Lenders.
90% Guarantee Coverage under the Scheme (“90% Guarantee Product”)
With the approval of the funding by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council on 6 December 2019, the 90% Guarantee Product under the Scheme has been introduced on 16 December 2019. The application period for the 90% Guarantee Product is until 30 June 2022.
The 90% Guarantee Product aims at providing additional support to small-sized enterprises and businesses with relatively less operating experience, to obtain financing.
In 2020, with the rapid deterioration of the business environment following the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19, the Government has announced some enhancements and relief measures on the 90% Guarantee Product.
Special 100% Loan Guarantee under the Scheme (“Special 100% Loan Guarantee”)
The Financial Secretary announced in the 2020-21 Budget Speech that a Special 100% Loan Guarantee would be introduced under the Scheme. The Special 100% Loan Guarantee aims at alleviating the financial burden of paying employee wages and rents by Enterprises which are suffering from reduced income and to help minimising Enterprises shutting down and layoffs. The loan guarantee is applicable to SMEs in all sectors, including those mostly affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19, such as retail outlets, travel agents, restaurants, cinemas, karaoke establishments and transport operators, etc.
The Special 100% Loan Guarantee started to receive applications on 20 April 2020.
In order to further alleviate the cash flow pressure of SMEs, the Government announced in September 2020 and February 2021 some enhancements to the Special 100% Loan Guarantee.
The loans under the Special 100% Loan Guarantee are fully guaranteed by the Government. With effect from 29 March 2021, eligible Enterprises must have been in operation for at least three months in Hong Kong as at 30 June 2020, and have suffered at least a 30% decline in sales turnover in any month since February 2020 (“Affected Period”) compared with the monthly average of any quarter from January 2019 to June 2020 (“Reference Period”), provided that the Affected Period must not be earlier than the Reference Period.
With effect from 29 March 2021, the maximum loan amount for each eligible Enterprise is the total amount of employee wages and rents for 18 months or HK$6 million, whichever is the lower. The maximum guarantee period is eight years. The application period for the Special 100% Loan Guarantee is until 31 December 2021.