You have a business idea that can generate an income and create jobs but don’t know which grants and government start-up business supports are available.
They say that the hardest part of a pilot’s job is getting the plane off the ground. You need to put the correct amount of thrust and speed to take off. Businesses are the same.
You need to know where you can get the fuel to lift you off and keep you flying. Here we have picked the 7 key business grants and government startup supports you need to know about.
Once you have the business up and running you may want to hire more staff or grow your production capabilities and there are supports available to businesses in Ireland to help out.
There are lots of government grants available but we will concentrate on the key ones here for Irish businesses who want to scale and grow.
Who are the key players?
Some key state-sponsored bodies are responsible for business grants and start-up supports.
The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is one of the chief organisations responsible for government start-up supports.
Enterprise Ireland (EI) supports business growth through enterprise grants to enable businesses to move into new markets.
Private support for startups is also available through bodies such as the NDRC (National Digital Research Centre). The NDRC, which is based in Dublin, offers early start-up acceleration grants for tech companies that have global ambitions. Business Innovation Centre (BIC) has three centres in Ireland Cork BIC, West BIC and South East BIC.
Each BIC can support startups by helping them to get investor ready for seed of scaling funding. They also give access to finance to allow you to develop your financial plan and business plan to get you ready for the correct type of funding. They provide office space for start-ups at affordable prices and organise events to increase your networking potential.
For those outside Ireland there are startup supports when moving your business to Ireland. Enterprise Ireland and Immigrant Investor Programme as well as Startup Enterprise Programme (STEP)
For those who may have been previously employed, there are Back to Work Enterprise allowances BTWEA and short-term enterprise allowances available (STEA). These allow people who have become unemployed to claim their jobseekers allowance while still working on their start-up business.
Where do start-ups start?
One of the first place Irish business start-ups begin their journey is with their LEO.
Your Local Enterprise office can assist with training and development of the skills you will need for your business as well as providing expert advice and mentors with experience in your niche. These mentors can help with financial questions, marketing, innovation or business planning which may all be new to the start-up.
It’s worth noting that there are 31 LEOs located across Ireland and each LEO is responsible for supporting start-ups in their relevant area. Therefore, it’s important to find out the relevant LEO for your business based on the location of your business address.
Once businesses begin to grow, they may look towards Enterprise Ireland (EI) which helps companies enter into international markets.
Enterprise Ireland has stricter qualifying criteria than LEO but also has a larger reach and offers bigger benefits with entry into other markets.
Some of the grants that EI gives are the Business financial planning grant which helps you hire third-party consultants to deal specifically with your financials.
Digitalisation Vouchers allow businesses to introduce new tools to optimise their business online. Again this allows businesses to bring in third-party experts and provide knowledge and expertise that the business may not have.
A mentor grant can allow you to have access to expertise to help mentor you toward growing your business.
The market discovery fund supports market research and development for growing companies while their Lean Start Programme introduces your business to make the most of your operation with minimum waste.
Has your start-up got high potential?
If your business looks like it could scale and grow rapidly then Enterprise Ireland may consider you for a high-potential start-up grant (HPSU).
This is granted to companies that offer a unique product or service that has the potential to create 10 jobs or more and achieve at least €1m in export sales within 3 years of starting.
In return Enterprise, Ireland will become a shareholder in your company and offer access to a greater range of supports and mentoring.
With the number of choices, the level of information can be overwhelming. We have all the professional help you will need to apply for the business supports and business grants available.
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