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Business Start Up Grants

If you are thinking about starting a business in the coming months you might be wondering about supports particularly grants provided by the Enterprise Agencies in Ireland. The list of organisations might seem overwhelming but it is worth taking some time to understand the type of businesses that each support and when the supports become relevant. I would like to discuss five good starting points:

Business Start Up Grants

The first step is to build a relationship with a contact in your local and/0r sector specific organisation(s) – the same applies to your local financial institutions and membership associations.

1. Short Term Enterprise Allowance

gives support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business. The Allowance is paid instead of your Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 1 year.

2. Your local Enterprise Board

provide financial assistance to manufacturing and internationally traded service micro-enterprises (employing less than 10 people). Full details of the three grant types is available from national Enterprise Boards website.

  • Priming Grant … business less than 2 years old – 50% of the investment or €80,000 whichever is the lesser (€150,000 limit in certain cases). Subject to the 50% limit, a maximum grant of €15,000 per full time job created shall apply in respect of any employment support granted.
  • Business Expansion Grant  … business trading for more than 2 years – same conditions as per Priming Grant
  • Feasibility … – 50% of investment or €20,000 in S&E region (60% in BMW)

However, the soft supports are arguably more valuable. I highly recommend attending Start Your Own Business programmes and other relevant training provided by your local Board.


support individuals, rural enterprise and farm families under the Rural Development programme. A list of all LEADER organisations is available from National Rural Network.

  • Capital and other projects to include tourist accommodation – funding of up to 75% is available for eligible projects, with a maximum of up to €150,000.
  • Analysis and development projects may receive 75% with a maximum grant of €30,000.
  • Training – 100%

Small Business Can author Helena Deane has compiled a fantastic list of ten commandments to follow when applying for Grants. In her post she stresses the importance of meeting all the terms and conditions. The Galway Rural Development website has a great guide in this regard.

4. Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland are the premier Enterprise Agency in Ireland. But their services are primarily available only to clients. They are very focused (rightly so) on businesses with international growth potential. This page outlines the process that Enterprise Ireland suggest is followed when you seek their support. The first step is to meet a Startup Advisor in your local office. Enterprise Ireland have a suite of enterprise and management development supports to include

5. Mentoring

In addition to the Enterprise Boards and Enterprise Ireland, mentoring can be requested from SCCUL Mentors and Small Business Advice.

Small Business Can author Helena Deane has also compiled a fantastic blogpost on financial supports to assist a small business to recruit new personnel.

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14 Responses to Business Start Up Grants

  1. John Conway March 21, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    its unfortunate that there are no grants available for a someone in the services industry.

    • Donncha Hughes March 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      John – I must disagree. There is a valid reason why there are no financial supports for local service businesses – displacement means that jobs are created in one local business at the expense of another local business with no net positive impact for the Irish economy. There are supports available in the area of soft supports and these can not be underestimated. For example, I was involved with delivery of a management development programme in Limerick last year. It is a national programme called Accelerate delivered on behalf of the Enterprise Board. A CCTV, Security company increased employment from 2 to 5 during the programme. We will not take all the credit but the promoter certainly values our contribution to the growth of his business. With the business, the promoter is looking at developing a product that meets a gap in the market that he serves and in this case financial supports such as Innovation Vouchers and/or Feasibility become relevant.

      The other point is that there are supports for internationally traded services – and I always say ‘Don’t forget that Northern Ireland’ is international.

      • Ron Immink March 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

        Surely that argument applies to both service and mon-service businesses?

        • Donncha Hughes March 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

          It does indeed Ron. It is generally easier to ensure that there is no displacement when one is involved in manufacturing. The economies involved also generally require that the business is international in nature.

  2. Dylan Whelan October 6, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    Hi Donncha,
    I was just wondering was there currently any grants available to support construction Sub-Contractors?

  3. Keith117 December 30, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Hi Donnacha,

    Is there any grants out there for the catering industry, I’ve just opened a 120 seater restaurant and have pumped all my capital in to start up..

    • Peter Connolly February 12, 2015 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Keith .

      did you get any response to your question as i am looking at opening a food buisness and would like to know if you were successful in getting any grants .

  4. Amy Guinan June 18, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Are there any grants for starting a “dog walking/pet sitting” business?

  5. Carol June 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    Hi Donnacha,

    Please may I ask are there any any grants available to start up boarding kennels.rgds carol

  6. Keoghy July 3, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Hi is there any grants to help start up a K-9 unit in Ireland

  7. Edele September 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Hello are there any grants available for heating and plumbing business

  8. Government Business Grants October 8, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    A guide to grants for start up businesses . UK Trade & Investment offers funding to help exporters, as well as a range of charged-for, but subsidised, services. Business startup grants are hard to come by; here’s an overview of the new business grants available for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

  9. seanie February 9, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

    Hi donnacha I’m doing a domestic appliance repair course at the moment as there is no one in my area providing this service. I was hoping to open a little work shop as well I suppose there any grant I can avail of.
    Regards seanie

  10. paul February 18, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    hi Donnacha I’m thinking to open a dental milling center there any grant I can avail of. thank you

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