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Starting a Business

First a bit about me – I am a chartered accountant who has worked as a finance manager with a VC backed Irish company,Vigitek, I and a colleague started a on-line appointments and diary company YouBookIn and  I have my own accounting practice where I deal with SMEs and their problems on a daily basis. I am based in Killaloe and provide services to companies and sole traders in Limerick and throughout the Mid-West.

This blog is aimed at SMEs, people considering setting up on their own and everyone interested in business. I will try to keep the blog informative and not to have too many rants and raves about the economy and government etc.  even though this could prove to be difficult.

What is the most important thing for an entrepreneur to consider when setting up a business?

Keep the cash coming

Without it you are dead in the water and going nowhere, no matter how brilliant your idea. So where am I going to get cash? is the question forming in your head. There are numerous articles about fund-raising from VCs, angels etc but most people starting a business just have an idea which they will need to prove is a good one before they can raise funding.  So what can a new entrepreneur do to get cash?

Keep the day job

Don’t give up the day job until as late as possible. Keep a salary coming in as long as you can, build part-time or consultancy/ contract work into your plan. This will help you keep going when things take longer than planned and they will!

If you are unemployed sign up for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme. There are two versions of this, one for people on jobseekers benefit and the other for those on jobseekers allowance. This is an example of our stupid PRSI scheme where everything is duplicated because of the fiction that it is an insurance scheme. (Sorry – first rant!)

Jobseekers Benefit

If you have been a PAYE worker for the two years prior to the year in which you became employed you are probably on benefit. You can continue to claim benefit for the remainder of the 12 months to which you are entitled. Note: this scheme is called the Short Term back to work enterprise allowance.

Jobseekers Allowance

If you have been unemployed for more than 12 months, and are on the jobseekers allowance scheme, you can continue to claim this for 12 months and 75% of your allowance in the second year. Note this scheme is called the Back to work enterprise allowance.

You can claim these irrespective of how much you earn in your new business. You must get approval BEFORE you start your new business. If you are being made redundant you should ‘sign on’ before you start your new business to get an entitlement to this scheme. This is ‘free’ money, you are not giving away any part of your business or taking on a liability, I have come across people who started businesses without claiming this so don’t expect Social Welfare to tell you about it – you need to ask to speak with the scheme facilitator.

Form BTW2 and further info are available online at