Specialist R&D Tax & Grant Funding Advisors

What Financial Help Is Available For Small Businesses And Start-Ups In Ireland?

Whether it be through grants, investments or loans, every business needs a decent financial injection when starting out and developing

Cale Bannister

Marketing Manager


5 minute read

Whichever way you look at it, setting up a new business and ensuring its success can be a very daunting prospect. But the good news is you’re not alone; according to Businessworld.ie, 62 new Irish companies were formed every day in 2018 alone.

Whether it be through grants, investments or loans, every business needs a decent financial injection when starting out and developing. Luckily, Ireland is a global leader in embracing new enterprise with more than 170 different types of support from the Irish Government available.

To get you started, we have put together a sample list of some of the various financial supports available for SMEs and start-ups in the Republic of Ireland. It’s by no means exhaustive but will hopefully point you in the right direction.

Getting your business started

If you’re brand new to the world of business and are looking to build your company from scratch, the Local Enterprise Office is a great place to start. Aimed at anyone who is looking to start or expand a business, The Local Enterprise Office also offers support for entrepreneurs, SMEs and basically anyone with an idea they want to take forward but need some financial help. This might include the following:

  • Short Term Enterprise Allowance

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) offers support to individuals who have been made unemployed for any reason and wish to start their own business.

  • Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs (SURE)

Already started your business but need cash to grow it? This one’s for you. It could mean you will be able to claim back income tax if you are starting a new business and are employed, unemployed or have recently been made redundant.

  • Three-year corporate tax exemption

The idea behind this scheme is to give relief from corporation tax on the income a business makes on trading for the first three years.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

If you have been unemployed and receiving social welfare for more than 12 months, the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance means you can carry on getting your social welfare payments for two years after setting up a new business. It acts as an incentive because your social welfare payments will continue to act as a safety net.

  • Innovation vouchers

If you currently own or are managing an SME, you may be eligible for an innovation voucher for around €5,000 (as long as it’s a limited company) to spend on building your company.

  • Start Your Own Business scheme

The Start Your Own Business scheme offers relief from income tax for people who start a new business having previously been unemployed for a long time.

  • The Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme

This scheme allows individual investors to receive tax relief on further investments they make in other organisations.

  • OPTIMISE eCommerce fund

The OPTIMISE eCommerce fund provides small business owners the knowledge and skills to create and optimise their website and expand their company’s presence online.

  • Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN)

The Halo Business Angel Network is an umbrella group that works to support all early-stage entrepreneurs throughout the whole of Ireland. It also acts to boost the number of angel investors that choose to invest in early stage businesses.

  • Feasibility study / innovation grant

The Irish government currently offers to cover 50% of your study costs (not inclusive of VAT) up to €15,000. Essentially it acts as a grant in that you don’t have to pay it back.

Public supports for start-ups

Public support for new business ventures has grown in recent years to include the new entrepreneur development programme from New Frontiers. Places are limited but successful candidates will enjoy both cash and training in areas like marketing, sales and business planning. It’s highly competitive, making it really important that you have a sustainable new business idea that will trade internationally, generate revenue and create employment.

Early private support for start-ups

There are several ways to gain private support for your new business that are also well worth considering.

  • NDRC LaunchPad

The NDRC LaunchPad is specially designed for aspiring tech entrepreneurs have who have a product or concept they can viably bring to market and achieve a reliable commercial return. It offers pre-seed money of €20,000 per project to support entrepreneurs during its three-month programme.

  • Enterprise Ireland funded campus incubation centres

These incubation centres are funded by Enterprise Ireland and are situated on the campuses of Irish universities and technology institutes. They are there to provide space, support and other services to start-ups and other small enterprises.

Private accelerator support for start-ups

There are also a few reliable options when it comes to gaining seed capital for your business. These include:

  • Propeller Venture Accelerator programme

The Ryan Academy at Dublin City University runs the Propeller Venture Accelerator programme aimed at fledgling technology start-ups. It’s a three-month accelerator scheme offering entrepreneurs €30,000 of seed funding in addition to €15,000 in services costs.

  • Seedcamp

Seedcamp is a world-class European acceleration fund designed for pre-seed and seed stage businesses. You can find out more information on the Seedcamp website.

  • LaunchBox

Open to both post undergrad and postgrad Trinity students, LaunchBox is a three-month accelerator programme for early-stage businesses. Participants are offered cash funding, mentorship, networking support and office space.

Start-up funds

Enterprise Ireland works with individuals looking for both seed stage and pre-seed investment for a new business. It offers a range of solutions for start-ups, including:

  • The Competitive Start Fund for Irish graduates worth €50,000
  • The High Potential Start-up Unit
  • Graduate Start Fund

There’s also The Competitive Feasibility Fund which is aimed specifically at female entrepreneurs.

Google Ventures

Part of Google’s business arm - Google Ventures (GV) - has a ring-fenced fund of $100 million set aside specifically for local start-ups. GV has a particular focus on life science and technology investment in particular so could well be of interest if your business is in this area.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending

Crowdfunding is a great way to raise cash for anything from home improvements to holidays and businesses have been getting in on the action for a while. Increasingly, crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way to raise seed capital and funds to cover other business expenses. In Ireland there are sites which are specially designed for this such as:

Growing your business

If you’re planning to grow and develop your business (and what savvy business man or woman wouldn’t?) then a great way to finance it is through R&D tax credit relief, designed to encourage investment by companies into research and development. A key challenge for SMEs lies in understanding the difference between R&D and other everyday business activities which is where qualified accountants like us can advise you.

Venture Capital Funding

Is your business ambitious and hungry to expand into a major global enterprise? Venture Capital funds can help by investing in businesses that are looking to raise €500k or more in equity. Your business must be in an attractive and fast-growing sector, with highly demonstrable skills and a strong management team. The product or service you offer must also solve a specifically identifiable problem. 

Accelerated Capital Allowance

The Accelerated Capital Allowance exists to encourage companies who pay corporation tax to purchase energy efficient machinery and equipment. Businesses who do so are then allowed to write-off 100% of the cost price of such equipment against its profit in the tax year it was purchased in.

How can Myriad Associates help?

Based in both Dublin and London, Myriad Associates is made up of experts in all areas of R&D tax credits and grants for new businesses and SMEs in Ireland and across the UK. Whether you’re at the grass roots of an idea or you’re already set up and growing, why not get in touch with our friendly, professional team today on 0 1 566 2001 or use our contact page.

Get in touch

Please contact us to discuss how working with Myriad Associates can maximise and secure R&D funding opportunities for your business.

Contact us