How to apply for a start-up grant in Ireland

Sources of Funding

by Ilya Nikitin

In my previous post, I discussed what every new entrepreneur should do prior to applying for a grant in Ireland. If you missed that interesting post you can read it here – “Things to do before applying for a start-up grant in Ireland”.

Once the first phase of your research is completed and you have received positive results from your marketing research you need to do three important things before applying for the grant:

  1. Register as a ‘Limited Company’ with a Business name
  2. Register for taxes
  3. Register your business bank account

All of the above are necessary to apply for a grant or to receive any funding in Ireland. Satisfying the three conditions will give a good impression to the grant authority/investor as it demonstrates you are serious about its business by taking the necessary steps. In the absence of a centralised system for grant applications in Ireland, your grant request is reviewed manually by personnel from the authority to which you are submitting a grant application. Available options are dependent on your employment status.

Let us consider two scenarios…

Scenario 1:

If you are in full-time employment and have a business idea. Your first port of call is Enterprise Ireland (EI) (Enterprise Ireland, 2015). EI is the authority that provides support to new local businesses and businesses which are in the developmental phase. EI also provides training programs, courses for new entrepreneurs, mentoring support, and financing. In order to apply for a grant with EI you should schedule an appointment with your local EI advisor. For the appointment it is strongly advised to have documented evidence of the market research and business plans you have undertaken including but not limited to:

  1. Detailed description of your business idea
  2. Value proposition
  3. Market testing research

An appointment with an EI advisor will be your first sales pitch of your business idea. You will have to prove and convince your advisor that your product or service is worth their time and money and both you and your team will do everything to succeed. If your presentation was convincing enough on the initial consultation, the advisor will consult with you on what grants, training, mentoring you qualify for.

One of most common grants you can claim from EI is the “Innovation Voucher” for the amount of €5,000. Additional details about the “Innovation Voucher” scheme can be found in our previous post Start-up funding institutions in Ireland (Part 1)”

Scenario 2

If you are currently in receipt of jobs seekers allowance (JSA) and you have a business idea you may qualify for an allowance under the “Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA)” scheme (Citizens Information, 2015). The main benefit of this scheme is that you can set up and run your own business and still claim your JSA for two years. To qualify for BTWEA you must be in receipt of JSA for minimum of 12 months.

To apply for a “Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA)” you must complete a BTW2 form and submit to the local Enterprise Officer. The officer will review the application, discuss the business proposal with you and may approve then or at a later date. You will be notified in writing. Once the application is approved you will be referred to a templates-based business plan. The advisor will check that your business and tax registration is complete. Under this scheme, in addition to your weekly payments, you will get an Enterprise Support Grant (ESG). ESG include training grants, business plan preparation, support and equipment grant to the value of €2,500. (Citizens Information, 2015)

This is a great opportunity for unemployed people to start their own business. Following an application for the BTWEA and having ran your business for a while, you can then apply for other grant options available from Enterprise Ireland.

Government grants and support is very helpful for start-ups. However, every start-up entrepreneur must understand that the start-up journey maybe the bravest thing they may ever do. Success will be determined by the toil and effort and sheer hard work along with building a network of partnerships and forging successful relationships on the journey.

References

Citizens Information, 2015. [Online] Available at: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/social_welfare/social_welfare_payments/social_welfare_payments_and_work/back_to_work_enterprise_allowance.html[Accessed 04 December 2015].

Enterprise Ireland, 2015. [Online] Available at: http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/EI_Corporate/en/funding-supports/Company/Have-a-Startup-Idea/ [Accessed 04 December 2015].

Citizens Information, 2015. [Online] Available at: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/types_of_employment/self_employment/setting_up_a_business_in_ireland.html [Accessed 04 December 2015].

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