Eligibility Criteria

Financial Supports - Eligibility

Promoters of new and expanding enterprises in key priority sectors may be financially assisted by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO).

Applicants can apply for up to 50% of all eligible business costs relating to a start-up or expansion. In general the maximum grant available is €80,000 with higher levels possible in certain cases*.

Assistance may be in the form of both grant aid and repayable assistance and are related to the potential for employment creation.  

There are 3 types of financial assistance that can be applied for: –

  • Priming grants for new start-up companies and those in the first 18 months of trading;

¨         Assistance to a maximum of 50% of eligible business costs, subject to a maximum limit of €80,000*

  • Business development grants for expanding businesses, and;

¨         Assistance to a maximum of 50% of eligible business costs, in an expanding business, subject to a maximum limit of €80,000*, and subject to a minimum of 30% being in refundable form;

  • Feasibility/Innovation grants for those investigating new innovative business projects.

¨         Assistance to a maximum of 60% of the research, design, and prototype development costs may be awarded subject to a maximum grant of €10,000*.

*Higher levels of grant aid may be approved to high quality projects meeting certain criteria including the potential for business internationalisation.

Please note that grant assistance from the LEO is restricted to microenterprises (i.e. having no greater than 10 employees) operating in the manufacturing, traded services and tourism sectors, and which are not likely to cause displacement of other similar businesses.

Project Selection

Priority for grant aid is given to:

  • Enterprises in manufacturing or internationally traded services sector which over time could develop into strong export entities and graduate to the Enterprise Ireland Portfolio;
  • Tourism projects aimed predominantly at overseas visitors;

Any new enterprise seeking support must:

  • Be located, registered, and operate in County Cavan;
  • Must be in the commercial sphere;
  • Must demonstrate a market for the product/service;
  • Must have the capacity for growth & new job creation;
  • Must be a microenterprise ( i.e. employ no more than 10 people) 
  • Be led by a promoter(s) that can demonstrate the management and technical capability to implement the proposed project ;
  • Be led by a promoter(s) that can demonstrate that overall finance will be available to fund the project.


The following are ineligible for grant aid:

1) Expenditure incurred or jobs created prior to the date of grant approval (termed ‘retrospection’);

2) Proposed Projects which do not present a good case for commercial viability;

3) Projects involving primary agricultural production;

4) Businesses employing more than 10 people;

5) Retailing & Wholesaling;

6) Mainstream Professional services (e.g. accountants, Solicitors, consultants etc.) ;

7) Construction trades;

8) Projects contrary to EU or national policy;

9) Where potential for job displacement exists (i.e. where a new business could only prosper by diverting sales, output, or employment away from existing local businesses already providing essentially the same offering, thus placing existing jobs and the viability of existing businesses at risk);

10) Existing clients of Enterprise Ireland/IDA Ireland, or projects qualifying for other state agency or EU supports.

11) Mobile assets/means of transport e.g. cars, vans etc. are not grant aidable in any case;

12) Projects deemed to be capable of proceeding in any event without state support (termed 'Deadweight').

*Higher levels of grant assistance of over €80,000 and up to €150,000 only apply in exceptional cases where there is clear potential to trade internationally, and where among other things the scale of investment and the calibre of new jobs being created are at a high level.

Subject to the 50% limit, a maximum grant of up to €15,000 per full time job shall apply in respect of any employment support grant aided. This limit is scaled back dependant on the calibre and salary scale of the new jobs being created e.g. a maximum of €7,500 applies where salary level for respective new employees is at or close to minimum wage levels.

Applying for grant assistance

In the first instance you should make contact with LEO Cavan (Tel 049-4377200 / Email localenterprise@cavancoco.ie) to discuss your project details and a potential application.   Subsequently a completed application form with requested supplementary information should be forwarded to the offices of Cavan LEO. Where appropriate, and as advised by the staff of Cavan LEO, a business plan may be required (guidelines to drafting same enclosed).

The project is assessed on the basis of eligibility and viability (commercial and technical) by an independent Evaluation & Approvals Committee. If approved by the Committee an offer of grant assistance is made in writing.

The process can take approximately 4-6 weeks from receipt of completed application form and all requested supplementary information. ( This is dependant on dates set for meetings of Evaluation & Approvals Committee) .

If approved financial assistance, grants are payable on the basis of expenditure (net of VAT) being properly vouched and certified and after terms and conditions of related offer letter have been adhered to.

 How to apply for a Priming or Business Expansion Grant.doc (size 34.8 KB)