Pilot Student (graduate) 'Micro Grad' Funding Programme

Micro Grad Funding Programme 2017

The Local Enterprise Offices, Cork & Kerry are responsible for a Pilot Student (graduate) 'Micro Grad' Funding Programme to provide up to of up to 50% or a maximum amount of €10,000 or €5,000 in matched grant support funding  to place high performing students in micro enterprises for either a 12 month or a 6 month accredited assignment in order to support the accelerated growth of the host business. 

  • Up to 50% or a maximum of €5,000 for a 6 month placement (24 weeks)
  • Up to 50% or a maximum of €10,000 for a 12 month placement (52 weeks)

Micrograd 2017

The placement will form part of existing accredited listed College programmes including UCC, CIT & Tralee Institute of Technology, and will span a range of disciplines. Students can be undergraduates or graduates who are on a college supported work placement programme from one of the accredited Colleges. 

The purpose of the programme is to place students in companies that traditionally have not benefited from student input because of cost implications. Over several years it has been the experience that larger companies with resources have been to the fore in availing of placements and maximising student input. This programme will place people in micro-enterprises with growth potential through the payment of up to 50% or a maximum of €10,000 grant matched by the host company for a 12 month contract or up to a maximum of €5,000 grant matched by the host company for 6 months. 

The placements will be accredited as part of the work experience required in the acquisition of an undergraduate or a Master’s degree with the college concerned. The project will provide a challenging work placement for the students concerned and for a 6/12 month period. The placement will deliver real benefits to the participating companies by providing people with relevant skills to work on pre-identified development projects. If, as anticipated, the developmental aspect of the placements leads to new business for the participating companies, the students will create permanent jobs in those companies.

Salary Support

The respective LEO can provide financial support of a maximum of 50% or up to €5k (6 month placement) or €10k (12 month placement)with matched funding from the business and with a limit of one student per year. 

 All Students must be paid at least the minimum wage of €9.25 per hour and must work at least 35 hours per week. 

Eligible Expenditure

Eligible expenditure includes any Salaries & Wages approved under the scheme (excluding Employers PRSI/BONUS)

Ineligible Expenditure

  • Recruitment Costs
  • Bonuses
  • Employers PRSI Contributions
  • Travel & Subsistence in Ireland or Overseas
  • Expenditure incurred on the project prior to the application date is NOT eligible for funding support.

Application Process - Employers

The LEOs involved envisage placing up to 7/8 students per LEO area (30 placements in total) in companies that will meet criteria under innovation capability, quality of promoter and growth aspirations.All enquiries / potential applicants should be recruited from the the LEO client base & a discussion take place with the potential employer. An application can then be made via the Online Application System on the LEO – Cork North & West platform. Each business will be required to produce a detailed brief of work to be carried out and preliminary timetable to implement it over the period of the placement. This work programme to be refined and approved with the input of the student, upon appointment. The application to be submitted to an evaluation committee for final approval for funding. 

Application Process - Students

Approved applications from companies will be referred onto the relevant Placement Office.Students will be recruited directly through the Placement Offices associated with the different courses. This will be in the best interest of both the student and the employer to ensure that there is adequate work for the student in their field of expertise. From a student’s point of view, it is important to be placed in the correct environment where they are getting relevant experience for the time they are spending with the company

Payment Process 

50% of the payment of the grant award to be made up front to the business on receipt of the following items:-    

  • Confirmation that the Student is not in receipt of any social welfare contributions
  • First Payment Sheet signed by the Business
  • Signed Contract of Employment
  • Recommendation by the relevant Placement Officer
  • Current Tax Verification from the Business

After 3 or 6 months employment 50% of the balance is due for payment. This will be paid upon confirmation that the student is still in employment and milestones in relation to the work programme are being met. A summary report should be issued by the LEO Executive/ College Placement officer / Mentor can also be provided. 

Applicant Eligibility

Any commercial client considered eligible for ‘Measure 1’ support of the Cork / Kerry LEO, not employing more than ten (subject to De Minimis) based in the Cork & Kerry counties.

Exclusions – Businesses

•    Businesses employing more than 10

•    Businesses are subject to De Minimis ruling of receiving no more state aid than €200k cumulatively over a three year period

•    Those in Retail, professional Services, Local Services, Agriculture, Not for Profit/Social Enterprise, or a Trade body / Chamber, Sports Club or any other non-commercial body or association are not eligible to participate in this Pilot Initiative. 

Student Eligibility

Those on the participating placement courses in UCC, CIT & Institute of Technology such as follows:-


•    Work Placements from the Courses in the College of Science, Engineering & Food Science

•    Work Placements from the College of Business & Law

•    Work Placement from the BA Digital Humanities & Informaiton Technology


•    MSC In Marketing Practice Exclusions 

Tralee Institute of Technology

Other Colleges placement Courses deemed eligible by the respective LEO.


Exclusions – Students

•    Those not listed on the approved courses/ Colleges 

•    Apprenticeships

Special Terms

•    Applications for assistance for expenditure incurred prior to grant approval are ineligible. 

•    The Local Enterprise Office reserves the right to refuse any application and the right to terminate this grant scheme at any time without notice. 

•    The approval of applications and the payment of all monies are dependent on the availability of resources under this scheme from Enterprise Ireland.

•    All applicants approved must draw down in full within the time period set out in the letter of offer, or in exceptional circumstances upon a specific request / extension as may be agreed between LEO and company. 

•    Failure to draw down all or any portion may result in automatic de-committal without notice, i.e. loss of grant

•    The Local Enterprise Office may liaise/consult other agencies/local development programmes in relation to this proposal while respecting project confidentiality. 

•    Any false or misleading statement or the withholding of essential information from Local Enterprise Office (as determined by Local Enterprise Office) will result in cancellation of any grant approved under this scheme.

See full Terms of Reference here. 

Continue to Application Button