I have an idea for a business - Where do I start? 

You should contact Local Enterprise Office Dublin City (LEO) to discuss your idea. Local Enterprise Office Dublin City is the First Stop Shop for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Dublin City.

We aim to promote entrepreneurship, foster business start-ups and develop existing micro and small businesses to drive job creation and to provide accessible high quality supports for your Business ideas.

We will achieve this by providing the highest standard of client service and access to 'best in class' support for our clients' businesses.

My idea is a food business - Where can I get further information?

Food safety Authority of Ireland has an information section specific to the requirements of startup food businesses https://www.fsai.ie/food_businesses.html

My idea is a cosmetics business - Where can I get further information?

The Health Products Regulatory Authority provides information regarding cosmetic regulations in Ireland https://www.hpra.ie/homepage/cosmetics/regulatory-information 

Do you provide support to Start-ups only?

We work with both start-ups and existing businesses looking to expand. 

Anyone with a business idea or who already has an established business that is looking for information, advice, referral to other supports, guidance on ‘how to start your own business’ or may need training, mentoring or financial assistance (subject to certain criteria) is welcome to contact us. 

Can I be guaranteed my ideas will be kept confidential?

Any discussion between the Local Enterprise Office and businesses/individuals looking for advice/assistance are held in the strictest confidence.

How do I decide where to trade as a Sole Trader, Partnership or Company?

There are a number of  types of business entity through which you can conduct your business;

  1. Sole Trader
  2. Partnership
  3. Limited Liability Company
  4. Co-operative

You need to consider:

  • The kind of business that you are starting
  • The expectations of those with whom you plan to do business (Some business people expect to conduct with limited liability companies and maybe wary of other business entities)
  • Your attitude to risk (A limited liability company limits the risk of losing your capital if your business fails)
  • How you wish to organise your tax affairs (Limited liability companies are subject to more favourable tax rates)

 Sole trader

This is the most straightforward way to set up your own business.

  • As a sole trader, you are the owner of the business
  • You are legally liable for the business and do not have any protection if the business fails
  • If the business is not successful, all of your assets (business & personal) can be used to pay off your creditors

Private limited company

  • A legal entity, separate from its shareholders
  • If the business fails the shareholders are only liable for any amount outstanding on the share capital they subscribe


  • An agreement between two or more people to go into business together
  • If the business fails, each partner is liable for all losses
  • A ‘Deed of Partnership’ is usually drawn up outlining the obligations of each partner

 Please note: it is highly recommended that you consult an accountant or solicitor before choosing an ownership structure for your business

 For further information on business structures you can visit the Companies Registrations Office (CRO) Website

How do I register my business name? 

You can register your business name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). This can be done online at http://www.cro.ie/

How do I register for Tax?

You are obliged to notify the Revenue Commissioners through your local tax office of the establishment of your business and to provide them with the information required to register your business for the relevant taxes Taxable persons are obliged to register for VAT (Value Added tax) where their annual projected turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed a specific threshold. Information on this threshold and the process of registering for VAT can be found here You will need to complete different forms depending on the legal structure you have decided on for your business. Visit the Revenue Website for further information.

Does my business need insurance?

When you commence in business, it is advisable to consider both personal and business insurance. The main business insurances are:

  • Employers Liability Insurance
  • Product Liability Insurance
  • Fire
  • Burglary/theft
  • Public Liability
  • Motor Insurance

Where can I get Premises?

Visit the Start-Up sector map on our homepage

Can I start a business in my own home, do I need planning permission?

Commercial planning permission or business planning permission is required when operating a business. The use of a private residence for business is usually subject to planning permission and is known as ‘change of use planning permission’. In most cases, local authorities will not deny planning permission where there is no impact on neighbouring properties. Conditions for planning permission vary from case to case and you should contact planning section of Dublin City Council to discuss further. You should also check with your mortgage provider or landlord, in case they have any objections, before you start to work from home.

I am a non EU Citizen. What must I do before starting a business in Ireland?

Non-EEA nationals are able to establish a business in Ireland but will require permission to do so. Further information available here  

How do I conduct market research?

Market Research is necessary to verify that a demand exists in the market place for your product or service. Potential investors, grant agencies and business advisors will all look to see if you know that a demand exists for your product or service.

Methods of conducting market research include the following:

  1. Conduct the research yourself by firstly reviewing trade magazines, newspapers, trade association newsletters and web sites to gather information on the industry or customer base that you are hoping to target. Then you can ask a business advisor to assist with the design of a questionnaire which you can administer yourself by post, fax, telephone or email.
  2. Use a market research agency to conduct questionnaires among a sample of your target market.
  3. Employ a Freelance Researcher to conduct interviews among experts in the industry and to administer a questionnaire.

Whatever approach you take, the objective of the research is to establish whether a niche exists in the market for your product or service.

Visit our market research section

What's the right amount to spend when developing my website?

The IE Domain Registry has prepared some inciteful and invaluable ebooks to help businesses decide a budget for their website. Info on website costs for SME's can be found here while tips and advice on getting accurate quotes can be found here.