Starting Your Business - Trading Less Than 18 Months

I’m interested in starting my own business, how can the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Dublin City help me?

We have a broad range of supports that help you:


Each week we run a FREE Business Advice Clinic. Over two hours, an experienced Business Advisor explains the essentials of starting your own business. Bookings can be made here.

For more tailored support, our one to one mentoring programme connects you with an experienced business mentor to provide you with advice to suit your business needs. Each session offers you up to 3 hours contact time with a mentor, which can be made up of onsite/off site visit(s),email/telephone support or time guiding your research for your business. You can choose between one 3 hour (€50) or two 3 hour (€100) sessions. Applications can be made here.


We offer a variety of training workshops and courses to support individuals starting a business.

Over 4/5 weeks, our Start Your Own Business course provides a comprehensive overview of what it takes to start your own business. On completion of the course participants will have developed the necessary skills and knowledge to assess the market and financial viability of their business idea/project.

In conjunction with Dublin City Libraries every Spring and Autumn we also run a series of free talks on the essentials of starting a business.

We also run a number of workshops to develop entrepreneur’s skillsets and understanding. Topics include Marketing Strategy, Social Media & Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Tax and Bookkeeping, intellectual property and Brexit to name just some of the subjects covered.

For more information and to make a booking visit

Management Development Programmes

Our Hi Start Management Development Programme assists ambitious early stage growth focused companies to identify and build foundations required to secure investment and scale the business in international markets. If you would like to take part in this programme, register your interest here.

Financial Supports

Our grant supports include Feasibility Grants (market research, prototype development), Priming Grants (salary costs), Trading Online Vouchers (eCommerce) as well as the Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters Grants (international tradeshows).

Alternatively we can assist you with making a Microfinance Ireland (MFI) Loan application. MFI offer unsecured loans of between €2,000 and €25,000 to cover working capital, marketing costs as well as the purchase of stock, equipment, machinery and business vehicles. Applications made through LEO Dublin City can avail of a preferential interest rate.

If you are interested in the financial supports available through LEO Dublin City please ensure you read the eligibility criteria before applying.


Networking is a valuable and productive activity for owner/managers. Networking puts you in contact with like-minded people whose experience an­d knowledge can help you greatly to solve the day-to-day problems of business and benefit from the opportunities that may arise.

Women in Business

Dublin Food Chain

Are LEO Dublin City grants subject to tax?

The Revenue guide on Employment Grants and Recruitment Subsidies (reviewed in May 2019) states that the LEO grants are tax exempt.

What financial supports are available to help me start my business?

The following are just some of the Agencies offering financial supports to start-ups:

 For more information on supports available to you visit

How do I decide what type of business to set up? Sole Trader, Partnership or a Company?

Detailed information on the type of business structures that can be established in Ireland is available from the Companies Registration Office (CRO). The following is a brief overview.

There are a number of different business entities through which you can conduct your business;

  • Sole Trader

  • Partnership

  • Limited Liability Company

  • 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 traderPrivate limited companyPartnership
As a sole trader, you are the owner of the businessA legal entity, separate from its shareholdersAn agreement between two or
more people to go into business together
You are legally liable for the
business and do not have any
protection if the business fails
If the business fails the
shareholders are only liable
for any amount outstanding 
on the share capital they subscribe
If the business fails, each partner is liable for all losses
If the business is not successful,
all of your assets (business &
personal) can be used to pay
off your creditors
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.

The Law Society provides a useful online tool to find a solicitor here.

Chartered Accountants Ireland also provide a helpful online tool to help find a Chartered Accountant here.

How do I register a business name?

You can register your business name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). Registrations can be done online or via their office on Gloucester Place Lower, Dublin 1 for a small fee.

Before registering your company name, you will need to thoroughly research if anyone else has the same/ similar business name here in Ireland and internationally.

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 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.

How do I register a patent my product or design?

The Intellectual Property Office of Ireland is the national intellectual property agency in Ireland. Applications to register a patent can be made online for all new Patent and Supplementary Protection Certificates. The Office can now accept online applications for all IP right including trademarks and designs.

Does my business need insurance?

When you set up a 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 Insurance

  • Motor Insurance

Please contact a suitably qualified person for specific advice to your business.

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 Dublin City Council to discuss further.

I am looking for a co-working or enterprise centre for my business, where can I find one? has a full & comprehensive list of available spaces in Dublin city and county. To find out if there's a suitable space for you and your business, please see here.

I am a non- EU citizen. What steps do I take to set up a business in Ireland?

Non-EEA nationals are able to establish a business in Ireland but will require permission to do so. Further information on the Immigrant Investor Programme and Startup Entrepreneur Programme is available from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS)

How much should I spend when setting up a website?

The IE Domain Registry has prepared some insightful 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.

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

The Health Products Regulatory Authority provides information regarding cosmetic regulations in Ireland 

Are there any other supports available?

New Frontiers is a national entrepreneur development programme, funded by Enterprise Ireland. Aimed at accelerating the development of sustainable new businesses that have strong employment and growth potential. Delivered by third-level institutions, at 16 locations around Ireland, it provides a comprehensive set of business development supports to participants. Supports include:

TrainingPeer to peer learning
Access to office spaceAccess to Enterprise Ireland experts
ScholarshipsIntroductions to seed and early stage
capital investment networks

The New Frontiers Programme is delivered across three phases:

Phase 1: Testing Your Business Idea (2 evenings for 8 – 10 weeks)

Phase 2: Business Planning (6 months Full-Time)

Phase 3: Business Development (2/3 months Full-Time)

Enterprise Ireland’s Agile Innovation Fund supports clients to quickly develop innovations and respond to opportunities and threats in new and existing markets. It is a great fit for companies that need to rapidly develop solutions or are planning a first R&D project. Companies can access up to 50% in support of innovation projects with a total cost of up to €300,000


For more information on supports available to you visit