What grants are available from the LEO?

Your Local Enterprise Office can offer a variety of financial supports to assist the start-up, development, and expansion of small businesses in the manufacturing and services sectors (based upon eligibility criteria).

Funding can be provided to sole traders, partnerships, and Limited companies.

However, retail enterprises, personal services, professional services or construction and local services are not eligible for grant aid.

What is a Priming Grant?

A Priming Grant is a business start-up grant available to micro enterprises employing up to 10 employees (or full-time equivalents) trading both in Ireland and internationally. It is suitable for companies that are within the first 18 months of start-up and is also available to businesses with real potential to develop into Internationally Trading Services (ITS) and manufacturing.

The grant may be used to buy new equipment or help with direct business costs but cannot be used towards the purchase of a building, land or any mobile assets.
The maximum Priming Grant payable must not exceed 50% of the investment up to €80,000 but the LEO can approve up to €150,000 in certain situations.
The following criteria will be considered before a decision is made on the sum awarded

  • Capital items such as renovating or fitting out a workspace, the purchase of equipment and utilities costs
  • Salary costs - Subject to the 50% limit, a maximum grant of up to €15,000 per full time job created shall apply in respect of any employment support which is grant funded
  • Consultancy, Innovation and Marketing costs.

Business Expansion Grant

The Business Expansion Grant is designed to assist businesses, employing up to 10 staff in its growth phase after the initial 18-month start-up period.
Businesses which received a Priming Grant cannot apply for a Business Expansion Grant for 12 months after approval of the latter.
The maximum Business Expansion Grant payable must not exceed 50% of the investment or, in exceptional circumstances, €150,000 - or whichever is the lesser. The amount granted will be determined by the LEO following assessment of each individual application.

The approved figure will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Capital items – including developing and fitting out of workspace, purchase of new equipment and utilities
  • Salary costs - Subject to the 50% limit, a maximum grant of up to €15,000 per full time job created shall apply in respect of any employment support which is grant funded
  • Consultancy, Innovation and Marketing costs.

What is a Feasibility/Innovation Grant?

This is designed to help small businesses in the research of market demand for a product or service and then to further examine how sustainable it is. It also includes assistance with innovation, consultancy fees and technical development, such as making a prototype.
The maximum Feasibility Study Grant is from 50% (in the South and East Region) to 60% (in the Borders Midlands, West Region) of investment and up to a maximum of €15,000, whichever is the lesser.

The approved sum will be decided after several cost considerations are taken into account, including:

  • Market Research Costs in order to develop the business proposition
  • Consultancy Costs – to include design fees, architect fees and legal fees
  • Technical Development, Prototype and Innovation – to include prototype development, innovative design, research costs and third-level college consultancy
  • Salary or your own labour research – costs include own labour involved in carrying out the Feasibility Study. The maximum amount chargeable is €400 a week subject to the overall maximum but not exceeding 20% of the overall grant drawdown
  • Miscellaneous Costs – including telephone costs, mileage costs at €0.26 per kilometre, subsistence and overnight costs, air travel, and so on. Costs in this category relate specifically to Feasibility Grants and the maximum amount for these costs should not exceed 20% of the overall grant level.

Is Grant Assistance available for Research, Development, and Innovation (RD&I)?

In order to help businesses undertake essential research and development projects, the Agile Innovation Fund is available to eligible manufacturing or internationally traded services companies. This is specifically intended for the development of new or substantially improved products, services or processes and will be awarded to successful applications where the total project cost is less than €300,000.
It is intended for companies who are new to RD&I, operating in short, product life cycles and undertaking small or short projects.

Costs which may be covered in the grant include:

  • Existing staff costs and new staff costs
  • Overheads
  • Materials
  • Consultancy
  • Travel & Subsistence
  • Certification and clinical trials

Please contact your LEO for further information https://www.localenterprise.ie/Feasibility-Grants/