FAQs

I am only at the Idea stage, can I still meet with the Local Enterprise Office?

Yes, the majority of Local Enterprise Offices (LEO's) operate an information service and employ Business Advisor who will be available to discuss your proposal with you and identify the most appropriate steps for you to take to move your business idea forward.  Staff of the LEO will be in a position to direct you towards appropriate soft supports such as training courses, mentors and workshops etc.

Can I be guaranteed confidentiality?

And discussion between the Enterprise Office and Businesses/Individuals looking for any type of assistance are held in the strictest of confidence.

How does the Local Enterprise Office select a project for Grant Assistance

An application form is completed by the client and submitted to the LEO. The Initial application is then presented to the Evaluation Committee for assessment, a recommendation is then made to the board on the level of assistance to be awarded. Other sources of finance will be taken into account. A project must avoid displacement and dead - weight.

The General Conditions for Grant support are as follows;

  • The Sector of the economy in which an enterprise is operating or intends to operate
  • The Size or proposed size of the enterprise, LEO's can assist in the establishment, ,and or/development, of new and existing enterprise from individuals/sole trader, companies and community groups subject to the following eligibility criteria;
  • The enterprise must be in the commercial sphere;
  • The enterprise must demonstrate a market for the product/ service;
  • The enterprise must have the capacity for growth and new job creation;
  • The Enterprise must not employ more than 10 people
  • Any expenditure incurred, prior to receipt by applicant of letter of offer from the board, will not be eligible for grant support.

Financial Supports may cover business costs directly attributable to starting a new business or growing and developing a business, or for carrying out a Feasibility/ Innovation Study, except payments to State Bodies.

What Grants are available fro the Local Enterprise Office?

There are three types of grants available from the LEO:

  1. Feasibility/ Innovation Grants
  2. Priming Grants
  3. Business Expansion Grants

What is a Feasibility / Innovation Grant 

Feasibility/ Innovation Grants are designed to assist the promoter with researching market demand for a product or service and examining its sustainability. It includes assistance with innovation including specific consultancy requirements, hiring of expertise from third level colleges, private specialists, design, patent costs and prototype development.

The maximum grant payable must not exceed 60% of the investment or €20,000 whichever is lesser. Expenditure may be considered under the following headings;

  1. Market research costs - to develop the business proposition
  2. Consultancy costs -  design fees, architect, accountant and legal fees
  3. Technical development/Prototype/Innovation - to include prototype development, innovative design, research costs and third level consultancy
  4. Salary/Own Labour Research - costs include own labour involved in carrying out feasibility study.
  5. Miscellaneous costs - telephone, mileage, subsistence and overnight costs etc.

What is a Priming Grant?

The Priming Grant is a business start up grant, available to micro enterprises within the first 18 months of starting up. Priming Grants may be available for sole traders, partnerships, community groups or limited companies that fulfil the following criteria;

The enterprise must;

1. Not employ more than people

2. Be established, registered, and operate within the area of the Local Enterprise Office

3. Operate in the commercial field

4. Show there is a market for the product or service

5. Have the potential for growth in domestic or export markets; and

6. Have the potential for job creation without affecting local businesses

 

The maximum Priming Grant available must not exceed 50%  of the investment or €150,000 whichever is the lesser. Eligible expenditure can include;

  1. Capital Items
  2. Salary costs
  3. Consultancy/Innovation, Marketing costs
  4. General Overhead costs - utility costs, rental or accommodation costs

What is a Business Expansion Grant?

The Business Expansion Grant is designed to assist the business in its growth phase after the initial 18 month start up period.

Micro enterprises who have availed of a Priming Grant are ineligible to apply for a Business Expansion Grant until 12 months after the date of approval  of the Priming grant.

Business Expansion Grants may be available for sole traders, partnerships, community groups or limited companies that fulfil the following criteria;

The enterprise must;

1. Not employ more than people

2. Be established, registered, and operate within the area of the Local Enterprise Office

3. Operate in the commercial field

4.  Show there is a market for the product or service

5. Have the potential for growth in domestic or export markets; and

6. Have the potential for job creation without affecting local businesses

The Maximum Business Expansion grant available must not exceed 50% of the investment or €150,000 which ever is the lesser. Eligible expenditure can include;

  • Capital Items
  • Salary costs
  • Consultancy/Innovation, Marketing costs
  • General Overhead costs - utility costs, rental or accommodation costs

Can I get assistance with completing the application form?

Local Enterprise staff are available to assist promoters to complete application forms and to inform promoters of any additional documents required.

How do I go about applying for financial assistance?

Our application process is straightforward and may be summarised as follows:

Step 1: The project promoter arranges to meet with the LEO to discuss their project proposal in detail. If your business proposal is one that may qualify for financial assistance you will be requested to complete an application form and provide supplementary information/ documentation. The LEO will explain what is required.

Step 2: A completed application form, along with all of the necessary support documentation is then submitted by the projecr promoter for review by the LEO.

Step 3: Additional clarification / information may be sought by the Business Advisor.

Step 4: Application is then submitted to the Evaluation Committee for appraisal. The Evaluation Committee comprises members of the business community, financial institutions and local authority and they normally meet every six weeks. All documents relating to the application are submitted to the Evaluation Committee one week in advance of their meeting for consideration.

Step 5: The Evaluation Committee at their meeting makes a written recommendation to the LEO and this is considered by the LEO at their meeting before a final decision on the application is agreed. The Evaluation Committee and / or LEO may deem it necessary to defer a decision pending receipt of additional information.

Step 6: The Chief Executive informs the project promoter in writing of the LEO's decision. In the case of grant approval. a formal letter of offer and terms and conditions attaching to grant - aid will also be issued.

Step 7: In the event of your project being deemed ineligible and / or not obtaining financial assistance for the LEO, you can discuss the project application and evaluation with the LEO regarding this unsuccessful application to obtain further feedback and/ or advice regarding this application. If you are not satisfied, you will be provided with written notification of the appeals process.

If a project does not qualify for grant assistance can I avail of any other assistance?

Where a project is deemed to be ineligible for financial assistance for the LEO, we may be able to provide you with other supports. Our wide range of non - financial supports are normally available to all small businesses, regardless of whether they qualify for grant - aid or not. Contact us to discuss this further.

 

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