Starting a Business

FAQs about Starting a Business

Q.1 Are there grants for starting a business?

There is a large array of supports for starting a business including advice, information, training, mentoring, social welfare allowances and reliefs, and sometimes direct grant aid assistance for researching a business idea, employing people or investing in equipment.

Businesses that receive grant aid are those that have been identified as having potential for providing long-term viable jobs.  Therefore, the support agencies are interested in the areas of business that are innovative, fill new market niches, replace imported products or services, demonstrate good management skills and have the financial viability necessary to succeed.  Although most start-up businesses do not receive cash grant aid, all can avail of information and advice.

Find out more about applying for a grant

Q.2 Why are some businesses never grant aided?

Grant aid assistance is targeted only at very specific sectors, regions or activities that have been identified as most likely to provide opportunities for economic and employment growth in Ireland.

Extensive research has been carried out to identify the reasons for business failures.  For example, some activities have too many people in them already and cannot support more.  Other activities may only be viable if the company is of a certain size or can fulfil a specific product need.

Areas such as retail trade must compete in the open market to operate successfully and, as such, are never grant aid assisted as it would give that company an unfair advantage over others.  Training in good management skills or technical improvements is often more valuable to businesses in the long term.

Find out more about applying for a grant

Q.3 I have an idea for a new business. Where do I start?

You need to do some basic market research to establish that a market exists, its size and how you can access it, before contacting your local Enterprise Office, (or Enterprise Ireland, or Udaras na Gaeltachta, if you expect to employ more than 10 people soon after start-up).  Next you need to do more market research and write a business plan.

Q.4 Do I need to write a Business Plan?

Yes, you do.  Of course, you can start a business without a business plan.  But you will have difficulties in raising finance or accessing support from banks or Local Enterprise Offices.

Even if you don't need finance, a business plan provides an invaluable framework for planning how your business will proceed and later as a benchmark for assessing the health of your business.  It ensures that you know what is going on in all aspects of the business and have a method for seeing how the activities interact.

Successful entrepreneurs will tell you that planning is 90% of the effort required.

You can download a Business Plan here.

Q.5 Where can I get a low cost or interest-free loan?

The main banks all have specialist units to support small businesses, which offer special terms (including borrowing at low rates) to start-ups.  MicrofinanceIreland may be a source of finance for the entrepreneur who has unsuccessfully exhausted conventional funding sources. We would recommend you talk to us about your options and for more advice on this.

Q.6 Can I start a business in my own home?

The use of a private residence for business purposes is usually subject to planning permission.  In most cases, local authorities will not require planning permission (or deny it, if it is applied for) where there is no impact on neighbouring properties.  For example, a financial consultant who does his/her paperwork at home but meets clients on their own premises would expect little difficulty in relation to planning permission.  But opening a garage to tune performance cars might bring complaints from your neighbours - and a refusal of the necessary planning permission.  Conditions vary around the country.  Check with you local authority's planning department before making any decision.  You should also check with your mortgage provider or landlord, in case they have any objections, before you start to work from home.

Q.7 What are the main requirements when setting up in business?

You will need to register with the tax office as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. You may also need to register your business name. You will need to consider insurance, setting up a bank account, doing up a safety statement and whether or not you need planning permission. Full details on requirements here.