LEOs can assist in the establishment and/or development of new and existing enterprises (limited company, individuals/sole trader, cooperatives and partnerships) provided that such enterprises/projects are capable of attaining commercial viability and subject to the following eligibility criteria:
- The enterprise must not employ more than 10 people;
- The enterprise must be established, registered and operate within the geographic location of the Local Enterprise Office;
- The enterprise must operate in the commercial sphere;
- The enterprise must demonstrate a market for the product/service;
- The enterprise must have potential for growth in domestic and/or export markets and also potential for new job creation.
Within the above eligibility criteria there are certain priorities and restrictions:
- Priority must be given to enterprises in the manufacturing or internationally traded services sectors which over time can develop into strong export entities and graduate to the Enterprise Ireland portfolio;
- Salary support may be offered to unique tourism services projects that are focused predominantly on generating revenues from overseas visitors and which do not give rise to deadweight and/or displacement in the local economy;
- This grant aid does not support those areas such as retail enterprises, personal services (eg hairdressers, gardeners, creches etc), professional services (accountants, solicitors etc), construction/local building services, as this is considered to give rise to unacceptable deadweight (where the project would have proceeded anyway) and/or displacement (where the projects imply to displace business from other players in the market).
- The sector of the economy in which an enterprise is operating or intends to operate
- The size or proposed size of the enterprise
- Any expenditure incurred, prior to receipt of application form, will not be eligible for grant support.
Micro enterprises (Limited Companies, Designated Activity Companies, sole traders, co-operatives and partnerships) can apply for LEO Grant funding to help them get the business started within the first 18 months of startup (Priming Grant) or to help them expand there business after the first 18 months of trading (Business Expansion Grants). The maximum LEO Grant payable is 50% of the investment or 50% of €150,000 whichever is less. Priming Grants above €15,000 Grants, and Business Expansion Grants above €25,000 will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.