Exploring Business Grants and Government Startup Support Opportunities in Ireland


Starting a new business is akin to getting an aircraft off the ground – it requires the right combination of resources, support, and momentum. While the business world offers immense opportunities, navigating the complexities of launching and scaling a startup can be challenging. One crucial aspect of this journey is identifying the grants and government startup supports available to entrepreneurs. This article will delve into seven key business grants and government supports tailored for Irish businesses, highlighting the key players in this ecosystem, and offering insights into where startups can find valuable assistance.

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Key Players in Business Grants and Startup Support

  1. Local Enterprise Office (LEO)The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) plays a pivotal role in providing government startup support in Ireland. With 31 offices spread across the country, LEOs are responsible for assisting startups within their respective regions. LEOs offer a wide range of services, including training, skills development, expert advice, and mentorship. These resources are invaluable to entrepreneurs who may be navigating unfamiliar terrain in areas such as finance, marketing, innovation, and business planning.
  2. Enterprise Ireland (EI)Enterprise Ireland is another significant player in the business grants and support landscape. EI focuses on promoting business growth through enterprise grants, aiding companies in expanding into international markets. While EI has stricter qualifying criteria compared to LEOs, it offers substantial benefits and support for startups. Some of the grants provided by EI include the Business Financial Planning Grant, Digitalisation Vouchers, Mentor Grants, Market Discovery Fund, and the Lean Start Programme.
  3. National Digital Research Centre (NDRC)The NDRC, based in Dublin, is a private organization that provides early startup acceleration grants, primarily catering to tech companies with global ambitions. These grants help startups gain the necessary momentum and resources to compete in the global market.
  4. Business Innovation Centre (BIC)The Business Innovation Centre (BIC) is an organization with three centres in Ireland: Cork BIC, West BIC, and South East BIC. These centres support startups by preparing them for investment and scaling funding. They also offer access to finance, help develop financial and business plans, provide affordable office spaces, and host networking events.
  5. Women Entrepreneurship InitiativesIreland offers specific support for women entrepreneurs through initiatives like the Women Founded High Potential Start-Up (WFHPSU) program, which is part of Enterprise Ireland. These initiatives aim to empower and promote female entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem.
  6. Supports for Immigrants and Foreign BusinessesFor entrepreneurs looking to establish their businesses in Ireland, the Immigrant Investor Programme and the Startup Enterprise Programme (STEP) provide valuable assistance. These programs offer a pathway for foreign entrepreneurs to set up businesses and contribute to Ireland’s economic growth.
  7. Back to Work Enterprise Allowances (BTWEA) and Short-Term Enterprise Allowances (STEA)For individuals who were previously employed and are now pursuing entrepreneurial endeavours, the BTWEA and STEA are essential. These programs allow unemployed individuals to receive a jobseeker’s allowance while actively working on their startup ventures.
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Navigating Your Startup Journey

The startup journey can be overwhelming due to the abundance of choices and information available. To help entrepreneurs effectively access business grants and government startup support, seeking professional guidance can be beneficial.

Aperio: Your Partner in Business Success

Aperio is a Cork-based outsourced accounting and consulting company dedicated to assisting startups and businesses at various stages of their journey. Our comprehensive services encompass company formation, bookkeeping, management accounting, financial compliance, and support in securing government startup grants. We are committed to providing the professional help you need to navigate the complex landscape of business grants and support.


Launching and growing a startup in Ireland offers a multitude of opportunities, but it can also be a challenging endeavour. Identifying and accessing the right grants and government startup support is essential for a successful journey. With organizations like LEO, EI, NDRC, BIC, and specialized initiatives for women entrepreneurs, immigrants, and those re-entering the workforce, Irish startups have access to valuable resources. Seeking professional guidance from companies like Aperio can further enhance your chances of success in the dynamic world of entrepreneurship. Embrace the support available to you and turn your business dreams into reality.

Additional Supports for Startups

  1. Market Discovery Fund and Lean Start ProgrammeFor startups looking to expand their operations and enter new markets, Enterprise Ireland offers the Market Discovery Fund and Lean Start Programme. The Market Discovery Fund supports market research and development for growing companies, helping them identify and capitalize on new market opportunities. On the other hand, the Lean Start Programme focuses on streamlining operations, reducing waste, and maximizing efficiency, ensuring that startups operate at their full potential.
  2. High-Potential Start-Up Grant (HPSU)If your startup demonstrates the potential for rapid growth and job creation, Enterprise Ireland may consider it for the High-Potential Start-Up Grant (HPSU). To qualify for this grant, your company should offer a unique product or service capable of creating at least ten jobs and achieving at least €1 million in export sales within three years of establishment. In return, Enterprise Ireland becomes a shareholder in your company, providing access to extensive support, mentoring, and resources.

Regional Business Supports

  1. Northern and Western Regions: West BIC

West BIC, located in the northern and western regions of Ireland, plays a vital role in supporting startups and entrepreneurs in these areas. They offer a wide range of services, including business planning, financial support, access to investors, and networking opportunities. West BIC serves as a valuable resource for startups seeking to establish themselves in these regions.

  1. Southern Region: Cork BIC

Cork BIC focuses on supporting startups in the southern region of Ireland, including Cork and its surroundings. They provide services such as mentoring, investor readiness preparation, and affordable office space to help startups thrive in this region’s vibrant ecosystem.

  1. South East Region: South East BIC

South East BIC caters to startups in the southeastern part of Ireland. They assist entrepreneurs in developing their business plans, securing financing, and accessing office space. South East BIC is a crucial resource for startups aiming to grow in this region.

International Expansion Support

  1. Global Ambitions: NDRC

If your startup has global ambitions, the NDRC, based in Dublin, offers early-stage acceleration grants. These grants are tailored for tech companies that aspire to make a significant impact on the global stage. NDRC provides the necessary support and resources to help your tech startup succeed internationally.

Support for Returning to Entrepreneurship

  1. Back to Work Enterprise Allowances (BTWEA) and Short-Term Enterprise Allowances (STEA)

For individuals who were previously employed and are now pursuing entrepreneurial endeavours, the BTWEA and STEA are essential. These programs allow unemployed individuals to receive a jobseeker’s allowance while actively working on their startup ventures. This support is especially valuable for those transitioning from traditional employment to entrepreneurship.

In conclusion, Ireland offers a diverse array of business grants and government startup support, catering to various stages of a startup’s journey. Whether you’re just starting or aiming to expand internationally, there are resources and organizations ready to assist you. By taking advantage of these opportunities and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can navigate the path of entrepreneurship with confidence and increase your chances of success. Embrace the support available and turn your startup dreams into a thriving reality.

These links will provide additional information and resources related to the topics discussed in the article.

  1. Local Enterprise Office (LEO):
  2. Enterprise Ireland (EI):
  3. National Digital Research Centre (NDRC):
  4. Business Innovation Centre (BIC):
  5. Women Founded High Potential Start-Up (WFHPSU):
  6. Immigrant Investor Programme:
  7. Back to Work Enterprise Allowances (BTWEA) and Short-Term Enterprise Allowances (STEA):

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