6 Funding Options for Starting a Business in Ireland

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So you have your business idea, you have done your market research, and now you want to get cracking on building your new business. But where are you going to get the money? Luckily, when starting up a business in Ireland, there are numerous supports available. In comparison with other EU countries, Ireland ranks highly with the amount of available help for startup businesses.  This article covers some of the primary sources of funding for many Irish startups.


The Three F’s: Family, Friends and Fools.

This is the number one source of funding for most early stage businesses. However, the amount of capital that can sought from even the most caring Irish mammy is likely to be limited. Any funding you raise from family and friends early on will most likely go out the door as fast as it came in with the costs associated of setting up your business in the first place, so it is time to start planning some other options.


Short Term Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.

This scheme is available to people who are unemployed and want to start their own business. It is available to anyone on jobseekers benefit, and allows for you to keep your current payments for a period of 9 months while you set up your business. This can take considerable pressure off in the early stages of a business. More information is available on Welfare.ie.


Local Enterprise Office (LEO)    LEO-Logo

Your Local Enterprise Office offers a number of supports for startup businesses, and is the first port of call for many startups. Their startup grants are structured into three tiers; the Feasibility Grant, the Priming Grant, and the Business Expansion Grant.

Feasibility Grant: These grants are designed to research the demand for your product or service, and to assess its sustainability. If approved, you are required to cover the cost of your feasibility study with your own investment, and the LEO will reimburse 50% of your costs up to a maximum of €20,000.

Priming Grant: The Priming Grant is for business that are less than 18 months old that is growing and demonstrates potential to trade internationally. Like the Feasibility Grant, the LEO will cover 50% of your investment, up to €150,000.

Business Expansion Grant: The Business Expansion Grant is self-explanatory, aimed at expanding businesses after the initial 18 month start-up period. The maximum Business Expansion Grant payable shall be 50% of the investment or €150,000 whichever is the lesser.



For startups based in rural areas, Leader provide training, mentoring and funding. They have a number of grants available, and funding can be secured up to €500,000, however most grants range from €3000-€20,000. For more information click here.


Enterprise Ireland (EI)        ei

Enterprise Ireland provide a range of supports for Irish startup business. Enterprise Irelands priority is to achieve export sales growth from Irish companies, with all their services geared toward helping Irish companies win international sales. Some of the EI funding supports are outlined below, but a full list of all the funding supports provided by EI can be found here.

HPSU Feasibility Grant: The High Potential Startup Feasibility Grant is intended to assist startup companies in investigating the viability of a new export oriented business or proposition. EI cover 50% of the eligible costs accrued while undertaking the study, up to a maximum of €15,000.

Competitive Start Fund: This grant is intended to accelerate the growth of Irish startups that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The application process for this fund is indeed extremely competitive, with 15 companies receiving funding from approximately 200 applications. The fund provides €50,000 in exchange for a 10% equity share, and there are numerous call dates throughout the year.

Microfinance Ireland

Microfinance Ireland provide loans to startup companies and microenterprises, i.e  enterprises that employ fewer than 10 people and whose annual turnover does not exceed €2m. They provide loans from €2000 up to €25,000 at a fixed 8.8% APR, however a reduction in this interest rate can be obtained by applying through your local enterprise office. More information here.

These are just a few of the business startup funding grants available in Ireland. If you have any more that you think should be included, please comment below.

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