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Ireland start-up business funding: Financial resources and tips

Starting a business in Ireland? Here’s how to get funding. Starting a new business can be daunting, but entrepreneurs in Ireland have plenty of resources to help get their startups off the ground.


We’ve compiled a long list of tips, resources, and organisations that help Irish start-ups get funding and achieve their goals.


Money resources for Ireland start-up businesses


Government organisations that help Irish entrepreneurs


Local Enterprise Offices


Local Enterprise Offices in 31 locations around Ireland help entrepreneurs start and expand their businesses. They offer the most help to start-ups that are just getting off the ground.

Enterprise Ireland


This government organisation supports start-ups by offering funding and mentorship when they’re ready to expand. The office can also connect entrepreneurs with local investors and offer practical tax advice.


Businesses that are considered high potential start-ups may qualify for the organisation’s Competitive Start Fund and Feasibility Study Grant.


Grants and funds for Irish start-ups


Business Financial Planning Grant


This grant provides up to €5,000 in funding to Irish businesses impacted by COVID-19 to work with a third-party consultant.


Digitalisation Vouchers


Enterprise Ireland clients with 10 or more employees or any company in the manufacturing or internationally traded sectors with 10 or more employees can apply. The voucher covers up to €9,000 in digital strategy and tech costs.


Mentor Grants


Need a mentor? Start-ups associated with Enterprise Ireland can apply for a grant that covers up to €1,750 for a business mentor.

Market Discovery Fund


This fund through Enterprise Ireland helps entrepreneurs conduct market research when they’re ready to expand.

Priming Grants


Small businesses in their first 18 months are eligible for a Priming Grant of 50% of the investment or €150,000.


Business Expansion Grants

Businesses ready to expand after 18 months can apply for a Business Expansion Grant, which is similar to a Priming Grant.


Innovation Voucher Programme


These €5,000 vouchers offered by Enterprise Ireland help start-ups work with knowledge providers to explore business opportunities and solve problems.


Irish tax credits that benefit start-up businesses


Research and Development tax credit


Start-ups can reduce their Corporation Tax by claiming money they spent on research and development.


Knowledge Development Box

Get Corporation Tax relief on business income from your computer programs, patented inventions, and IP.


Claiming other deductions


Entrepreneurs can claim a series of business expenses to reduce their overall tax burden. These expenses include employee salaries, rent, vehicle costs, and account fees.

Start Your Own Business Relief

If you started your own business after being unemployed, you could qualify for up to €40,000 in annual income tax relief.


Back to Work Enterprise Allowance


Irish citizens who are unemployed and receive social welfare payments can apply to keep a portion of their welfare while they start a company.


Business startup support programs and incubators


Business incubators offer entrepreneurs access to professional networks and funding sources they may not otherwise get on their own.

National Digital Research Centre (NDRC)


Tech start-ups can turn to NDRC, which is an early-stage investor based in Ireland. NDRC offers an accelerator program, mentorship, up to €100,000 in funding, and other perks.

Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN


Early-stage businesses based in Ireland can apply to connect with angel investors through the Halo Business Angel Network.

New Frontiers


New Frontiers gives start-ups in any industry access to one-on-one mentors, R&D support, workshops, free co-working space, and financial stipends.

InterTradeIreland


Small businesses in Ireland and Northern Irelands who want to expand to international markets can turn to InterTradeIreland for support. The Newry-based organization helps start-ups grow sales, secure funding, and navigate Brexit.

Údarás na Gaeltachta


Businesses in the Gaeltacht regions have access to a series of grants and other start-up resources through Údarás na Gaeltachta.


Atlantic Economic Corridor


Atlantic Economic Corridor helps businesses on the Irish western seaboard access free mentors and locate funding sources.

ACORNS


Female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland can join ACORNS, a small business incubator that offers access to industry experts, workshops, and networking.

Going for Growth

Women entrepreneurs in Ireland who are ready to grow their businesses can apply to join Going for Growth, an incubator that connects new female business owners with experienced entrepreneurs.

The Innovation Exchange


This program connects large companies with Irish start-ups that can help them solve innovation challenges.


Start-up funding and incubators for Irish students


Students enrolled at universities across Ireland have access to on-campus resources to help them start a business or commercialize their research.


Some of these student resources include:


Tangent at Trinity College Dublin


Ignite at University College Cork


Invent Centre at Dublin City University

MaynoothWorks at Maynooth University


The Nexus Innovation Centre at University of Limerick


NovaUCD at University College Dublin


Origin8 Centre at the National College of Art and Design


Rubicon Centre at Cork Institute of Technology


Students should also explore Ireland’s Graduate Start Fund, which provides competitive business funding specifically for Irish grads.

Venture capital funding for Ireland start-ups


Start-ups with growth potential can try to secure venture capital funding from private investors.


InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Guide


This helpful guide from InterTradeIreland explains how Irish startups can secure venture capital and lists the firms that invest in Irish businesses.

The Irish Venture Capital Association

Start-ups in Ireland that want to reach venture capital funding can turn to the Irish Venture Capital Association. The group represents Ireland’s many venture capitalists and private equity firms that invest in small businesses with growth potential.


Crowdfunding for Irish start-ups

Online crowdfunding groups can also be a source of capital for start-ups. Here are a few groups based in Ireland:


Fund it


Fund it focuses on raising money for Ireland’s cultural and creative industries.


iDonate.ie


If your start-up is non-profit or wants to donate to a charity, iDonate.ie can help collect crowdfunded donations.


Awards and competitions for Irish start-ups


Start-ups can enter national competitions to gain exposure, win prize money, and impress future investors.

National Enterprise Awards

This award is offered by Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices to Irish start-ups. Winners receive funding and exposure to more investors.

The National Startup Awards

Start-ups can also enter The National Startup Awards, which is open to any early-stage start-up based in Ireland.

Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition


With a €300,000 cash prize fund, the Seedcom Investor Readiness Competition from InterTradeIreland is another exciting opportunity for Irish start-ups to attract investors and gain exposure.




Borrowing money to fund a startup business

Small business loans are also an option for entrepreneurs who don’t mind taking on a bit of debt.

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI)


Specifically for Irish small and mid-sized businesses, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland offers credit to entrepreneurs.

Microfinance Ireland

Ireland’s small business owners can apply for a small loan of €2,000 to €25,000 through the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund.


Future Growth Loan Scheme


Loans of €25,000 to €3 million with 7-10 year terms are available through the government’s Future Growth Loan Scheme.


Credit Review Office


Entrepreneurs who have trouble getting a business loan can work with the Credit Review Office to help them get a loan.