Support for Small Businesses
Early Stage Supports
The Start Your Own Business scheme provides relief from income tax for long-term unemployed people who start a new business. The scheme will provide an exemption from income tax up to a maximum of €40,000 per annum for a period of two years to individuals who set up a qualifying business; having been unemployed for a period of at least 12 months prior to starting the business. It runs from 25 October 2013 to 31 December 2016.
If you have been out of work and in receipt of social welfare for more than twelve months, under the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance you can keep your social welfare payment for two years if you set up a business (year 1: 100% – year 2; 75%).
This is for people who have started a company and need cash to fund its growth. You may claim back the income tax you paid in the previous six years to invest equity in the company. The minimum investment under the scheme is €250 and the maximum investment is €100,000 per year. This tax relief doesn’t apply to certain companies like professional service companies or firms dealing in land, petroleum or mineral activities. An online calculator is available at SURE.GOV.
Under this scheme, you can [technically] earn €120,000 tax-free for the first three years. The scheme gives relief from corporation tax on your trading income, and certain other gains new companies may acquire, for the first three years.
This scheme replaced the business expansion scheme and allows individual investors get tax relief on investments they make in other companies.
OPTIMISE eCommerce fund
Fifteen companies can each win prizes of 10 days of professional consultancy, training and development, from a total fund of €150,000. OPTIMISE Awards give small business owners the e-tools and know-how to ‘optimise’ their existing website and grow their business online.
If you own or manage an SME, and it’s a limited company, you can apply for an innovation voucher worth €5,000.
This innovative business support programme enables a new entrepreneur to exchange skills, knowledge and contacts with the owner of a more established host enterprise in another European Union member state. ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’ is financed by the European Commission and has been operating successfully since 2009. It is open to business owners aged 18-65.
The objective of the 2inno programme is to help you to create and implement an innovation strategy in your small business. You can get free expert coaching in the development and implementation of a tailored innovation strategy for your business. The project team brings together experts in enterprise development and innovation management from public and private sectors across six EU member states.
Entrepreneur 2.0 Initiative aims to equip individuals, especially unemployed young people and micro SME owners with skills on exploiting Web 2.0 (interactive web based) tools so that they can become successful entrepreneurs in markets outside their national borders.
Competitions & Awards
Are you 30 or under with a business idea or an existing business? If so, the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition could be for you. The #IBYE competition is open to all sectors. The competition takes place at county level initially, with a prize fund of €50,000 available to the winners of three separate categories.
Are you a thought leader, entrepreneur, startup founder, or scientist and based on the island of Ireland? If so, you can enter these awards.
A range of supports is on offer for the winner of these awards. The awards are open to all sole traders, partnerships or bodies corporate, trading in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland that have been in business three years or less on September 30th, 2015 and employ 30 staff or less.
The National Enterprise Awards, organised by the National network of Local Enterprise Offices, celebrate the achievements of Ireland’s micro-enterprise sector. The awards recognise and celebrate the success stories of small business owners from all over the country.
The eir Elevation Fast Company Awards will be a unique recognition of the success and ingenuity of the fastest growing businesses across Ireland and the unique drivers behind them. With a spotlight on innovation, international scalability, differentiation and strategic investment to the Irish economy, the eir Elevation Fast Company Awards celebrates the success of Ireland’s fastest growing companies. This Awards programme is free to enter.
Financing a businesses in Ireland
If it’s time for your business to borrow, you can talk to a bank about a small business loan. Banks have secured and unsecured interest rates and more than that, they have many financial products and services for SMEs of all sizes and stages.
Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland
The SBCI was set up to offer loans to SMEs that are up to 2 per cent cheaper than market rates. For example, an SBCI five-year loan of €400,000 will cost an SME between €15,000 and €20,000 less than a typical market loan.
Under a partnership between Microfinance Ireland (www.microfinanceireland.ie) and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) across Ireland, business loans are now available through Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. https://www.localenterprise.ie/DLR/Financial-Supports/Types-of-Funding/Microfinance-Loans/
Details of the business loans available:
- Unsecured loans from €2,000 up to €25,000
- Term from 3 to 5 years
- Reduced Interest Rate 7.5% (7.8% APR) for LEO clients
- Flexibility on repayment terms
If you need working capital but can’t get it from a bank, the Credit Guarantee Scheme may be for you. The idea is that the Irish Government provides the lender with a 75% guarantee for which the borrower pays for a 2% premium. Up until now, the scheme was only available to businesses applying for new loans. It’s now also available to companies that want to move loans from a bank that is leaving the Irish market. The maximum length of the guarantee has been extended from three to seven years.
If you are a small business owner or a sole trader and have had difficulty accessing loans from a bank or commercial lending firm, you can apply for an independent review from the Credit Review Office. You can also apply for a review if your existing credit terms have been changed.
Growing your business
This is to encourage investment by companies into research and development. The main challenge for SMEs is knowing the difference between everyday commercial activity and R&D. You may need assistance from a qualified accountant to establish what can be claimed against R&D.
This is to encourage companies, paying corporation tax, to buy energy efficient equipment and machinery. You can write-off 100% of the purchase value of qualifying energy efficient equipment against your profit, in the year of purchase.
Trading Online Vouchers
The Trading Online Vouchers Scheme offers small businesses the opportunity to develop their website or digital marketing strategy by availing of vouchers of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure.
Help when recruiting
The Department of Social Protection (DSP) provides a range of services to employers to help them find staff. Services include recruitment and filtering of jobseekers CV’s on your behalf, matching jobseekers to your specific role and provide support during the vacancy – including a dedicated email address where they filter the applicants before sending you suitable qualified and job ready candidates.
- Recruitment & Employment Services
- Jobs Ireland (free advertising of vacancies 1890 8000 24)
- Matching Jobseekers to meet role profile
- Manage /screen CV’s – with dedicated email address
- Employer support for the duration of the vacancy.
As a business owner, you can employ a person who has been unemployed for over 12 months, or on disability allowance, and get additional tax deductions. This is worth at least €2,500 a year for limited SMEs or €8,000 for sole traders.
An employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who employ jobseekers on the Live Register. This incentive replaces the Revenue Job Assist and Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption Scheme from 1 July 2013. It is designed to encourage employers and businesses to employ people who have been out of work for long periods. Eligible employers who recruit full-time employees on or after 1 July 2013 may apply for the incentive.
The Department of Social Protection pays the incentive to the employer monthly in arrears over a 2-year period. It provides 2 levels of regular cash payments:
- A payment of €7,500 for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months – see ‘JobsPlus for young people’ below
- A payment of €10,000 for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months
JobBridge offers an internship of 6-9 months to a person who has been signing on as available for work and receiving a payment or credits for at least three months. Employees receive €50 per week on top of their welfare payment. 98% of participating companies would recommend the scheme to other companies.
This is a new programme with 6,500 places. Participants receive certified classroom training and work experience with a company. This is for people who have been on the live register for 12 months or receiving credits.