Grants and funding available for small businesses

Grants, funding, money…whatever you want to call it, every business needs financial aid when starting out or expanding.

Thankfully, Ireland embraces enterprise where possible and there are over 170 different Irish Government supports for small businesses – including grant money.

There’s even a Government website set up to inform you, the business owner, of what supports are available. These are wide-ranging, from marketing to HR, and you can find out what you may be entitled to by answering eight simple questions. The site is called Supporting SMEs.

We have compiled a sample list of some of the financial supports available for start-ups and SMEs. The list is no means definitive but aims to steer you towards funding you may not have been aware of previously.


Starting out – early stage supports

Local Enterprise Office

The Local Enterprise Office is for people interested in starting a new business or people already in business including entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, startups and small business looking to expand.

Startup Refunds for Entrepreneurs (SURE)

This is for people who start a company and need cash to fund its growth. You may claim back income tax if you are an employee, an unemployed person, or a person recently made redundant and are starting a business.

Short Term Enterprise Allowance

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) gives support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business.

Three-year corporate tax exemption

The scheme gives relief from corporation tax on your trading income, and certain other gains new companies may acquire, for the first three years.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

If you have been out of work and in receipt of social welfare for more than a year, 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%).

The Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme

This scheme replaced the business expansion scheme and allows individual investors get tax relief on investments they make in other companies.

Start Your Own Business scheme 

The Start Your Own Business scheme provides relief from income tax for long-term unemployed people who start a new business.

OPTIMISE eCommerce fund

The fund gives small business owners the e-tools and know-how to ‘optimise’ their existing website and grow their business online.

Innovation vouchers

If you own or manage an SME, and it’s a limited company, you can apply for an innovation voucher worth €5,000.

Feasibility study / innovation grant

You can get 50% of the costs of your study, not including VAT, up to €15,000. Importantly, you don’t have to pay back the money.

Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN)

The HBAN umbrella group supports the early stage entrepreneurial community across the island of Ireland and actively works to increase the number of angel investors investing in early stage companies.


Public supports for start-ups

New Frontiers entrepreneur development programme

There are limited places available each year and the successful candidates each receive cash and training in areas like business planning, sales and marketing. It’s a very competitive programme, so make sure you have a sustainable new business idea, that will ‘trade internationally, create employment and generate revenue’.


Private support for start-ups – incubators

NDRC LaunchPad

This is for aspiring tech entrepreneurs with ideas “capable of being brought to market and achieving a commercial return”. The NDRC provides pre-seed money of €20,000 per project to support founders during the three-month programme.

Enterprise Ireland funded campus incubation centres

This is a list of incubation centres funded by Enterprise Ireland and located on the campuses of Irish universities and Institutes of Technology.

Institute of Technology Incubation Centres 

Above is a full list of the Institute of Technology Incubation Centres (including NCI).


Private support for start-ups – accelerators

Propeller Venture Accelerator programme

DCU’s Ryan Academy runs the Propeller Venture Accelerator programme for early-stage technology startups. This three-month accelerator offers €30,000 seed funding plus €15,000 in services costs to entrepreneurs with winning ideas.


LaunchBox is a three-month accelerator open to teams of Trinity students (undergrad and postgrad) with an early-stage business. Participants receive funding, office space and mentorship as well as other networking supports.


Seedcamp is a leading European pre-seed and seed stage acceleration fund.


Start-up funds

Enterprise Ireland’s portfolio of top start-up funds

Enterprise Ireland falls somewhere in the middle between pre-seed and seed stage investment. It has a number of solutions aimed at start-ups, including:

The Competitive Feasibility Fund for Female Entrepreneurs 

The Competitive Start Fund

The High Potential Start-up Unit 

Graduate Start Fund

There is also now a Competitive Start Fund for Irish graduates worth €50,000.

Google Ventures

Google has set up an arm of Google Ventures (GV) in Europe and allocated an initial fund of $100 million for local start-ups. GV is looking for “ambitious companies in every field, but we have a unique focus on machine learning and life science investing”.


Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending

Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular option for businesses looking to raise seed capital. In Ireland there are sites such as:

Linked Finance 

Seed Ups



Growing your business

R&D Tax Credit

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.

Accelerated Capital Allowance

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.


Venture Capital Funding

Is your business an ambitious, fast-growing company with the potential to develop into a significant global business? Venture Capital funds invest in companies that are raising €500k+ in equity.

You must be in a fast-growing, attractive sector, with a strong management team and demonstrable skills. Your product/service must solve a clearly identified problem. This website includes a list of the most active and the largest VC funds, innovation funds and development funds in Ireland at present.


Small Business Advice

Small Business Advice is a free and confidential advice service offered by Ireland’s business community to help businesses grow. 1,250 small businesses have benefited from the Small Business Advice Programme.

For more information call 021 421 1433 or Apply Online today





  • Hi
    I am interested in expanding my business and would like some guidance on marketing, finance and taxes
    Regards Jamie
    Leinster Gas

  • Hi
    I’m a year in business and things are starting to slow up , I’m wondering if I would be entitled to any grants .
    Kind regards

    • Pauline

      Hi in our 3rd year of business, which is a holistic health clinic. Would like to set up a website and help to advertise our services. Due to pandemic things are very unsure please advise regards

  • Thinking of starting up a business in Ireland and found your article very informative. At the same time it is a bit daunting and think maybe I should hire a professional company to help me. What would you think of this idea?

  • Niall kelly

    Hi my name is Niall kelly from blessington co wicklow I am trying to start my own van courier company I am wondering is there any government funding to help me buy a van and get my business up and running

    • Kevin Ruane

      Hi, Niall . i was wondering did you get any feed back on this topic and how is your courier business going as i am about to embark in this game myself .

  • Daiva Freitakiene

    Hello, I would like to open a small business for my cake and food catering. I would like some guidance on marketing, finance and taxes Thank you…
    Regards Daiva

  • Jacqueline Mc Andrew

    Hi l am looking to open a small shop in moate westmeath, selling a collective mix of new and vintage items. Displaying local artists work and doing workshops for children teaching recycling crafts and workshops for women doing upcycled projects . I could do with all the help you can give as I’m going it all alone . Thank you, kind regards Jacqueline

  • Equity crowdfunding is another viable option for startups and SMEs to raise funds quickly and in a low-cost manner. For EIIS approved companies, investors can claim a tax rebate of 40% of the value of their investment which makes it a compelling product for both investors and companies.

  • Alan Scahill

    Hi there. I run a small business manufacturing gates and other steel products. In the past year I have struggled to have regular cashflow. I have a business loan of 30000 with Aib back and I have missed 4 payments true out the year. I have enough work on but I find it difficult to get the work done faster due to my cashflow problem. If you could give me some or any advice on what my better options could be. Thanks for reading my email.

  • Daniel

    Hi I’d like some advice on obtaining a grant to up skill and expand my buissness.
    Kind regards

  • Kelvinah

    Hi i’d like to get bussiness grant to expand my bussiness.
    Kind regards

  • Eddie Landers

    I am eager to start my own business locally.
    I am 45 and have worked at Supervisory Management level for the large retailers for
    15 years and 10 years warehouse and stores supervisory Management experience also. However I have been unemployed for well over a year now. I would appreciate any advice you can offer me as I have no funding available but strongly believe I can make a success of my business plan

  • Jan

    Hi Im running a small workshop and it was a very quiet year for me thinking of closing down is there any help out there

  • Aisling

    Hi I am asking for my nephew he is renting a pub but he is really struggling finanically he has never being on a social welfare payment he has always worked. My question is do you no of any help he can get

  • Thank you for this article. It’s great to see so many options available for entrepreneurs in Ireland. I will recommend it to those seeking funding for their business.

  • Fiona Bourke

    Hi I am starting a yoga studio and in the process of building it is there any grants available for website,marketing, or tax incentives?

  • Hi I run a small dental practice and due to lockdown had to postpone my plan to update my website and make it more user friendly. Also, I am struggling to keep up with my Software improvement at work Which slows us down. we had plans to add to our business plan another online aspect , which is shelved for now. Please advise.

  • Ivan Obradovic

    I have only open my business since January of this year, would I be entitled to any grants, if so what?? Thanks

    Kind regards

  • jessica byrne

    hi whats the story business grants i want a businesss grant please send me some info thank you 70 langton park newbridge kildare

  • Pavel

    I am 3 years in hospitality but looks like it’s slowing down, have an idea for new business which will grow up definitely at those hard times, would be great to get support from Government.

    Best regards

  • Monica Jo Carmona

    I am starting a small business and am looking into what grants are available for me

  • Stacey Goff

    Hi am looking to star a business with my sister but need around 55000 euro to start up a horse livery in tipp area so I can come of social welfare

  • ali

    Hello, I have experience in pastries and making pizza. I want to open a shop, but I do not have money. Thank you

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