Government Supports

Government Supports Overview

Several government agencies are tasked with helping Irish businesses to innovate & grow.

Government Supports

Overview

The Department of Finance provides an overview table of financial supports provided by the Government and its agencies here.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation provides an overview of financial supports provided by the Government and its agencies, with a focus on employment, here.

The Government launched the Credit Guarantee Scheme and Microenterprise Loan Fund in 2012 to facilitate greater access to credit for SMEs.  For more information, please click here.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is a government agency tasked mainly with helping Irish businesses to prepare for and grow in international markets, especially through exporting.
Its clients are:

  • manufacturing and internationally traded services businesses with ten or more employees, or;
  • high-potential start-ups (HPSUs), which are newer manufacturing and internationally traded services businesses that, among other things, are introducing a new product or service for international markets and are capable of creating ten or more jobs in Ireland and realising exports of at least €1 million within three to four years of starting up.

The HPSU Feasibility Study Grant is provided to eligible HPSUs to cover 50% of the cost of a feasibility study and covers a range of relevant costs including wages/salaries, consultancy fees, prototype development, travel and subsistence and overheads.

Innovation Vouchers of €5,000 each are provided by Enterprise Ireland to small (less than 50 employees) limited companies to help them explore business opportunities or innovations with a public knowledge provider, including higher education institutes (universities and colleges) and public research bodies. The aim of the programme is to encourage a transfer of knowledge from public knowledge providers to small businesses, which enables those businesses to go on to develop new products, services or business processes.

Businesses may apply on their own, pool their vouchers with other businesses or co-fund jointly with a partner public research provider. For more information on the Innovation Voucher programme, including the list of public research providers in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, please visit the Innovation Vouchers website here.

Enterprise Ireland aims to encourage research and development (R&D) in small businesses and supports to businesses who engage in R&D. The R&D Stimulation Grant is intended to help a business that is new to R&D investigate the potential for an R&D project.  The grant supports up to 50% of eligible costs, which includes salaries/wages, consultancy fees, prototype development and travel and subsistence, up to a maximum grant of €30,000.

The R&D Fund: Small Projects aims to assist businesses in establishing or increasing their R&D activity and systems. Enterprise Ireland part-funds the project cost, but total project expenditure most be less than €130,000.

Under the Carbon Management/Reduction Initiative, Enterprise Ireland provides grants to eligible companies to identify their carbon footprints and develop and implement strategies to reduce them.

The Environmentally Superior Products Initiative offers grants for businesses to identify and exploit the market potential for environmentally superior products in their industry and to improve their environmental performance.

Enterprise Ireland also provides support for the cost of hiring a consultant and testing to assist in applying for the voluntary EU Ecolabel for a particular product, and for the cost of hiring a consultant to assist in meeting certain environmental management standards under the Implementing Environmental Standards initiative.

Enterprise Ireland called for expressions of interest from fund managers willing to provide equity or quasi equity (debt taken on by a company with an equity component) of between €2 million and €10 million to established medium-sized companies.  Through the Development Capital Fund, Enterprise Ireland has up to €50 million with fund managers and aims to leverage a minimum additional investment of €100 million from the private sector.

For more details on these and other Enterprise Ireland financial supports, including detailed eligibility criteria, how to apply and contact details, please visit the Enterprise Ireland website here.

County & City Enterprise Boards

There are 35 County & City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) including four each in counties Cork and Dublin and two each in counties Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. The CEBS provide financial assistance in the form of capital, employment and feasibility grants to eligible businesses in their area. To qualify for grants, businesses must, among other things, have up to ten employees (including sole traders and partnerships) and be engaged in manufacturing and/or internationally traded services.

The three main types of grant provided are:

  • Feasibility study grants
  • Priming grants are provided to businesses within the first 18 months of starting up
  • Business expansion grants, for businesses in the growth phase and that have been active for at least 18 months.

Both priming and business expansion grants cover a range of costs including capital and employment costs.

For more details on the grants available and details on how to apply to the CEB in your area, please visit the County & City Enterprise Boards website here.

R&D Tax Credits

A 25% tax credit for Research and Development (R&D) expenditure is available for companies engaged in in-house qualifying R&D undertaken within the European Economic Area. This credit may be set against a company's Corporation Tax liability.

For more details on qualifying R&D activities and expenditure, please visit the website of the Revenue Commissioners here.

Sectoral Supports

A number of government agencies provide supports for specific sectors or regions. For more information, please click here.