Becoming an Entrepreneur in Ireland

If you wish to set up a business in Ireland and become self-employed, there are a range of organisations providing guidance and information which can assist you. This section will provide details of these resources and how to access them.

Non EEA nationals who wish to live and run a business in Ireland require immigration permission to do so. STEP is the main immigration programme for establishing your own business in Ireland. The Start Up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) was set up in 2012 by the Irish Government to allow for entrepreneurs to develop their business idea and reside in Ireland. You must work for this business in a full time capacity and cannot be in employment elsewhere. Full details on how to qualify for this programme can be found here.

If you already have Irish residency permission, you may also be eligible to set up a business in Ireland without applying for a visa, however this will vary based on specific circumstances. The Irish Immigration website provides further information on changes in visa and residency permission.

The Local Enterprise Office provides advice and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. There are 31 locations across the country offering services such as free training courses, mentoring and advice on establishing a new business in Ireland. You may also be eligible for a feasibility grant offered by the Local Enterprise Office and full details of these grants can be found here. The LEOs can be your route into the Local Authority, Enterprise Ireland and all State agencies that can help grow your business.

Enterprise Ireland is the state agency responsible for providing funding and support for businesses in Ireland. It provides assistance for both:

  • Entrepreneurs moving to Ireland to start their business and
  • Existing businesses relocating to Ireland

Enterprise Ireland, in conjunction with the Institutes of Technology, have developed New Frontiers Ireland which is the national entrepreneurial development programme designed to support entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas who wish to establish and run their own company in Ireland. The programme offers a range of supports including; practical and interactive workshops, one to one mentoring, financial support, scholarship payments and working space. The programme is delivered across Ireland by Institutes of Technology and Universities in 16 locations. A leading example is the TU Dublin Hothouse which is a hugely successful incubator initiative supporting entrepreneurial activity in Ireland offering office space, mentoring, funding, resources and knowledge. Further information, including how to apply, can be found by visiting the New Frontiers Ireland website.

Irish Revenue website

The Irish Revenue provides a number of supports and initiatives including tax incentives, tax reliefs and exemptions for start up businesses. The incentives offered will differ based on the type of business and the stage the business is at. The Revenue website has a section covering Revenue requirements for starting or running a business which includes information on registering for tax, a summary of the main business taxes, how to account for tax as a sole trader or as a company, the requirement to keep books and records, tax clearance issues, how to pay tax and more.

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