Grants for small businesses give you a boost to start, grow, or overcome temporary obstacles. If you’re an entrepreneur with big ideas, these grants can be just what you need. Here’s our guide to the financial help available for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses in Ireland.
What is a Business Grant?
A business grant is a type of funding that small businesses can apply for to help run their business. Unlike a loan, you don’t have to pay back a grant. They are usually given out by government organizations, charities, and specialized grant funding institutions.
How Do You Get a Business Grant?
To get a business grant, you need to research what grants are available and check the eligibility criteria. Then you usually have to fill out a detailed application. The eligibility criteria can be specific, so it’s important to do your research before applying.
Some organizations that award grants to small businesses in Ireland are:
- Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills
- The Technology Strategy Board
- Department for Education
- Department of Transport
- Department for Communities and Local Government
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment – Northern Ireland
- Enterprise Ireland
Sometimes, if you provide wrong or incomplete information in your application, you might be fined. That’s why many organizations choose to hire a grant funding specialist to help with the application.
Grants for Small Businesses in Ireland
There are various grants available in Ireland specifically for small businesses. Here are some of the best grants you can access:
- HPSU Feasibility Study Grant – This grant from Enterprise Ireland helps early-stage companies and entrepreneurs explore the viability of a new business with an export focus. It covers activities like market research, creating a business plan, and technical research. To be eligible, your organization should:
- Focus on exporting
- Have an innovative technology or service
- Expect significant growth within three years, with sales of at least €1 million per year and employing ten or more people
- Have an experienced team with technical and commercial skills
- Innovation Vouchers – Innovation vouchers worth €5,000 allow small businesses to collaborate with “knowledge providers” for exploring business options. However, some businesses like agriculture and charitable organizations are excluded from this program.
- Competitive Start Fund – This fund offers grants up to €50,000 to start-ups with global market potential. It also provides extra support for female entrepreneurs. To apply, you need to submit a video pitch and a written proposal.
- New Frontiers – New Frontiers provides funding and support to early-stage businesses. While it’s open to various businesses, those with strong technical skills, a proven management team, and a clean track record have a better chance of getting the grant.
During the pandemic, several grants were introduced to support small businesses. Some notable ones include:
- Digitalisation Voucher: Worth up to €9,000, this voucher helps manufacturing firms and internationally traded service sectors adopt digital tools and techniques.
Starting a small business is exciting but challenging. Grant funding is a valuable resource to support your new venture. Don’t forget to use other financial tools like online payment systems to make your business accessible to customers online.