A range of supports, both financial and non-financial are available from Government Departments, Offices and Agencies to assist companies to grow, improve competitiveness, create employment and improve productivity. Some of the main supports which are available are featured below:
1. Tax reliefs
2. Starting Your Own Business
4. Access to Credit
5. Enterprise Ireland
6. IDA Ireland
7. County Enterprise Boards
8. Shannon Development
9. Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
10. Intertrade Ireland
11. Údarás na Gaeltachta
Employment Investment Incentive (EII)
The Employment Investment Incentive (EII) is a tax relief incentive scheme which has replaced the Business Expansion Scheme, which provides tax relief for investment in certain corporate trades. The maximum investment by all investors in any one company or group of companies is €10,000,000 subject to a maximum of €2,500,000 in any one twelve month period. It allows individual investors to obtain income tax relief on investments up to a maximum of €150,000 per annum in each tax year up to 2013. Relief is initially available to an individual at 30%. A further 11% tax relief will be available where it has been proven that employment levels have increased at the company at the end of the holding period (3 years) or where evidence is provided that the company used the capital raised for expenditure on research and development.
R&D Tax Credit
The Research and Development Tax Credit is a valuable tax-based incentive that is designed to encourage investment in R&D by companies in Ireland. A 25% tax credit for qualifying Research and Development expenditure exists for companies engaged in in-house qualifying research and development undertaken within the European Economic Area. This credit may be set against a company’s Corporation Tax liability. The first €100,000 of all qualifying R&D expenditure will benefit from the full 25% R&D tax credit from 2012. This is of particular benefit to SMEs. For larger R&D expenditure, the tax credit will continue to apply only to the amount by which expenditure in 2012 exceeds that incurred in the base year 2003.
Starting Your Own Business
Seed Capital Scheme
If you start up and work full-time in your own company, you can claim back the income tax you paid in the previous six years to invest equity into a company (subscribed as shares) engaged in a qualifying trade. The amount of relief is restricted to the amount of the investment. Since November 2011, the scheme is open to a much wider range of sectors and the ceiling on recoverable tax can now be up to €100,000 in each of the six look back years.
Three Year Corporate Tax Exemption
The scheme provides relief from corporation tax on the trading income and certain gains of new start-up companies in the first 3 years of trading. There will be full relief on income and gains relating to the trade where total corporation tax liability in any of the first 3 accounting periods does not exceed €40,000. There will be marginal relief where the tax liability falls between €40,000 and €60,000. You can earn €120,000 tax free per year for the first 3 years.
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
If you have been signing on for over 12 months and you would like to become self-employed, the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) allows you to keep your social welfare payment for 2 years (Year 1: 100%, Year 2:75%). To qualify, you must be setting up a business that a Local Integrated Development Company or a Facilitator has approved in writing in advance.
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. It is paid instead of Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 1 year. It ends when the entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit ends (that is, at either 9 months or 12 months).
Revenue Job Assist
Revenue Job Assist offers both employers and workers an incentive where people who have been 12 months on the live register (or disability allowance) are employed:
· The employer gets double write-off of the wages plus employers PRSI for three years – even at the minimum wage, it is worth €2,500 per year to a company and up to €8,000 per year to a sole trader
· The worker gets an extra tax allowance – of €3,810 plus €1,270 for each child in year 1, and two-thirds of these allowances in year 2, one-third in year 3 – for a worker on the 20% rate it is worth at least €762 in the first year or €1,524 over the three years.
Click here for further detailed information on Revenue Job Assist or call the Employers LoCall HelpLine on 1890 25 45 65
Employers Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme
The Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme is open to employers who create new and additional jobs. Under this scheme, employers do not have to pay the employers’ portion of the PRSI contribution for certain employees for 18 months. To qualify for this scheme both the job created and the person employed must meet certain criteria.
Click here for further detailed information on the Employers Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme or contact your local Social Welfare Office (click here for list of Local and Branch Offices) LoCall 1890 66 22 44.
JobBridge offers an internship of 6-9 months to a person who has been signing on as available for work and getting a payment or credits for at least three months. Time completed on programmes in FÁS training, back to education or on a community scheme will count towards eligibility. Participants receive €50 per week on top of their welfare payment.
FÁS Wage Subsidy Scheme
The FÁS Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial incentives to employers, outside the public sector, to employ disabled people who work more than 20 hours a week. A person on the Wage Subsidy Scheme is subject to the same conditions of employment as other employees These conditions include PRSI contributions, annual leave, tax deductions and the going rate for the job.
Access to Credit
The Government has developed a Microfinance fund aimed at start-up, new or growing enterprises across all sectors, with no more than 10 employees. Loans of up to €25, 000 are available for commercially viable proposals that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by commercial banks. Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have been refused credit by a commercial lending institution before their application is considered. The new fund will generate €90m in new lending to 5,500 micro enterprises which will support 7,700 new jobs. Borrowers will pay a commercial interest rate.
Credit Guarantee Scheme
The Credit Guarantee Scheme facilitates €450m of additional bank lending over 3 years to viable micro, small and medium enterprises to help them obtain the working capital and investment that they need. The Government provides the lender with a 75% guarantee for which the borrower pays a 2% premium. Target companies are those lacking adequate security for a normal commercial loan, or where bank understanding of the specialised aspects of the business environment in which they operate is limited.
Credit Review Office
If you’re a small business, sole trader or farm owner who has had difficulty getting credit or loan facilities of up to the new €500,000 limit or you have had an unfavourable change to your existing credit terms, get in touch with the Credit Review Office for an independent review. The banks are required to comply with the recommendation or to give their reasons for not doing so to the Credit Review Office. The Office has overturned the Banks’ decision in 35% of cases to date.
Code of Conduct for Business Lending to SMEs
Since 2012 financial institutions are now required to meet a number of provisions outlining the lender’s procedures for dealing with SMEs in financial trouble: details of fees or changes that may apply to firms as a result of financial difficulties; details of the type of information the lender may require from the SMEs and information on firms’ rights to appeal a decision on a lending arrangement.
Enterprise Ireland’s investment in its client companies is keenly focused on export and job creation potential. EI has a broad spectrum of supports, which are focused on meeting client companies’ development needs at various stages of development. In addition to its existing offer for Irish companies, Enterprise Ireland recently launched a series of new supports with the objective of achieving growth in exports and jobs.
Potential Exporters Division
Enterprise Ireland has established a new Potential Exporter Division to stimulate greater activity within companies across all regions and to reorient those demonstrating real growth potential from the domestic to the international market place. The new unit will provide assistance designed to aid client companies investigate, prepare and execute an international strategy including:
· Practical business advice, information and market intelligence
· Targeted funding supports where appropriate
· Suitable training and development
Job Expansion Fund
The aim of the competitive Job Expansion Fund is to assist Enterprise Ireland client companies achieve enhanced growth through increased employment. The fund provides grant support up to a maximum of €150,000 towards the recruitment of new employees. Applications for funding will be accepted on a specific call close date and funding will be awarded on a competitive basis.
Innovation Fund Ireland
Innovation Fund Ireland provides a unique opportunity for leading international venture capital fund managers to establish their European headquarters in Ireland and access entrepreneurs and innovative companies. Ireland already has a very active venture capital industry and Innovation Fund Ireland is an initiative to further increase the availability of risk capital for innovative companies. Innovation Fund Ireland has up to €250 million available to make commitments.
If you own or manage a small limited company and you have a business opportunity or problem that you want to explore, you can apply for an Innovation Voucher worth €5,000. The objective is to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers and small businesses to create a cultural shift in the small business community’s approach to innovation.
High Potential Start Up
Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) team provides intense support, seed and venture capital to entrepreneurs and early stage companies that are considered to have an innovative product, service or technology, and have the potential to achieve exports sales and create employment. To qualify a company should be headquartered in Ireland, less than 6 years old and capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.
Competitive Start Fund
The Competitive Start Fund is focused on accelerating the growth of Lifesciences, Cleantech and Industrial start-up companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies reach their key commercial and technical milestones. This funding mechanism has been designed to be fast and efficient and incorporates simplified equity agreements.
Development Capital Fund
The Development Capital Fund provides a unique opportunity for fund managers to receive a commitment from Enterprise Ireland to establish funds to invest in manufacturing, technology and high growth trading services companies in Ireland.
The main objectives of the Fund are to:
· Increase the availability of risk capital to established Irish companies,
· To close the equity gap experienced by Irish SMEs,
· To encourage and leverage private sector investment in the Irish economy.
Through the Fund, Enterprise Ireland has up to €50m available to make commitments of up to €25m with fund managers.
Clients of Enterprise Ireland should contact their Development Adviser. If you are not a client of Enterprise Ireland, please contact your local Enterprise Ireland office to discuss eligibility criteria.
New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme
New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme that is delivered at a local level by the Institutes of Technology. If you have an innovative business idea and are planning to establish and run your own company, the New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme can provide you with a package of supports to help accelerate your business development and to equip you with the skills and contacts that you need to successfully start and grow your company. The programme is open to applications from a diversity of sectors including; food & consumer products, information & communication technology, engineering & electronics, medical devices, biotechnology, pharma, digital media, cleantech/renewable energy and eligible internationally traded services.
A range of services and incentives, including funding and grants, are available to those considering foreign direct investment in Ireland. These are offered by IDA Ireland, Ireland’s inward investment promotion agency, to both new and existing clients. While investment from overseas manufacturing and internationally traded services are the broad focus of IDA Ireland, the agency continues to work with investors once in Ireland to encourage and assist in expanding and developing their businesses.
Succeed in Ireland
The aim of the Succeed in Ireland initiative is to complement the work of IDA Ireland, by rewarding the global population, whether they are Diaspora or anyone else with connections to Ireland, to introduce potential foreign investors to the idea of investing in Ireland. Through an online referral network, introductions can be made that will lead to new jobs in Ireland and as a result the person that makes the introduction (connectors) will be financially rewarded after a period of time of the jobs coming to fruition.
The reward runs from €1,500 to €3,000 per sustainable job depending on the value of the Connection and the timeframe in which the project will come to fruition.
County Enterprise Boards
The County and City Enterprise Boards offer a variety of supports to assist the start-up, development and expansion of micro-enterprises (employing 10 or fewer employees), with priority given to the manufacturing and internationally-traded services sectors.
The forms of financial assistance, which are available, subject to certain restrictions and conditional on an agreed business plan, include the following:
Priming Grants can cover all business costs directly attributable to starting a new business.
Business Expansion and Development Grants
Business Expansion/Development Grants are available to micro-enterprises to grow and develop the micro-enterprise.
Feasibility/Innovation Grants are available to micro-enterprises to assist with the cost of necessary pre-start up studies carried out for the purposes of assessing market interest in/demand for a proposed new product or service.
Subject to eligibility criteria, Priming and Business Expansion/Development grants may include Salary Costs for first year of employment. Click here for full details and further information on the County and City Enterprise Boards Grants.
In addition, non-financial business advice, training and mentoring supports are available through your local County Enterprise Board, contact details for which are available at www.enterpriseboards.ie.
Shannon Development is the state agency responsible for supporting the development of manufacturing and internationally traded services companies located/locating in the Shannon Free Zone. Shannon Development provides funding and supports for companies – from entrepreneurs with plans for a high potential start-up through to large companies expanding their activities, improving efficiency and growing export sales.
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
SEAI provide information in their Business Support Centre on how saving energy can help cut your business costs as well as details on resources and financial assistance available to help companies make savings. These include a list of ‘Top Ten Quick Wins’ which outline simple changes that can be made immediately to start saving money based on your type of business and the equipment you use.
Accelerated Capital Allowance
The Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) is a tax incentive for companies paying corporation tax and aims to encourage investment in energy efficient equipment. The ACA offers an attractive incentive whereby it allows companies to write off 100% of the purchase value of qualifying energy efficient equipment against their profit in the year of purchase. The ACA has been expanded by 20 new technologies.
SEAI also provides a range of other grants and incentives for businesses, details of which are available from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
Developing a Green Enterprise
In conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has compiled a guide for business on green enterprise supports: ‘Developing a Green Enterprise’. The guide provides information on where businesses can go for State agency assistance and support in relation to water conservation, waste prevention, energy efficiency and clean technology.
InterTrade Ireland supports SMEs across the island to develop North/South trade and business development opportunities for the mutual benefit of both economies.
Acumen Programme – Recruitment
InterTrade Ireland’s Acumen Programme is a cross-border business development programme designed to stimulate cross-border sales. It can provide funding to companies seeking to expand their markets by recruiting graduates or experienced sales professionals as well as market research support.
Údarás na Gaeltachta
Údarás na Gaeltachta provides assistance by way of either capital or employment grants to enterprises seeking aid for an initial investment. It may also provide grants for job creation linked to an initial investment for projects in the Gaeltacht.
Instances where a proposed investment qualifies as an initial investment include the setting up of a new establishment, the extension of an existing establishment, diversification of the output of an establishment into new, additional products, or a fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing establishment. Capital grants can be paid for initial investment in material and immaterial assets.
Údaras na Gaeltachta provides grant aid to businesses to cover the cost of employing staff on a full-time or part-time basis with the amount of aid payable varying with the required skill level and the related cost of staff. The geographic location of a project also impacts on the amount of aid payable. Half of the grant aid is paid when the job commences and the balance is normally paid when the job has been in existence for six months.