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1 Financial supports for business

2 ii COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business CONTENTS page service page service 01 Introduction 01 Overview 01 Enterprise Ireland 01 County Enterprise Board 01 Údarás na Gaeltachta 01 Intertrade Ireland 01 LEADER funding 01 Microfinance Ireland 06 County Enterprise Boards 06 Priming Grants 06 Business Expansion Grants 07 Feasibility/Innovation Grants 08 Údarás na Gaeltachta 08 Capital grants 08 Employment grants 02 Enterprise Ireland 02 Job Expansion Fund 03 Innovation Vouchers 03 Competitive Start Fund 04 Research and Development Funds small and large projects 09 Intertrade Ireland 09 Acumen programme recruitment 10 LEADER funding 10 LEADER development programme 11 Access to credit 11 Microfinance Ireland Disclaimer: This document sets out the supports known to Cooney Carey at the date of publication. Please check with the support providers to find out the most up-to-date information. Cooney Carey does not certify that the data in this document is complete or up-to-date.

3 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business INTRODUCTION Overview This document examines bodies who provide a variety of financial supports and grant aid to qualifying businesses based in Ireland. A brief synopsis of the financial supports and grant aid are contained herein. Enterprise Ireland (Section 02) Enterprise Ireland invest in companies which are export led and have a keen focus on job creation. Along with the financial supports listed in Section 2, Enterprise Ireland offers qualifying companies nonfinancial support, including mentoring and skillsbased workshops for senior executives. County Enterprise Boards (Section 03) The County and City Enterprise Boards offer a number of supports to help the start-up, development and expansion of micro-enterprises (businesses that employ 10 or fewer employees). Údarás na Gaeltachta (Section 04) Údarás na Gaeltachta provide a variety of supports, incentives and financial aid to businesses that want to start or locate in Gaeltacht areas. Intertrade Ireland (Section 05) InterTrade Ireland s goal is to support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop North/ South trade and business development opportunities for the mutual benefit of both economies. LEADER funding (Section 06) There are 36 local action groups that administer in excess of 80m a year across rural Ireland. To complement the financial supports available, LEADER gives advice, training and mentoring from experts with rural enterprise development experience. Microfinance Ireland (Section 07) Microfinance Ireland assist start-up, new or growing enterprises across all sectors. Microfinance Ireland s loan fund is offering 90m in new lending to 5,500 micro-enterprises.

4 02 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 02 ENTERPRISE IRELAND Enterprise Ireland s investment in its client companies is keenly focused on their potential to create jobs and to export. It offers a broad range of supports. These are focused on meeting their client companies needs at various stages of their development. Along with the supports listed below, it also offers their client companies other support, including mentoring and skills-based workshops for senior executives. Job Expansion Fund The competitive Job Expansion Fund helps Enterprise Ireland client companies to achieve enhanced growth by employing more people. The fund gives grants of up to 150,000 towards the recruitment of new employees. Enterprise Ireland accepts applications for funding on a specific callclose date. It awards funding on a competitive basis. The fund is open to small-to-medium-sized employers that: Have been trading for at least two years Employ 10 or more full-time staff Are involved in manufacturing and/or are a highgrowth potential traded services company. Companies must also be seeking to create at least three new jobs that will not displace existing jobs. They must also work to achieve a minimum increase in turnover of 350,000 over the next two years. Return a completed application form along with your company s latest audit and management accounts to Enterprise Ireland at the address below.

5 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 03 Innovation Vouchers Enterprise Ireland developed the Innovation Voucher initiative to build links between Ireland s public knowledge providers (that is, higher education institutes and public research bodies) and small businesses. If you own or manage a small limited company and have a business opportunity or problem that you want to explore, you can apply for an Innovation Voucher. You can use the voucher to pay for research with one of the public knowledge providers. Eligible companies (see below) can get Innovation Vouchers worth 5,000. You can pool your voucher with up to 10 other companies to create a larger fund worth up to 50,000 to address an issue of common concern. The Innovation Vouchers initiative is open to all small companies with fewer than 50 employees. Registered knowledge providers in Northern Ireland also accept these vouchers as part of Enterprise Ireland s arrangement with Invest Northern Ireland. Submit an application form through the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Fund programme. Competitive Start Fund The Competitive Start Fund exists to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that could succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies to reach key commercial and technical milestones. These could include: Evaluating overseas market opportunities and reaching firm conclusions about the viability of the proposed business Building a prototype Securing a reference site Developing a market entry plan to make the most of international opportunities Securing partnership deals or strategic alliances Identifying suitable channels to international markets Securing third-party investment, such as businessangel or venture-capital funding. The highest level of funding available is 50,000, for which the fund takes a 10% ordinary equity stake in the start-up company. The fund releases the investment in two equal tranches. The fund only releases the first tranche to successful applicants when they confirm they have secured an additional new cash investment for equity of 5,000. This new investment by the successful applicant happens after the relevant call-close date. Capitalising existing director or related party loans does not qualify as this new cash investment. The company must also meet the general terms and conditions of the scheme.

6 04 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business ENTERPRISE IRELAND Continued Eligible companies include existing clients of Enterprise Ireland or other high potential start-ups. Applicants must also be: A manufacturing or an internationally-traded services business, pre-trading, or have recently started trading, and should not have annual revenues of more than 60,000 in the current or any previous financial year Less than six years old, from the date the first employee started working for the company Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and making sales of 1m within three years of starting up. Applicants cannot: Have received equity funding of 100,000 or more before the competition closing date [cash invested for an equity shareholding in the business such as sweat equity (earned for effort) or directors loans do not count towards this total] Be involved in activities that fall within gambling or gaming, as defined in the Gaming & Lotteries Act You must complete an online application form. Enterprise Ireland then invites the highest 30 ranking applications to pitch their proposals to an evaluation panel of industry experts, who will help it to award funding. Research and Development Funds small and large projects The Research and Development (R&D) Fund is specifically aimed at companies that are relatively new to formal R&D processes. There is a small projects fund and a large projects fund. a) The Small Projects R&D Fund targets research and development projects involving spending of less than 150,000. b) The Large Projects R&D Fund targets research and development projects involving spending of less than 650,000. Both funds support companies that want to: Establish or increase their R&D activity and capability Commit to on-going R&D to drive company development Have a demonstrable connection between R&D and their overall business objectives Embed a culture of innovative thinking throughout the company, aimed at harnessing the skills of all staff towards achieving defined business goals Establish or develop quality R&D management systems and procedures. The most that the fund can award companies is half of the total cost of the project. The maximum funding depends on the size of the company.

7 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 05 The fund is open to clients of Enterprise Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta and County Enterprise Board. They must be manufacturing or internationallytraded services companies that can show they have enough money to put the proposed project in place. Enterprise Ireland asks interested companies to contact them before completing an application form. As part of the application, companies have to submit their latest audited and management accounts.

8 06 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 03 COUNTY ENTERPRISE BOARDS The County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) offer a variety of supports to help the start-up, development and expansion of micro-enterprises (those that employ 10 or fewer employees). They give priority to the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. Priming Grants Priming Grants can cover all business costs that are directly attributable to starting a new business. The grant payable is 80,000 or 50% of the required investment, whichever is the lower amount. Grants of 80,000 are the exception and the CEBs only give them to projects that clearly show potential to export internationally and become an Enterprise Ireland client company. When the CEBs grant employment support, a maximum grant of 15,000 for each full-time job created applies. This is subject to the 50% rule, as outlined in the previous paragraph. The CEBs issue funding on a part-grant, part-repayable (0% loan) basis, with repayments due over 36 to 60 months. Who qualifies for priming grants? Priming Grants are available to new businesses within 18 months of start up. Applicable expenditure can include the cost of: Capital items Salaries Rent Marketing Consultancy Business-specific training. The CEBs must approve a company s formal application form before it carries out any of the spending involved. All grant applications must include: A Priming Grant application form A business plan Three-year cash flow projections. Enterpriseboards.ie/find_your_enterprise_board.aspx Business Expansion Grants Business Expansion Grants are designed to help businesses that are in a growth phase after their initial 18-month start-up period. A Business Expansion Grant cannot exceed 50% of the total investment required by the business or 150,000, whichever is the lower amount. Grants of more than 80,000 and up to 150,000 are the exception. The CEBs only give grants of this size to projects that clearly show potential to export internationally and graduate to becoming an Enterprise Ireland client company. When the CEBs grant employment support, a maximum grant of 15,000 for each full-time job created applies. This is subject to the 50% rule, as outlined in section 2.1.

9 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 07 The CEBs may award Business Expansion Grants to sole traders, partnerships, community groups or limited companies that: Employ up to 10 people Are manufacturing or internationally-traded service businesses Are domestically-traded service businesses with the potential to trade internationally. Micro-enterprises that have received a Priming Grant (see 2.1 above) cannot apply for a Business Expansion Grant until 18 months after the final drawdown date of the Priming Grant, other than in exceptional circumstances. The CEBs must approve a company s formal application form before it carries out any of the spending involved. All grant applications must include: A Business Expansion Grant application form A business plan Three-year cash flow projections. Enterpriseboards.ie/find_your_enterprise_board.aspx Feasibility/Innovation Grants Feasibility/Innovation Grants are designed to help an entrepreneur or businessperson with researching market demand for a product or service and examining its sustainability. It includes help with innovation, such as: Specific consultancy requirements Hiring of expertise from third-level colleges Private specialists Design Patent costs Prototype development. A Feasibility/Innovation Grant cannot exceed 50% of the total investment required by the company or 20,000, whichever is the lower amount. The CEBs may award Feasibility/Innovation Grants to sole traders, partnerships, community groups or limited companies that: Employ up to 10 people Are manufacturing or internationally-traded service businesses Are domestically-traded service businesses with the potential to trade internationally. The CEBs say they must approve a company s formal application form before the company carries out any of the spending involved. Enterpriseboards.ie/find_your_enterprise_board.aspx

10 08 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 04 ÚDARÁS NA GAELTACHTA Údarás na Gaeltachta gives support, incentives and financial help to businesses that want to start or locate in Gaeltacht areas. These are regions across Ireland where the Irish government recognises that Irish is the predominant spoken language of the area. Typically, Údarás na Gaeltachta supports businesses with capital or employment grants. They also give grants linked to job creation in Gaeltacht areas. Capital grants Businesses that need support for an initial investment in capital expenditure can avail of capital grants. Údarás na Gaeltachta can pay capital grants for an initial investment in: Material assets assets relating to land, buildings, and plant and machinery. Immaterial assets assets created by the transfer of technology through the acquisition of patent rights, licences know-how or unpatented technical knowledge. A company s investment qualifies as an initial investment if it involves: Setting up a new place of business, such as an office, shop or manufacturing facility Extending an existing place of business Diversifying the output of an establishment into new, additional products A fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing establishment. Údarás na Gaeltachta says companies should not spend any money relating to any grant application until it has confirmed in writing that the grant is approved. Employment grants Údarás na Gaeltachta gives grant aid to businesses to cover the cost of employing staff on a full-time or part-time basis. The amount of grant aid payable depends on the skill levels and the related costs of the staff. Typically, Údarás na Gaeltachta pays half of the grant aid when the job starts and the balance when the job has existed for six months. The geographic location of a project also affects the amount of aid. Proposals for employment grants are assessed on a case by case basis and interested parties are encouraged to contact Údarás na Gaeltachta to discuss any applications in more depth. Údarás na Gaeltachta says companies should not spend any money relating to any grant application until it has confirmed in writing that the grant is approved.

11 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business INTERTRADE IRELAND InterTrade Ireland supports small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the island of Ireland 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 crossborder business development programme designed to stimulate cross-border sales. InterTrade Ireland gives funding to companies that want to expand their markets by recruiting graduates or experienced sales professionals, or that want to conduct market research support. There are four business support options: Market research Full-time sales person Part-time sales person Sales graduate programme. Acumen can help companies to find the right people to work on increasing export sales North or South, improve knowledge of the market and identify new business opportunities. To qualify for financial support, your business should: Be an indigenous company (not multinational or foreign owned) Be committed to developing new product markets with the potential of job creation Have an established relationship with a mainstream development agency, such as: Invest Northern Ireland Enterprise Ireland Údarás na Gaeltachta A City or County Enterprise Board A Local Enterprise Agency. The business should also have: A satisfactory track record in the home market Less than 30% of total business in the target crossborder market A sufficiently unique product that does not displace existing products in the marketplace A project that can show it may not happen without support The human, financial and production capacity to deliver the project. InterTrade Ireland says interested companies should contact it to discuss their situation before completing a formal application form. Be a manufacturing or a tradable service company with annual turnover of less than 40m/ 47m Employ fewer than 250 people

12 10 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 06 LEADER FUNDING LEADER is a rural development fund that has been operating in Ireland since It is part-funded by the EU. There are 36 local action groups (LAGs) that administer more than 80m a year across rural Ireland. Along with financial supports, LEADER gives advice, training and mentoring from experts with rural enterprise development experience. LEADER development programme The LEADER development programme gives funding of 2,000 to 500,000, depending on the size and nature of the project involved. LEADER says larger grants tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Community groups can get capital funding of up to 500,000 for eligible projects, while private promoters can get funding of up to 150,000. Eligible farm-based projects can apply for funding of up to 200,000. The LEADER fund operates a matching capital funding system for: Training and skill development up to 100% of project funding Community projects up to 75% of total project funding (to a maximum of 500,000) Private promoters up to 75% of project funding (to a maximum of 200,000) Analysis and development up to of 75% of project funding (to a maximum of 30,000). Entrepreneurs or community groups interested in setting up a business or a service in a rural area. LEADER funding is generally given for: Diversification into non-agricultural activities The creation and development of microenterprises The encouragement of tourism activities Basic services for the rural economy and population Village renewal and development The upgrading of rural heritage Training and skills development. Step 1: Contact LEADER company/lag and start the discussion with a project officer. Step 2: Step 3: Step 4: Step 5: Review the idea with a project officer and ascertain its viability. Submit an application for approval. Applications go through the LEADER committees and are reviewed by the Department of Community Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. Successful applications will receive a Letter of offer and a contract. Once the contract is signed, the project can start. When the project is complete, submit receipts to LEADER. Once it approves the spending, draw down the grant. National Rural Network

13 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business ACCESS TO CREDIT Microfinance Ireland The Irish government has set up Microfinance Ireland to help start-up, new or growing enterprises across all sectors. Its Microenterprise Loan Fund is offering 90m in new lending to 5,500 micro-enterprises. Companies with commercially viable proposals that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by commercial banks can avail of loans of up to 25,000. Borrowers pay a commercial interest rate. To qualify, companies must: Be a start-up, new or growing enterprise (including existing small businesses and sole traders) Have turnover of less than 2m Employ fewer than 10 people Have been declined bank credit. Each application must include: A micro-enterprise business lending application form A business plan Three-year cash flow projections. When possible, a local CEB will help companies with funding applications. It will also carry out a local evaluation and recommendation on behalf of Microfinance Ireland. Alternatively, companies can send a completed application directly to Microfinance Ireland.

14 12 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business Cooney Carey Chartered Accountants Cooney Carey was established in 1983 as an advisory and corporate recovery practice. It has since grown to offer auditing, taxation, company secretarial and business advisory services (in which we specialise). With more than 25 years experience growing a business of our own, we understand what you are going through, wherever you are on your organisation s journey. We will work with you to figure out how best to meet your current and future challenges. Our clients include some of Ireland s fastest-growing and most highly-regarded companies, as well as international businesses. We work in partnership with our clients, helping them to achieve their business goals. Our clients rely on us for our expertise and the positive effect we can have on their business. In turn, we depend on them for our growth and sustainability. If you would like to discuss any of the financial supports in this document, please get in touch with a member of our corporate finance team on +353 (01)

15 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business 13

16 14 COONEY CAREY Financial Supports for Business Cooney Carey The Courtyard, Carmanhall Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland t +353 (0) f +353 (0) e Cooney Carey refers to Cooney Carey Consultancy Limited and/ or Cooney Carey Accounting Limited.

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