Information on starting your own business


Starting a business or becoming self-employed can be a big step. There are various government departments, agencies, and organisations that can provide you with valuable advice and support.

This page explains where to find information on starting a business and the organisations and agencies that can help.

You can also read about:

Websites on setting up a business

You can get helpful information on starting and running a business from these websites:

Organisation and website: For information on:

Irish Point of Single Contact

Covers business name registration, licensing and setting up a business in different sectors.

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Offers an ‘SME Search’ tool, which asks 7 questions to find business supports, business event information and SME-related news.

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Provides guidance on tax registration, employing staff, regulations, and sector-specific information. 

Enterprise Europe Network

Information and advice on growing your business internationally and international partnerships.  

Government departments and agencies

You can contact these government departments and agencies for advice on starting a business or becoming self-employed:

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) is responsible for:

  • Implementing business-related laws and policies
  • Promoting and enforcing competition
  • Overseeing workers and consumer protection

You can visit DETE’s website for services, including the ‘Employment Permits Online System’, supports for SMEs, and information on working remotely.

Department of Social Protection

When you start a business or become self-employed, you pay Class S PRSI (pay-related social insurance). The Department of Social Protection is responsible for PRSI, and you can visit their website for information on your contributions as an employer or self-employed person.

Moving from social welfare to self-employment

If you are getting a jobseeker's payment and want to set up your own business, contact your local Intreo centre for advice.

You can also read about the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, which helps people get certain social welfare payments to become self-employed.

Revenue has information about your tax obligations when becoming self-employed or setting up a business. For example, you can read the Guide to Self-Assessment and the Starting and running a business guide.

You can get information about employing people, and covering your tax obligations when hiring, paying or ending employment.

Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) website has information on:

  • Rights and responsibilities of employers and employees
  • Employment equality legislation
  • Industrial relations
  • Complaint procedures

The WRC Inspection Service monitors employment conditions through its inspectors. It can also enforce compliance and seek redress for breaches of employment rights.

You can contact the WRC’s Information and Customer Service online and by phone. The WRC has employment guides and booklets.

Companies Registration Office

The Companies Registration Office (CRO) has information about registering a business name, setting up a company and filing annual tax returns. You can also find information about registering a foreign company in Ireland.

Local Enterprise Offices

Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) support local businesses (including sole traders and community groups) starting up or developing. Visit the Local Enterprise website for information on:

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland offers grants, vouchers, schemes, and advice for start-up businesses.

IDA (Ireland)

The IDA (Industrial Development Agency) Ireland helps attract foreign investment and provides:


Pobal provides information on management and support services in the areas of inclusive employment and enterprise, social inclusion and equality.

The Health and Safety Authority

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) enforces health and safety laws and provides advice on workplace health and safety.

Visit the HSA website for information on:

Sector-specific representative bodies

The following organisations provide their members with advice and information about running a business:

IBEC (Irish Business and Employers Confederation) - the national umbrella organisation for business and employers, offering support and advice to employers.

ISME (The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association) - the independent organisation for the small and medium business sector.

SFA (Small Firms Association) - represents the needs of small enterprises (companies with less than 50 employees).

Back for Business - supports returning emigrants to start and develop businesses in Ireland. The programme is open to:

  • People who lived abroad for at least a year and have returned to Ireland in the last 3 years
  • Emigrants currently living abroad who are planning to return to Ireland in the near future

Specific economic areas

The following organisations help businesses in specific sectors.

Organisation Businesses or sector
Bord Bia Food, drink and horticulture companies 
Bord Iascaigh Mhara Companies in the seafood industry
Design & Crafts Council Ireland Companies in the design and crafts sector
Fáilte Ireland Companies in the tourism industry
Restaurants Association of Ireland Restaurants, cafés and gastropubs
Teagasc Businesses in the agri-food industry
The National Parks & Wildlife Service Zoos and businesses working with animals or wildlife
Údarás na Gaeltachta Companies located in the Gaeltacht
Vintners’ Federation of Ireland Pub and bar owners

Finance and credit information

Microfinance Ireland provides Small Business Cashflow Loans from €2,000 to €25,000 to small businesses with no more than 10 employees. You can apply through the MFI website or through your Local Enterprise Office.

Problems getting credit

The Central Bank has published regulations for firms lending to SMEs that cover business lending.

If you have a small or medium business and your application for credit is refused by one of the participating banks, you can apply to the Credit Review Office to have your case reviewed.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme encourages lending to SMEs who are commercially viable but have difficulty getting credit. Eligible applicants can get help getting a loan and building up a favourable credit history. Find out more in the information booklet or Frequently Asked Questions (pdf).

More information

If your business is facing problems and you have less than 10 employees, you can apply for free advice under the Small Business Advice Programme.

You can also get free help and advice from the Chartered Accountants Voluntary Advice service (CAVA) on keeping financial records handling, business debts, and dealing with VAT or payroll issues. Call (01) 6377218 or email

You can also contact your local Citizens Information Centre or local MABS office.

Page edited: 9 October 2023