Finding information on starting a business
You can get advice on starting a business and becoming self-employed from a range of sources. This page explains where to find information on starting a business, including the organisations and agencies that can help.
You can also read about:
Websites on setting up a business
You can visit the following websites for information on starting a business:
|Website:||For information on:|
the Enterprise Europe Network
Relevant Government departments and agencies
If you are becoming self-employed or starting a business, you can contact a number of Government departments and agencies for advice, including:
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) is responsible for implementing laws and policies relating to business (such as the Companies Act 2014). DETE has a role to promote and enforce fair competition in the marketplace. It also oversees the protection of workers and consumers.
You can visit DETE’s website for a range of 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 a different rate of PRSI (pay-related social insurance), called Class S PRSI. 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.
If you are getting social welfare and want to become self-employed
The Department of Social Protection has many social welfare offices around Ireland, called Intreo centres. 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 getting certain social welfare payments to become self-employed.
Revenue.ie has information about your tax obligations. For example, you can read the Guide to Self-Assessment and the Starting and running a business guide for information on tax when becoming self-employed and setting up a business.
Revenue also has information about employing people, such as your tax obligations when you hire and pay employees, and what to do if their employment ends.
Workplace Relations Commission
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) website has information on:
- Rights and responsibilities of employers and their 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.
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 that are starting up or in development. LEOs can also support sole traders, firms and community groups. The projects must be commercially viable (able to make a profit), or have the ability to become commercially viable. Visit the Local Enterprise website for information on:
The IDA (Industrial Development Agency) Ireland is responsible for securing new investment from overseas in manufacturing and internationally-traded services sectors.
It can provide information about setting up a business in Ireland, as well as management consultancy and training for staff. IDA may also provide grants to companies who want to locate in Ireland or expand their existing operations in Ireland.
The Health and Safety Authority
Visit the HSA website for information on:
Finding the representative body for your sector
The following organisations provide their members with advice and information about running a business:
IBEC (Irish Business and Employers Confederation) is the national umbrella organisation for business and employers. It offers support and advice to employers.
ISME (The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association) is the independent organisation for the small and medium business sector.
SFA (Small Firms Association) represents the needs of small enterprises (that is, companies with less than 50 employees).
Back for Business is a development programme which supports returning emigrants to start and develop business 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 may be able to help you if you want to start a business in their sector.
|Organisation||Relevant businesses or sector|
|Bord Bia||Food, drink and horticulture companies looking for export assistance|
|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|
Getting information about finance and credit
Microfinance Ireland provides loans to small businesses with no more than 10 employees, including sole traders and start-ups.
Difficulties accessing credit
The Central Bank has published a revised Code of Conduct for Business Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (pdf).
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 additional lending to small and medium businesses who are commercially viable but have difficulty accessing credit. Under the Scheme, eligible applicants will be helped to get a loan and build up favourable credit history. Find out more in the Scheme’s information booklet.
You can also read the Customer Frequently Asked Questions (pdf).
Further information on starting a business
If your business is having difficulties and you have fewer than 10 employees, you can apply to the Small Business Advice Programme for free advice.
The Chartered Accountants Voluntary Advice service (CAVA) can give free advice and assistance on your business affairs such as bookkeeping, business debts, VAT or payroll issues. Call (01) 6377218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.