How do Local Enterprise Offices help businesses financially?
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) can help to establish and develop new and existing enterprises provided that the enterprise is capable of becoming commercially viable. There are also other criteria to be met and these are listed in the bullet points below.
The enterprise must:
- not employ more than 10 people;
- be established, registered, and operate within the area of the Local Enterprise Office;
- operate in the commercial field;
- show there is a market for the product or service;
- have the potential for growth in domestic or export markets; and
- have potential for job creation without affecting existing local businesses.
What is a Feasibility Study Grant?
The aim of a Feasibility Study Grant is to help start-up companies or individual entrepreneurs with the cost of researching their proposed business or new business idea to see if it could be viable and sustainable. The study should help the promoter to reach firm conclusions about their business idea and give them the information they need to draw up a full business plan. Local Enterprise Offices will consider making feasibility study grants to applicants whose potential new business or service may be eligible to apply for further grant assistance from the LEO if the business goes ahead.
How do I apply for the grant?
If you want to apply for a Feasibility Study Grant, you need to contact your local LEO. They will assess your eligibility. When applying for this grant, you should show that:
- you have done enough preliminary research to suggest that a full feasibility study is worthwhile; and
- there is a reasonable possibility that any business idea arising from the study would have real job creation potential.
Applications are considered on a case by case basis. Any individual or business who wishes to apply must submit a completed online Feasibility Study Grant application form along with the following:
- a CV (for the main applicant),
- quotations for the key costs,
- 3 quotes for any item of expenditure over €5,000. (For any expenditure item costing less than €5,000, one verbal quote is required); and
- the most recent set of certified accounts (in the case of existing businesses).
Please make sure your application form is completed in full.
What happens when your application is received?
Your LEO will acknowledge your application, and an executive from the LEO will meet with you to discuss it. You may be asked to provide additional information. When the LEO receives all the information they need, your application will be evaluated at the next available meeting of the LEO’s Evaluation and Approvals Committee. You will then be informed in writing of the decision.
Please note that your submission of an application or the official acknowledgement of your application is not an indication that the application is eligible or will be awarded grant aid. The final decision on grant assistance is with the Evaluation and Approvals Committee of the Local Enterprise Office.
For more information on financial supports available from the LEO including information on eligibility, please see www.localenterprise.ie
When can I access the grant funds?
If your application is approved, you can draw down your funding after you submit evidence of the expenditure. Any funding approved must be claimed within 12 months of date of approval. The maximum Feasibility Study Grant payable is 50%/60% of your eligible expenditure or €15,000 whichever is less.
Please note that the grant is 60% in the ‘BMW’ region (Border, Midlands, West) but 50% in all other regions.
To claim any financial assistance approved, you must submit the following:
- a signed acceptance of offer
- original invoices
- evidence of payment
- a written report on the feasibility study
- an auditor’s Certificate (if required)
- a claim form
- a current valid tax clearance certificate
- any other documents as set out in the letter of offer
Please note that there is a short 1 question video interview as part of this application (2 Mins).
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your business, and why you are looking for funding?
LEOs can assist in the establishment and/or development of new and existing enterprises (limited company, individuals/sole trader, cooperatives and partnerships) provided that such enterprises/projects are capable of attaining commercial viability and subject to the following eligibility criteria:
- The enterprise must not employ more than 10 people;
- The enterprise must be established, registered and operate within the geographic location of the Local Enterprise Office;
- The enterprise must operate in the commercial sphere;
- The enterprise must demonstrate a market for the product/service;
- The enterprise must have potential for growth in domestic and/or export markets and also potential for new job creation.
Within the above eligibility criteria there are certain priorities and restrictions:
- Priority must be given to enterprises in the manufacturing or internationally traded services sectors which over time can develop into strong export entities and graduate to the Enterprise Ireland portfolio;
- Salary support may be offered to unique tourism services projects that are focused predominantly on generating revenues from overseas visitors and which do not give rise to deadweight and/or displacement in the local economy;
- This grant aid does not support those areas such as retail enterprises, personal services (eg hairdressers, gardeners, creches etc), professional services (accountants, solicitors etc), construction/local building services, as this is considered to give rise to unacceptable deadweight (where the project would have proceeded anyway) and/or displacement (where the projects imply to displace business from other players in the market).
- The sector of the economy in which an enterprise is operating or intends to operate
- The size or proposed size of the enterprise
- Any expenditure incurred, prior to receipt of application form, will not be eligible for grant support.