An introduction to the startup scene
Ireland has a reputation internationally as a welcoming country for startups. As the capital city and a hub for financial services, tech companies and a range of other multinationals, foreign investment in Dublin is particularly strong.
The city’s small size and open attitude provides entrepreneurs from all over the world with easy access to relevant decision makers, as well as some great networking opportunities.
Starting a business in Dublin will also provide you with access to the city’s supportive startup ecosystem. This features all sorts of Irish state agencies designed to help you get your company off the ground. There’s a range of innovative accelerators and incubators to help you turn your business plan into a reality fast.
For businesses of every shape and size, there are a ton of reasons to invest in Dublin. But looking at startups specifically, key attractions include the city’s strategic location, which makes it the perfect gateway to Europe, the US and the UK.
In Ireland, startups also have access to a young, English-speaking and highly skilled workforce. Dublin’s consistent growth has placed Ireland on the Top 10 Major European Cities of the Future 2023 list, ranking 3rd after London and Amsterdam. Limerick is also on the rise within the Micro Cities category, while Cork ranked 2nd overall in Small European Cities.
Starting a business in Ireland: The basics
Dublin is an easy place to do business. But for those who are completely new to the Irish startup scene, we’ve got the basics covered.
Registering your startup
It doesn’t take much time or money to set up a business in Ireland. In fact, the process is relatively straightforward. You can operate as a sole trader, a partnership or a limited company. Companies can be set up in as little as two to four days through the Companies Registration Office.
Ireland is widely known for its tax incentives for business. Its 12.5% corporation tax is the second-lowest in the EU and the third-lowest in the OECD. But those starting a business can also take advantage of other tax reliefs that support innovation. Through Section 486C, for example, new companies trading on or after 1st of January 2018 are able to halve their corporation tax for the first five years of trading.
For startups, Irish Revenue provides a comprehensive guide on how to register for relevant taxes.
In Dublin, startups have access to a range of financial and non-financial supports. Mentoring, training, funding and financing are also available from the likes of Enterprise Ireland or your Local Enterprise Office.
For entrepreneurs that are working on highly innovative products, extra help is available too. Companies interested in R&D can benefit from funding and significant tax credits. Enterprise Ireland will also facilitate R&D initiatives by helping you find collaborators and network with overseas customers.
Check out our full guide to Irish business supports here.
Entrepreneurs from abroad
Entrepreneurs coming from the EU, the UK, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein can set up businesses in Ireland without needing any visas or immigration permission. However, those coming from further afield will need to apply for residency first.
There is a special Startup Entrepreneur Programme, which is designed for anyone who wants to move to Ireland to set up or grow their startup.