Dublin’s startup ecosystem has a reputation for being diverse, welcoming and accessible. In fact, Ireland and Dublin consistently rank well in the various startup ecosystem rankings that are released each year. For example, StartupBlink’s 2020 report ranks Ireland ninth, while Dublin comes ninth in EU-Startups’.
Whether you’re looking for funding, supports or just a way to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, you’ll find what you need to know below.
Startup grants, funding and supports in Ireland
Investment in Dublin is strong, because the Irish state proactively tries to attract and nurture businesses of every shape and size. As a result, startups based in the city can access a whole host of grants, tax incentives and other supports which are designed to help their business succeed. Here’s an introduction to the ones you should know about.
Local Enterprise Offices
The LEO network is the first stop for anyone seeking information and support for starting a business in Dublin. There are four dedicated LEO teams in the county: Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, South Dublin and Fingal.
LEO provides easy access to quality supports, such as training, mentoring and networking events. Eligible startups can apply for co-funding for feasibility research, salaries and other costs too.
LEO can also help you access funding from other sources, including Microfinance Ireland.
Enterprise Ireland supports high potential startups that are developing innovative, export-orientated products and services. It can provide a wide range of funding, training and development support to eligible startups. This makes the process of starting a business in Ireland as easy as possible and aims to help you reach global markets.
Enterprise Ireland is the largest seed capital investor in Ireland, investing in over 70 high potential startups companies each year. Its portfolio features over 1,300 investments in client companies.
As well as the innovative High Potential Start-Up fund, it also runs the New Frontiers Programme and the Competitive Start Fund, as well as startup grants for mentoring, market research and innovation services. It even offers supports specifically for female entrepreneurs to encourage more women to get involved in Ireland’s startup ecosystem.
Tax incentives and initiatives
As well as startup grants, the Irish state also offers some generous tax initiatives to encourage ambitious and innovative companies to set up shop in Ireland.
As well as a low corporation tax rate, startups can claim further reliefs for the first three years of trading. There’s also R&D tax credits of up to 25%, tax deductions related to intellectual property and the Employment Investment Incentive for those who finance certain startups.
These incentives attract many entrepreneurs and are key to nurturing Dublin’s startup ecosystem. You’ll find further details and other initiatives in our full guide to Ireland’s tax incentives.
Business angels, venture capital firms and other sources of finance
As successful entrepreneurs themselves, business angels are a very important source of seed capital in Ireland. They also offer valuable expertise and guidance. The main contact point for business angels in Dublin is Dublin BIC.
If you’re looking for other sources of startup loans or funding, you’ll find a comprehensive list of Dublin’s venture capital firms, financers and crowdfunding platforms in our guide to business supports in Ireland.
Other sources of support
Accelerators and incubators are a great way to grow your startup fast and, if you’re interested in R&D, you’ll find a full list of Dublin’s research centres here as well.
It’s also worth noting that if you’ve been working in Dublin and then find yourself unemployed, you may qualify for an enterprise allowance. This is a weekly payment that helps support you while you work to get your startup off the ground.
Competitions can be a great way of raising the profile of your startup and some prizes may even prove to be a great source of funding. The main startup competitions in Ireland include:
Networking, talks, training and other events are one of the most enjoyable and enlightening aspects of Dublin’s startup ecosystem. The city’s Local Enterprise Offices arrange a wide range of events to support startups.
The Digital Hub and the Dublin Chamber of Commerce organise regular startup networking events throughout the year too. For other meetups and events, check out Startup Digest and Dublin Startup week too.
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs
This programme gives aspiring entrepreneurs from other countries the opportunity to learn from experienced business people running small businesses here in Ireland. By spending time with the experienced entrepreneurs, they have an opportunity to learn about and develop the skills needed to run a small firm.
Looking for further information?
Lots of other online resources feature useful information for startups. From writing a business plan and protecting your ideas, through to employing people and managing tax, these websites provide reliable help: