Business Expansion Grant
What is the Business Expansion Grant?
Starting a new business in Ireland can be an exciting yet daunting experience, but the Business Expansion Grant can make the journey a little easier. This government-funded initiative is designed to support small businesses in their early stages of growth, providing financial assistance to create new jobs – and not only.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements for Business Expansion Grants?
Eligible businesses must be micro-enterprises such as Limited Companies, Designated Activity Companies, sole traders, co-operatives, and partnerships operating within the first 18 months of trading. The grant primarily focuses on salary support and may cover a portion of qualifying salary costs and/or 50% of qualifying non-salary costs (excluding VAT), with a maximum contribution of €80,000 from the Local Enterprise Office.
To determine if your business is eligible for a Business Expansion Grant, you should contact your Local Enterprise Office (LEO). The LEO officer will consider the potential for employment and sales growth, the merits of your proposal, your need for financial support, and any previous funding received. The decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.
To be eligible for a Business Expansion Grant, your business must:
- Operate within the LEO’s geographic area.
- Employ up to 10 employees.
- Be a manufacturing or internationally traded services business.
- Demonstrate potential to export as a domestically traded services business.
- Operate in the commercial sphere.
- Be part of a market for the product/service.
- Have capacity for growth and job creation.
- Adequate financing for the project, including operating costs.
- Sufficient management and technical capacity for implementation.
- Compliance with policies, permits, licenses, and laws.
What Can the Business Expansion Grant Be Used for?
The Business Expansion Grant can be used for a variety of expenses such as capital items, rental and accommodation costs, utility costs, marketing costs, consultancy costs, business-specific training costs, and salary costs. Note that the grant cannot be used to buy a building, land, or mobile assets, but these types of costs can be discussed with a LEO representative before applying. Specifically, the Business Expansion Grant can cover the following:
- Capital items: Office equipment, machinery, computer costs, hardware and software, etc. (excludes building acquisition and mobile assets).
- Rental/accommodation costs: For 1st year, subject to signed lease agreements (excludes subsidies from public funds).
- Utility costs: Installation costs for telephone and broadband (excludes mobile phone costs).
- Marketing costs: Packaging, brochures, business cards, trade fairs, website design and development, etc.
- Consultancy costs: Design fees, patent costs, architect, accountant, legal fees, etc.
- Business-specific training costs: Specialized management or personnel training for business growth.
- Salary costs: For 1st year of employment, paid in two instalments, based on salary scale (max. €15,000 for salaries over €40,000)
- Non-salary costs: 50% of qualifying costs (excluding VAT) for equipment and direct business costs (excludes building, land, and mobile assets)
What are the Business Expansion Grant’s Reimbursement Limits?
The Business Expansion Grant has specific reimbursement limits that businesses must adhere to. The maximum grant amount that can be reimbursed is either 50% of the investment or €150,000 – whichever is lower. However, for projects that have the potential to graduate to Enterprise Ireland, the maximum grant can go up to €150,000. In all other cases, the maximum grant amount will be either 50% of the investment or €80,000, whichever is lower.
Additionally, a maximum grant of €15,000 per full-time job created is allowed for employment support. All grants with a value of €50,000 or more or a cumulative value of €100,000 over three years require approval from Enterprise Ireland.
Note: Businesses that have received a Business Priming Grant cannot apply for a Business Expansion Grant until 12 months after the approval or drawdown date unless they can demonstrate exceptional merit and have drawn down less than the maximum Priming Grant. This is subject to the provisions of “De Minimis state aid.“
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