One of the key drivers of any successful business is funding. Companies will often require funding support to help grow and expand the business. In the current climate, this may even be necessary for the business to sustain itself. This can be even more relevant when it comes to start-up companies. Start-up grants are an opportune but often overlooked way for a start-up company to fund itself in the short term. Here, we will review some of the grants which are available and how to go about claiming them.
What grants are available?
There are a variety of start-up grants available for businesses. These vary in type according to business need. A selection of the available grants are shown below:
Local Enterprise Office
The Local Enterprise Office is often the most logical first port of call when seeking funding support for a fledgling business. Whether you are seeking funding support in response to pressures caused by Covid-19, Brexit or guidance on how your business can raise funds for a specific project, the Local Enterprise Office can assist your business. It is a resource for people interested in starting a new business or people already trading, including entrepreneurs, early-stage promoters, start-ups and small businesses looking to expand. With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer a wide range of experience, skills and services.
Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs (SURE)
SURE is a tax relief that provides a refund of income tax that has been paid in previous years. Relief can be claimed if you are starting your own business and you are an employee, unemployed or been made redundant recently. Revenue stipulate that the conditions for SURE are that you must establish a new company or a new qualifying trading activity; have mainly PAYE income in the previous four years; take up full-time employment in the new company as a director or employee; invest cash in the new company by purchasing shares, and keep the shares purchased for at least four years.
Short Term Enterprise Allowance
The Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) gives support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business. It is paid in lieu of Jobseekers' Benefit for a maximum period of nine months and ends when the entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit ends. In order to qualify for the STEA scheme, you must be getting, or entitled to receive Jobseeker's Benefit. More information on the scheme is available here.
Are Alternative Funding Sources Available?
In addition to the grants outlined above and available elsewhere, recent years have seen alternative funding sources become more popular. One of the best ways for your start-up to raise funds without relying on a financial institution is through equity crowdfunding.
Equity crowdfunding allows you to raise new funds for your company from accredited investors who are interested in investing in high-potential businesses. In return for their investment of funds, the investors receive new shares in the company in anticipation of an appreciation in the value of the shares.
This process has a number of advantages over standard fundraising through financial institutions. Namely, it is a relatively low cost, quick and straightforward process. Additionally, the very act of a successful equity crowdfunding campaign may validate your company for other investors in the future.
There are many ways to raise funds for your company, no matter what stage of development your company finds itself in.