How to Start a Small Business in Ireland

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Entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Ireland will find that, although the process can be lengthy, there are a plethora of resources available to them to make the start-up stage go smoother. Enterprise Ireland and BASIS are two organizations that can both be found online and provide both new and experienced business owners with information, resources and advice on starting and growing a business in Ireland.

Decide whether you want to operate as a sole trader or you want to start a partnership, a limited liability company or a co-operative, the four business structures available in Ireland. Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each business structure when determining which is best for your business.

Settle on a business name. You cannot use a business name in Ireland if it is already being used by another business, if another business has the same name but the name is spelled differently or if the name is deemed undesirable by the Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister.

Go to the Companies Registration Office website, at cro.ie, where you can download the form you will need to complete to register your business name in Ireland. Once you have filled out the registration form, mail it to Companies Registration Office, the Registrar of Companies, 14 Parnell Square, Parnell House, Dublin 1.

Register with the Revenue Commissioners for tax purposes by going to revenue.ie, where you will find the required forms. The form you will be responsible for completing depends on the type of business structure you have chosen.

Determine whether you need to obtain registration or a business license to legally run your business in Ireland by consulting with your solicitor. Those businesses that are required to obtain a business license to operate legally in Ireland include pubs, driving schools and employment agencies.

Find funding to start your business by beginning your search at the government website BASIS.ie. If your small business offers a service or is in manufacturing and you have ten or fewer employees, you may be eligible for a capital grant, an employment grant or a feasibility grant from the County and City Enterprise Boards Services (CEB).

Take advantage of the programs offered to new business owners in Ireland. For example, Enterprise Ireland offers business owners the opportunity to consult for free with business mentors from their Mentor Network while their Research and Development Management program helps entrepreneurs hone their management and research skills.

Have a thorough understanding of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act of 2005, which is essential to follow if you hire employees. You can download a PDF copy of the act at the House of Oireachtas website at oireachtas.ie.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider purchasing business insurance to ensure that your business equipment, company vehicles and property are protected. If you require expensive insurance to protect your business, talk with the insurance company to determine if you can make payments throughout the year rather than paying the full premiums upfront. Even if you are operating as a sole trader, you should open a separate business bank account. Opening a bank account is a complicated process if you run a limited liability company, so talk with your desired bank to determine all of the steps you must take to get your bank account up and running.

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