Anyone interested in starting their own business should in the first instance contact their local County and City Enterprise Board (CEB). The CEBs support the indigenous micro-enterprise sector in the start-up and expansion phases and stimulate enterprise potential at local level. The CEBs are the first port of call in terms of advice, direction, training and grant support for anyone who wishes to start a business. The CEBs will deal with queries from all potential clients (including those who have taken redundancy, whether in the public sector or not). Contact details for the CEBs are available on www.enterpriseboards.ie . They offer a range supports including both financial assistance and non-financial assistance. The forms of financial assistance, which are available subject to certain criteria and conditions, are Priming Grants, Business Expansion Grants and Feasibility/Innovation Grants. The provision of non-financial assistance can take the form of a wide range of business advice and information services, management capability training and development programmes, e-Commerce training initiatives etc. Training courses include such topics as start-your-own-business, taxation for beginners, internet marketing, idea’s generation and negotiation skills.
In addition, Microfinance Ireland is providing support in the form of loans of up to €25,000 available to start-up, newly established or growing microenterprises employing less than 10 people with viable business propositions that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by the banks. The Fund has a significant entrepreneurship focus and is open to anyone with a viable business proposal. Applications for the new Microfinance Fund should be channelled through the local CEB. Contact details for the CEBs are available on www.enterpriseboards.ie .
A Guide, entitled “Financial Support for Irish Business” has been published on my Department’s website at www.djei.ie under “latest publications” and includes information on supports, other than those available from the Enterprise Development Agencies, such as “Revenue Job Assist” and “Back to Work Enterprise Allowance”.
A particularly important action in this year's Action Plan for Jobs 2013 is the launch of the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) which will see the merger of the CEBs with the Business Support and Enterprise Development functions of the Local Authorities. The APJ recognises that the indigenous micro-enterprise and small business sector is central to economic recovery, job creation and the future prosperity of the Irish economy. This merger will ensure that the national enterprise support model for these sectors is a premium model delivering high quality.