There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.
A grant of up to €15,000 to new companies or individual entrepreneurs to research their business idea to see if it would be viable and sustainable.
The grant can be used to offset a maximum of 50% of the following costs, up to a maximum of €15,000:
- Market research
- Consultancy – including design, architecture and legal fees
- Technical development/prototype/innovation – including prototype development, innovative design, research costs, patent costs and third-level college consultancy
- Salary/own labour
- Miscellaneous costs – including telephone costs, mileage, subsistence and accommodation, air travel etc.
The feasibility study should lead to firm conclusions about the viability of the business idea and generate the information needed to draw up a full business plan.
The feasibility grant aims to increase the number of companies established by covering the costs of researching a new business idea. It also aims to reduce the failure rate for new companies by encouraging detailed research into the potential viability and sustainability of the business idea from the outset.
The feasibility/innovation grants are administered by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) around the country. You should contact your nearest LEO before applying to ensure that you are eligible. Applications can be made through the online form.
Your LEO will acknowledge receipt of the application and you will be invited to meet with a member of the LEO staff to discuss it. Only expenditure incurred after the acknowledgement of receipt will be eligible if the application is successful.
Your application will be evaluated at the next available meeting of the LEO’s Evaluation and Approvals Committee and you will be informed in writing of the decision.
Approved grants are paid after the completion of the feasibility study, once the following are submitted:
- A signed acceptance offer
- Original invoices
- Evidence of payment
- A written report on the feasibility study
- An auditor’s certificate (if required)
- A claim form
- A current, valid tax clearance certificate
- Any other documents set out in the letter of offer
If you are interested in availing of this service, don’t forget:
- Before applying for the grant you should have done sufficient preliminary research to suggest that a full feasibility study is worthwhile.
- Your business idea should have job creation potential.
- Only businesses or individuals intending to explore the feasibility of a manufacturing or internationally traded service business are eligible.
- The 50% maximum grant increases to 60% for businesses in the BMW (Border, Midlands and West) region.
- Miscellaneous costs are allowable up to a maximum of €400 per week and must not exceed 20% of the overall grant drawdown.
- The grant must be drawn down within 12 months of approval.
- To comply with EU rules, you will be asked to provide details of all other grant aid awarded to you/your company in the past three years (if this exceeds €200,000, you will not be eligible for the feasibility grant).
- More information is available here and on the websites of the individual LEOs.