Small Business Grants

Small Business Grants

Small Business Startup Grants


Have you ever considered starting your own company? It can be a lot easier than you expected and with our help and guidance it can be a much smoother process.

We have listed some useful information on grants and funding available for start-up companies in Ireland.

1. Is there EU funding is available?
Check what EU funding is available to you and your company, and how to apply for it.

2. What resources are available?
Business Plans
Marketing Plans
Invoice Templates

3. What Grants are available?
Innovation Grant
Refundable Priming Grant
Competitive Start Fund

4. ISME Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association
Financial Support


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Budget 2016

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin presented their fifth Budget speech on Tuesday 13th October 2015. The following changes have been announced and are due to take effect from 1st January 2016, unless otherwise stated.

Taxation Measures


Tax Rates and SRCOPs

There has been no change to tax rates or SRCOPs. The standard rate will remain at 20% and the higher rate at 40%.

Personal Tax Credits

The following changes to tax credits will apply:

Earned Income Tax Credit

An Earned Income Tax Credit of up to €550 will be introduced for those with earned income who do not qualify for the PAYE Tax credit. This tax credit will primarily apply to the trading or professional income of self-employed people.


Where an individual qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit and PAYE Tax Credit, the combined tax credits cannon exceed €1,650.

Home Carer Tax Credit

The Home Carer tax credit will be increased from €810 to €1,000. In addition, the income threshold will be increased from €5,080 to €7,200. Where the carer’s income exceeds €7,200, the tax credit will be reduced by 50% of the excess income. This means the tax credit will be lost completely if the carer’s income exceeds €9,200.

Emergency Basis of Tax

There are no changes to the SRCOP and Tax Credits which apply under the Emergency Basis of tax.

Universal Social Charge (USC)

Annual income for USC purposes of €13,000 or less will be exempt from USC.

The 1.5% and 3.5% rates have been reduced by 0.5% to 1% and 3% respectively. In addition, the 7% rate of USC has been reduced by 1.5% to 5.5%. There has been no change to the 8% rate of USC.

For 2016, USC will apply at the following rates for those earning in excess of €13,000:

Rate Bands Rate
PAYE Income Non-PAYE Income
Up to €12,012 1% 1%
Next €6,656 3% 3%
Next €51,376 5.5% 5.5%
Next €29,956 8% 8%
Balance (in excess of €100,000) 8% 11%

Medical card holders and individuals aged 70 years and over whose aggregate income does not exceed €60,000 will pay a maximum rate of 3%.

The rate of 8% USC will continue to apply under the Emergency Basis.


Impact of Budget 2016 on a single person earning €25,000 and €45,000.

2015 2016 Difference
Earnings €25,000.00 €25,000.00 €0.00
Tax €1,700.00 €1,700.00 €0.00
PRSI €1,000.00 €1,000.00 €0.00
USC €894.60 €668.06 €226.54
Net Pay €21,405.40 €21,631.94 €226.54


2015 2016 Difference
Earnings €45,000.00 €45,000.00 €0.00
Tax €7,940.00 €7,940.00 €0.00
PRSI €1,800.00 €1,800.00 €0.00
USC €2,294.60 €1,768.06 €526.54
Net Pay €32,965.40 €33,491.94 €526.54

Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) Scheme

The HRI scheme has been extended for a further year, until 31st December 2016.

Local Property Tax (LPT)

The revaluation date for the LPT has been extended from 2016 to 2019. LPT is currently based on the value of a residential property as at July 2013. Properties were due to be revalued in 2016. The revaluation date has been postponed until 2019 so homeowners are not adversely affected by any increase in property prices.

Pension Fund Levy

A stamp duty levy of 0.6% was introduced in 2011 on the market value of assets under management in Revenue approved pension funds and pension plans i.e. Occupational Pension Schemes, Retirement Annuity Contracts and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs). This levy was increased to 0.75% for 2014 and reduced to 0.15% in 2015. This levy will cease in December 2015 and will not apply in 2016.


There is no change to the 9% VAT rate for the tourism sector in 2016.


Revenue Budget

The Revenue Commissioners will receive new funding of €75 million in 2016 for increased compliance interventions.

Film Relief

The cap on eligible expenditure which currently stands at €50 million is being increased to €70 million.

Start Up Relief for New Companies

This relief provides an exemption from corporation tax for new start-up companies for the first 3 years of trading. The relief is being extended and will apply to companies who commence to trade over the next 3 years.


Other Taxes


Excise Duty

There is no increase in excise duty on petrol, diesel or alcohol products.

The excise duty including VAT on cigarettes will increase by 50 cent on a packet of 20, with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products from midnight on 13th October 2015.

Motor Tax

There are no increases in the rates of motor tax for private vehicles.

Motor tax for commercial vehicles will be reduced in 2016 with particular focus on large goods vehicles. The existing 20 commercial motor tax rates are to be replaced by 5 new rates ranging from €92 to €900.

Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT)

The current Group A threshold of €225,000 will be increased to €280,000. Group A primarily applies to gifts or inheritances received by a child from a parent. This increase applies to gifts or inheritance received on or after 14th October 2015.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Capital Gains Tax will be reduced from 33% to 20% in relation to the disposal in whole or part of a business up to an overall limit of €1 million.


Stamp Duty on Debit Cards

Stamp Duty currently stands at €2.50 per year on ATM cards and €5.00 per year on combined ATM/Debit Cards.

This duty is being abolished and will be replaced on 1st January 2016 by a 12 cent ATM transaction fee. The total yearly fee will however be capped at a maximum of €2.50 for ATM cards and €5.00 for combined ATM/Debit Cards with no effect to the consumer.

Finance Bill 2015

The Department of Finance is due to publish Finance Bill 2015 within the next few weeks.


Employment Law


National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage will increase from €8.65 gross per working hour to €9.15 gross per working hour.

  • Workers under age 18 are entitled to €6.41 (previously €6.06) per working hour
  • Workers in the first year of employment over the age of 18 are entitled to €7.32 (previously €6.92) per working hour
  • Workers in the second year of employment over the age of 18 are entitled to €8.24 (previously €7.79) per working hour

Minimum wage for trainees: Employee aged over 18, in structured training during working hours: 1st one third of course €6.86 (was €6.49), 2nd third of course €7.32 (was €6.92) and 3rd part of course €8.24 (was €7.79).

Statutory Paternity Leave

Statutory Paternity leave of 2 weeks with Paternity Benefit for fathers will be introduced from September 2016.


Social Protection Measures


PRSI Changes

Employee PRSI – Class A

A tapered PRSI credit of up to €12 per week (€624 per year) will be introduced on 1st January 2016. This PRSI credit will commence in respect of weekly income of €352.01 and will taper out as weekly income reaches €424.

Employer PRSI – Class A

The threshold for charging employer PRSI at 10.75% will be increased from €356.01 to €376.01 per week. Employer PRSI at 8.5% will apply to weekly earnings from €38 to €376.

Social Welfare Payments

All pension payments including the State Pension (Contributory) will be increased by €3 per week. This increase also applies to Carer’s payments where the carer is aged 66 or over. Payments for qualified adults aged under 66 will increase by €2 per week and by €2.70 per week for qualified adults aged 66 years or over.

Carers allowance will be paid for 12 weeks (currently 6 weeks) from January, after the death of the person being cared for.

A Christmas bonus of 75% of an individual’s weekly payment will be paid this December to recipients of long-term Social Welfare payments, subject to a minimum payment €20.

The Fuel Allowance is to be increased by €2.50 to €22.50 per week in January 2016.

The income threshold for Family Income Supplement (FIS) will be increased by €5 per week for families with 1 child and by €10 per week for families with 2 or more children.

The Respite Care Grant will be restored to €1,700 in 2016.


Children and Families

Child Benefit will be increased by €5 per month in January 2016 to €140 for each child.

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme is being extended to all children aged from 3 years up to the age of 5½ or until they start primary school, whichever is earlier.


Health Measures


Free GP care

It is proposed to extend free GP Care for under 6s and over 70s which was introduced in 2015 to all children under 12 in 2016. This will be subject to negotiations with doctors’ representatives.


Public Service


Pension Related Deduction (PRD)

Budget 2016 did not make any change to the rates and thresholds for PRD. However, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2015 is proposing the following changes:

  • In 2015, the annual PRD exemption threshold will increase from €15,000 to €17,500. The next €2,500 will be liable at 2.5%, with no change to the 10% or 10.5% rates. Once the law is enacted, these provisions will be back dated to 1st January 2015.
  • From 1st January 2016, the exemption threshold will increase from €17,500 to €26,083. The 2.5% rate will be abolished. 10% PRD will apply to earnings between €26,083 and €60,000, with no change to the 10.5% rate.
  • From 1st January 2017, the exemption threshold will increase from €26,083 to €28,750. 10% PRD will apply to earnings between €28,750 and €60,000, with no change to the 10.5% rate.

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Budget 2016

Getting the balance right?
Will Budget 2016 get the balance right for you and your business? With lots of media coverage focusing on ‘giving back’, will the Government get the balance right between tax cuts, expenditure measures and growth stimulation?

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How to Clean Up Your Bad Credit.

Unsecured loans for bad credit are primarily designed to provide financial relief to individuals with a bad credit rating who may have been turned down by high street banks and other lending institutions. These sources of finance offer hope for people in this type of situation as funds may be granted without the borrower being subjected to a thorough credit check.

It is possible to obtain bad credit unsecured loans by fulfilling a few basic requirements in order to as certain that the borrower is eligible. The applicant must be at least 18 years of age and should be in receipt of regular income and have a bank account with a direct deposit facility. The debtor’s proof of income assists lenders in determining how much will be loaned to the applicant.

Bad credit loans generally have higher interest rates than other standard financial products. This is due to the fact that there is a higher risk of non-payment on the part of the borrower. Another factor that exacerbates the element of risk is the fact that these types of credit are unsecured. This means that the lender does not have any form of security so he cannot automatically seize the borrower’s goods in the event of non-payment. Because of the risks the amounts lent are also lower than with secure finance. If you are considering bad credit loans as a solution to your financial needs, it is a good idea to take the above factors into account and assess what is available to you. As lending institutions are now conveniently accessible online, it makes it easier to find those that offer the best deals and the lowest Annual Percentage Rate. This enables you to compare quotes to find the best product to suit your circumstances.

In addition to this, you may find that some lending institutions will offer you bad credit loans with no fees. This will work further to your advantage as it means that you won’t have to pay any additional charges such as upfront fees, service charges and processing fees. So the only sums you will repay are the amount borrowed plus interest. Repayments for these types of products are usually made monthly for a period of up to seven years. The interest rate and the monthly payment can be fixed for the entire period until the whole amount borrowed is repaid in full. This makes it easier for you to budget as you know exactly how much you will need to set aside each month.

It is important to note that if you are unable to make the repayments on time then you should contact the lender to see if you can come to some arrangement. If you repeatedly fail to meet the payments the lender has the right to take action against you, which could involve a collection agency or legal enforcement. As this could cause further damage to your credit rating it is important to reach an agreement with your lender as early as possible.

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Housing And Land Valuations: What To Expect.

Knowing the value of your housing or land is always a good thing. It will help you make so many more decisions and also help you to know what your estate is worth. If you are looking at selling either your land or home, then a valuation is also the best way to go for you. This means that you will never have to worry about getting less money that you deserve when it comes to your home, and you will also never have to worry about paying more than what a property is worth.

What to expect during a home valuation.

During a home valuation, there will be certain factors looked at, that will enable your valuer to determine how much your property is worth or how much you should get for it. When the valuers visit your property, they will measure it, and make notes about the details of it, such as the structure, any faults in the structure, the rooms, the layout of the house, the presentation and the fixtures and fittings. After this, any improvements made to the house will be looked at. If you have made recent improvements to the house that make it better, then you will be able to sell your home for a lot more than if you had only made certain improvements to it that did not enhance the functionality of the house. The age of you home will also get judged, as this is a big factor when it comes to pricing. Then the house will be compared with others of its type, meaning that an overall aggregate of its value will be reached.

What to expect from a land valuation.

When you own a piece of land, there are a lot of other factors that come into play, namely whether or not the land is for commercial, farming or residential use, and where it is zoned. You cannot for instance, sell a piece of residential land at the cost of a piece of commercial land, if it is not in the correct zone. There are some zones that do not allow for the operation of commercial business. A piece of land that is available for farming will be valued in how arable it is and also what types of produce it can grow. The better the climate and the more arable the land, the more expensive it will be. In terms of commercial land, the better located it is to arterial routes and ports, the more expensive it will be to buy.


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Working Capital Loans introduction.

Working capital loans are short-term loans that are used to finance daily business operations. While these loans are not intended for acquisition of long-term assets or investments, they can ease the handling of day to day expenses. Routine operational costs of a business may vary across businesses but in general, they are categorized into fixed and variable costs.

Fixed costs include expenses such as rent or employee wages while utilities (electricity, water, production costs etc.) are covered under variable costs. As you increase awareness about your product or service, you also require working capital for advertising and marketing campaigns. You may also use them towards inventory purchase.

Why Working Capital Matters.

With rising inflation rates and an unfriendly economy, many businesses are unable to generate the revenue required to fund their daily operations. As a result, business owners are often stressed out over stretching their funds to cover their business operations while funding other aspects of their business.

A working capital loan can help tide you over until your business gains a firm foothold and you are able to meet your day to day operational expenses. This can give you some much-needed breathing space during which you are able to continue business operations despite an inability to cover related operational expenses.

A significant cash infusion can make a huge difference to business performance. Gaining access to adequate capital can help you accept new orders that require increased production capacity or power up your marketing campaign to increase sales.

When Do You Need a Working Capital Loan.

You could require a working capital loan under different circumstances. These include starting a new business, during expansion or for restructuring your current business. Seasonal businesses also need funding to help them stay afloat during lean seasons.

Most lending institutions will require your company’s credit history, cash flow details and projected revenues to approve your loan application. Loan approvals can take as long as 2 to 3 months.

Types of Working Capital Loans Available.

You can gain access to different types of loans, depending on your profitability levels and credit history.

Debt Financing.

This is a great way of gaining access to working capital for those businesses that have run into debt and require funds for daily operations. However, you might want to be aware that debt financing institutions often have stringent criteria for loan approval and the process tends to be long-drawn and complicated.

Equity Financing.

You can also generate revenue by selling shares in your company to interested investors. Some businesses also offer a percentage of ownership to potential investors and use the cash infusion to fund their business operations.

While this is a good way of generating revenue, you are forced to share ownership (and profits) with other investors.

Special Government Subsidies.

Certain businesses enjoy the patronage of government subsidies that offer them loans at attractive rates. Businesses that are perceived as good for the country’s economy get preference for approval. For example, export businesses can often get approved for government subsidies.

Repayment Methods.

Working capital loans can be typically repaid in one of two ways. One is by offering a small percentage of sales towards repayment. This percentage/amount is decided at the time of application between the lending institution and the applicant.

Another way of paying off the loan is to pay a small amount on a daily basis from Monday to Friday. This method of repayment helps you build up a respectable credit history and reduces stress levels.


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Useful Bankruptcy Advice.

Deciding on bankruptcy isn’t the easiest decision. Many people see this option as a failure, but in reality it is a solution to help you get out of debt and enjoy a fresh start.

There are a number of different debt relief options available from consolidation loans to this option, which is why it’s important to do your research, determine what is the right choice for you and speak to a professional financial consultant to get the information and advice you need before making such a big decision, which will affect both you and your family.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to choosing bankruptcy to write off your debt. Understanding these advantages and disadvantages will help you make the right decision.

Looking at the advantages, you get a fresh start within twelve months. This type of option stays in place for around one year, after which you start your life anew, completely debt free.

Another advantage is that any unsecured debt is usually written off, which means that your debt is taken care of, stress is reduced and hounding calls from creditors comes to a stop.

There are thousands of people around the world who fear a knock on the door or when the phone rings because they owe so much money, this leaves them with serious insomnia, which affects every aspect of their lives. In some cases bankruptcy is the only solution to help them get back on track financially and improve their health.

Once you choose this option, you will want to find a financial advisor that can assist you every step of the way. The advantage to this is that you know all the forms are completed accurately and that the chances of your case being approved is increased.

This can only be approved through the High Court and is a detailed process consisting of petitions, statements and affidavits to prove your case. Once your case is approved, your assets will be used to pay off outstanding debts, your creditors leave you alone and after a year, you can start a new life.

During the year you cannot apply for credit, though you can open a bank account. You have to disclose to financial institutions that you are bankrupt and let them make the decision from there.

As mentioned, this type of solution comes with disadvantages, which you must be aware of. First and foremost please be aware that your assets can be used to pay off debts. This is especially true if you have used your home as collateral. Though you will be able to retain your appliances and possibly your vehicle, in some cases.

There are implications when it comes to your job. Depending on your position within the company and the industry in which you work, this will determine whether you keep your job or not. Company directors are not able to work while they are going through this process. Be aware of this and ensure you find out how this will impact your job for the next year.

There is a fee for choosing this option which makes up the court fees, ensure you have this money available to pay for the service and help yourself improve your health, sleep better and get the hounding creditors off your back.

If you are self-employed, there is the risk that you will have to close your business. This is something you may wish to discuss with your advisor to ensure you are completely aware of what will happen if you choose bankruptcy as your choice going forward.

There are a number of websites where you can get sound bankruptcy advice, enabling you to make the best decision that will help you and your family moving forward.


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Factors to Consider Before Applying for Commercial Loan.

When you are in business whether as a sole trader or a company, there will be times when the business cannot generate enough cash flow to meet its ongoing operating expenses. Your need for cash will also arise when you will expand business operations and purchase much-needed business assets. If you are a business owner and experiencing cash flow fluctuations, your next step should be to consider getting a commercial loan.

A commercial loan is also called a business loan and it can be set up for you, whereby you can use the proceeds of the loan to fund large capital expenditures or operating expenses that your business may otherwise be unable to afford. You will need to consider a number of options when deciding on a commercial business loan. Here is a list of options you should consider:

1. You will have to decide on the type of acceptable security you want to provide (e.g. residential, commercial or industrial).

2. You will have to decide if the securities taken by the lender/credit provider consist of Registered 1st or 2nd Mortgages, and

3. You will have to decide on the loan type (e.g. Interest Only or Interest plus Principal), the maximum loan size and the maximum loan-to-value ratio (LVR) percentage.

If you elect to fund your large capital expenditures or operating expenses with a commercial loan, you should consider all of the following factors:

1. If your business requires working capital or is at an important stage of development that requires a capital input, a short-term commercial loan may provide an effective solution. This loan is taken out for short-term and has a pre-determined exit date.

2. If you are considering purchasing a commercial property to either operate your business or to create a commercial property, you may require a longer-term commercial loan.

So, these are the main options and factors to think about when you are deciding to expand your business operations or generating enough cash flow to meet the ongoing operating expenses of your business. If you are confused about anything regarding commercial loans or want to seek expert help, you can consult a finance broker. He/she will understand your business requirements and suggest the best financial solution.

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Get Out of Debt for Less With Debt Settlement.

If you have too much debt and stress, now is the time to stop this destructive cycle and get the help you need from a debt reduction program. This article teaches you the principles of debt settlement, one of the most popular forms of debt relief.

What is a debt settlement?

Debt settlement is also known as debt arbitration, debt negotiation or credit settlement-is a debt relief approach where negotiators communicate with creditors on your behalf to settle your debts to reduced and agreed to amounts. Only unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills and personal loans can be negotiated. You can’t settle mortgages, rent, utility bills, cell phone and cable charges, insurance premiums, car loans, student loans, alimony, child support, taxes or criminal fines.

Once you enrol in a debt settlement program, your negotiation team opens a trust account for you. You must deposit up to 50% of your unsecured debt into the account over a period of 24-60 months. This money is used to settle your debts with creditors. Because the average debt settlement firm is for-profit, you must also pay the company a 15-25% service charge. This fee is based on the original amount of your unsecured debt or the amount negotiated, depending on the debt settlement company.

Most debt arbitration companies use a third-party escrow service to “warehouse” the money that they will later use to fund the settlements they negotiate for you. Sending money to your trust account is generally done through ACH on the same day each month. If your checking account is with a bank where you also have a past due loan or credit card balance, it is suggested that you use a different bank for your debt settlement program.

Here are three things that a debt arbitration company must tell you before you enrol in their program:

1. You must be given an “upfront estimate” in writing of all costs associated with settling your debts to reduced and agreed-to amounts.

2. You must be given an “estimated timeframe” to reduce your debt.

3. You must be told that debt settlement can adversely affect your credit score.

Here are some examples of what a debt settlement company cannot tell you:

“We can eliminate 50-70% of your debt.”

“We can cut your debt in half.”

“Debt settlement will not affect your credit score.”

“Calls and letters from creditors will stop once you enrol in a debt settlement program.”

“Debt settlement does not affect your taxable income.”

“Once you join a debt settlement program, you will no longer have to communicate with your creditors.”

If you are considering debt settlement, here is what you need to know first:

1. Debt settlement will not solve your careless spending and savings habits. The only way that you will ever achieve lasting financial freedom is to apply the dynamic laws of financial recovery to your everyday life. These smart-money principles will help you to establish spending and savings habits that are built on solid bedrock. They are discussed in a separate article entitled “The Dynamic Laws of a Successful Financial Makeover.”

2. Debt settlement should not be confused with bill consolidation, another form of debt reduction. Bill consolidation-also known as interest-rate arbitration-takes your high-interest credit cards and loans and consolidates them into one, low-interest loan that you can afford. In other words, you’re taking out one loan to pay off many others. Bill consolidation does not reduce the outstanding balances that you owe to creditors. It only lowers your interest rates.

3. One of the primary reasons that people choose debt arbitration is to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection.

Here are five reasons why the consequences of bankruptcy can be overwhelming:

  1. Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years and adversely affects your credit score.
  2. Bankruptcy will follow you for the rest of your life. For example, many loan, credit card, and job applications ask if you have ever filed for bankruptcy protection.
  3. Bankruptcy cannot eliminate alimony and child support obligations as well as criminal fines.
  4. Except in very limited circumstances, bankruptcy cannot wipe out student loans.
  5. Bankruptcy cannot prevent a “secured creditor” from repossessing property. “A bankruptcy discharge eliminates debts, but it does not eliminate liens. So, if you have a secured debt (a debt where the creditor has a lien on your property and can repossess it if you don’t pay the debt), bankruptcy can eliminate the debt but it does not prevent the creditor from repossessing the property.”



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