Help with Starting a Business for the Unemployed

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance:

If you are unemployed – you don’t need to rely on other people to give you a job , you can become self employed.  There is financial help available for people in Ireland who are on social welfare and start their own business.
In the early stages of being self employed – the income stream can be very slow and expenses can be high.  The  Back to Work Enterprise Allowance enables you to keep some of your social welfare payments for up to 2 years while you build up the business.

Setting yourself up as a self employed sole trader can be very  fairly simple – you just tell Revenue that you are self employed , complete a tax return once a year.  There is no legal requirement to register a business name  or have a business bank account.  You need to keep  records of income and expenditure.

You only need to register for VAT if  your annual turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed  €75,000 in respect of the supply of goods or €37,500 in respect of the supply of services.

The first step is to confirm with the Dept of Social Protection that you are eligible.
The next stage is to get approval from your nearest  Local Development Companies .

These Local Development Companies also provide useful advice and training for anyone thinking of becoming self employed.

If If you do not live in an area covered by a Local Development Company , you should apply to the Case Officer in your Intreo Centre or social welfare local office.

You will  usually have to complete the following forms.

An abridged business plan and a cash flow forecast – like this one

A Back to Work Enterprise Allowance application form  (See here) – which asks for basic details about what the business involves , if you have any experience and start up costs.

A TRI – tax registration form

If you qualify for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance you can keep the following 100% of of your social welfare payment for the 1st year and 75% for the 2nd year.

You can qualify if you have been getting one of the qualifying payments listed below for at least 12 months…

Jobseeker’s Allowance ; Jobseeker’s Transitional payment ;Jobseeker’s Benefit (with an underlying entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance)*

One-Parent Family Payment ;
Blind Pension
Disability Allowance ;
Carer’s Allowance (having stopped caring duties)
Farm Assis
Invalidity Pension
Incapacity Supplement ;
Widow’s/Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension

or Illness Benefit for 3 or more years

Extra Help

Once you have been approved for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance –  you can also get extra financial help  with the costs of setting up your business from an  Enterprise Support Grant (ESG)
The ESG can pay you a total of €2,500 in any 24-month period  towards  business costs such as advertising , accountancy ,  tools , equipment,  website  etc. Each category of help has it’s own limit – for example the maximum you can get towards website registration and related services is €500. You can get up to €1000 towards business equipment. You must be able to make a matching contribution of at least 20% to access this ESG  support. You will need to provide proof of the costs (quotations from at least 2 suppliers or, if a single supplier, the reasons for choosing a single supplier).

You can’t get funding to help with the following :

Professional development programmes arranged by professional and regulatory bodies
Purchase of any type of vehicle
Building/premises rental costs
Cost of travel
Insurance (except public liability)
Personal clothing and uniforms (except protective clothing)
Training or education other than Short-term training on book-keeping, regulation, rollout of business plan, start-your-own-business and courses of training related to the start-up.
More info here