Starting a Business in Ireland

Posted on 26th April 2019
Starting a Business in Ireland

(Part 1 of the ‘Starting a Business in Ireland’ series)

Setting up a business in Ireland has long been an attractive proposition for overseas companies. Over the last 20 years, Ireland has built a reputation as a hub of international business and entrepreneurship.

Consequently, today there are over 1,000 well-known and emerging global companies from a wide range of business sectors located in Ireland. These include 9 of the top 10 global ICT companies and 8 of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies. 

Enterprise Ireland invests in approximately 200 startups each year. In addition, Brexit has also played a significant role with Dublin pipping Frankfurt at the post to take the top spot for most popular “Brexodus” destination in Europe.

Why Set Up a Business in Ireland?

What makes Ireland attractive is a combination of factors underpinned by the positive approach of successive Irish Governments to attracting overseas business. 

Firstly, through membership of the European Union (EU), Ireland offers foreign business access to a trading area that is second only to the U.S. in terms of GDP.  Secondly, Ireland has a very favourable corporate tax rate (12.5%) and a highly educated, skilled and flexible workforce. 

In short, the combination of all these factors with our “can-do” approach to the complexities of international business, offer foreign companies a package that ticks all the boxes.

Check List for Setting up A Company In Ireland

The following checklist provides a very useful starting point when researching whether to set up a company in Ireland:

  • What is the right type of company structure – limited company, unlimited company, partnership or sole trader?
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages to each type of company structure, for example the different tax rates, tax reliefs, obligations and administration levels associated with each type of company
  • Evaluate the costs of setting up and maintaining the company in Ireland
  • Are there legal and regulatory requirements for the business’s services or products?
  • What is the tax regime and what are its implications for the company and its employees?
  • Forecast expected salary levels including the mandatory or typical voluntary employee benefits?
  • Are there local and national supports and potential funding available to businesses through public funding or other services?
  • Assess the resources required by the company – physical, infrastructural and technical, and (of course) the qualities required from the workforce – how does Ireland fit those requirements?
  • Does location in Ireland bring advantages when considering my business’s access to key markets?

Business Planning

Once the research phase is concluded, it is time to focus on planning the startup of your company. Business planning is vital to ensure you get the basics right from the very beginning. There are several crucial stages in this phase.  The following list shows some of the most important steps:

  • Registration with Companies Registration Office (CRO) – for instance a limited company must register with Companies Registration Office first. Note that CRO has very useful, detailed information about the different types of company structure on its website.
  • Register your business with Revenue for tax
  • You will also need a bank account in the company name.
  • Write a business plan which includes cash flow projections and assessment of financing needs
  • Establish a relationship with banks, insurers, suppliers etc.

Many of these steps are daunting, and this is often a very stressful time for business owners.  That is why the services of an experienced accountant or business advisor will prove invaluable at this point.  They can guide and help in crucial areas such as launching the business, creating accurate financial forecasts and minimising tax.

Additional Supports

When setting up a company, one of the first steps is to familiarise yourself with the Local Enterprise Office.  In Ireland, there are 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network.

Their role is to provide a “First Stop Shop” for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland.  They offer a wide range of experience, skills and services to entrepreneurs, early-stage promoters, startups and small businesses looking to expand.

In addition to supports such as training programmes and mentoring, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) also provide financial support in the form of feasibility study grants, business expansion grants etc.

In conclusion, the other significant factor to consider is the quality of life that Ireland offers.  Work/life balance is extremely important – employee satisfaction is increased and hence productivity. This is a “win-win” situation for both employee and employer. As you can see, Ireland performs pretty well according to the OECD Better Life Index.

To sum up, it rains a bit…but, as a wise man once said:

‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.’

Our track record in the provision of international business services stretches back to 1997. During this time we have worked with international companies setting up their business in Ireland and Irish companies expanding abroad. Consequently, we have the expertise to guide you through the challenges of starting a business. Our approach is to work in partnership with you to ensure your success. If you need advice with starting a business in Ireland, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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