Marketing Funding and Grant Aid for Irish Companies.

Funding and Grant Aid: An overview of the range of supports available for Irish companies (Updated- February 2021)

Euro Business Funding


The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has forced business of all sizes across many sectors to either close their doors or adapt to remote working practices in an effort to fall into line with new health & safety measures and adapt to the new realities of the changing global market. This has caused many business owners across Ireland to seek essential funding supports to keep their business afloat and navigate through the uncertain roads ahead. 

The Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation along with Enterprise Ireland has launched a wide range of supports and funding sources for Irish companies to help them stabilise, reset, and get back on the road towards recovery. 

This blog will only focus on State-funded programs which provide grant aid support to companies during the Covid-19 crisis, along with excellent soft supports that are available in the form of strategic advice, mentoring, training, etc.

In nearly every case, success in accessing these grants and supports depends on the quality of the application or proposal presented as every state agency has access to only a finite pool of funding and resources. Therefore, applications that present the best opportunity for business success and sustenance will typically become successful.

In our experience, there is support available for every company so it is often a case of identifying where you best fit and what type of support will best suit your stage of development.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland (EI) is focused on the development and growth of Irish Enterprises in export markets. They operate through offices in Ireland, a network of Development Advisors and have offices located in most major export markets worldwide.

EI works with companies of all sizes and degree of export orientation, operating both generic and industry-specific support programmes including:

  • Food Works Programme (food entrepreneurs)
  • Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGap) for internet/gaming companies
  • Enterprise Start Programme
  • Get Export Ready Programme / First Flight

Enterprise Ireland is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing government approved funding and supports to help Irish businesses stabilise and navigate through the crisis, adapt to the evolving situation, and accelerate their recovery.

Client companies are typically classified into three categories and depending upon which category you fall into there are different levels of funding available: (1) High Potential Start-Ups “HPSU”, (2) Established SMEs: >10 employees and (3) Large Companies: >250 employees.

Below are some of EI’s key funding supports for HPSU and SME’s include:

  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund: Launched in April 2020, this fund provides support of up to €800,000 to companies, targeting them at their different stages of development and growth ranging from established companies to small enterprises and start-ups to maintain business continuity and liquidity.
  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise: This fund will provide a €25k to €50k short-term working capital injection to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and strengthen their ability to return to growth and be trading strongly in 3 years’ time.
  • Business Financial Planning Grant: The Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is a newly launched grant designed to help Enterprise Ireland client companies to develop a robust financial plan or Enterprise Ireland clients, providing 100% funding of up to €5,000 to access an approved financial consultant.
  • Online Retail Scheme: The fund is an excellent support for Irish retailers to enhance their digital capabilities and to develop a more competitive online offer and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace both online and offline. Offers up to 80% funding of eligible costs with a maximum grant of €40,000 on offer. As an Enterprise Ireland Partner, we are delighted to be a key provider in the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, among others. Learn more here.
  • E-Marketing Improvement Grant: This grant is designed to develop and enhance your company’s capability to use the internet as an effective channel for business development. It provides 50% funding up to a maximum spend of €70,000 over an 18-month period and is implemented through a panel of approved online marketing companies in Ireland. As one of the longest-serving consultants on the e-Marketing programme. We have been working with Enterprise Ireland since 2011, helping companies of all sizes, across a broad range of industry sectors, to maximise the digital opportunity for their business. Learn more here.
  • Strategic Consultancy Grant: The SME Strategic Consultancy grant can support the cost of hiring Strategic Consultants to assist in the development and/or implementation of strategic initiatives in the SME. It is designed to facilitate business growth as the consultants can act as a coach, mentor, facilitator, analyst, negotiator and/or operator for the company. The maximum grant value is €35,000.
  • Lean Business Continuity Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic.
  • Business Process Improvement Grant: The Business Process Improvement Grant can be used to support short to medium-term company projects that improve efficiencies and business process improvements. Specific E-marketing support is available through this grant to develop and enhance your company’s capability to use the internet as an effective channel for business development.
  • COVID-19 Act on supports: The Act on Initiative offers advice, support, and access to external consultants on strategic sourcing and transport and logistics. For more information, please contact your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor.
  • Key Manager Grant: provide partial funding towards the cost of recruiting a Full Time or Part Time Key Manager with skills that are critical to the future growth of the company.
  • Innovative HPSU Fund: On a co-funded basis, is available for innovation-led high potential start-ups (HPSUs), that is developing and commercialising new or substantially improved technologies, products, processes, or service offerings.
  • Brexit Ready for Customs Grant: This new grant provides companies with financial assistance to cover the costs of taking on much needed additional customs clearance staff with a maximum grant of €9,000 to help prepare and protect your business for Brexit.


Bord Bia Marketing Assistance Grant

Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) operates through a network of offices in Ireland and internationally to promote Irish food producers and products. They have a wide range of supports to assist companies in the marketing of their food products. The 2021 Marketing Assistance Grant is open to food, drink, and horticulture producers, who are client companies of Bord Bia, with a turnover greater than €100,000 and less than €3.5 million in 2019. Learn more about this grant here

Local Enterprise Office (LEO)

There are 31 Local Enterprise offices in Ireland, and they are an excellent first port of call with a real “pro-business” approach. The primary focus of these organisations is to support people who are interested in starting up a new business or who are already in business including entrepreneurs, early-stage promoters and small businesses looking to expand. 

The main types of support available from the Enterprise Boards include:

  • Online Trading Vouchers: The Local Enterprise Office is currently running a digital grant scheme that offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. This scheme is an initiative of the Government’s National Digital Strategy funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Businesses with less than 10 employees, trading for a minimum of 12 months and have a turnover of less than €2 million are eligible for the grant. Contact IMS Marketing today to find out how we can help.
  • Heavily funded training and mentoring programmes: LEOs provide a wide range of high-quality training supports which are tailored to meet specific business requirements. Whether it is starting a business or growing a business there is something suitable for everyone.
  • Feasibility Study Grant: Funding of up to €15,000 is provided to assist a company to evaluate the technical, market and financial viability of its new business or product idea.
  • Priming Grants: A Priming Grant is a business start-up grant available to micro-enterprises within the first 18 months of start-up. Typical funding is less than €80,000 (in exceptional circumstances it can be up to €150,000) and supports early-stage capital, consultancy, marketing, and employment costs.
  • Business Expansion Grants: Companies can apply for this grant once they are at least 18 months in business. The grant is similar to the Priming Grant (€80,000-€150,000) in the business areas it supports.
  • Brexit Supports: Small Businesses across Ireland can avail of one-to-one mentoring, training expert advice, information, and a range of practical supports on issues affecting them around Brexit. 

InterTrade Ireland

InterTrade Ireland is a Cross-Border Trade and Business Development Body funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation in Ireland (DBEI) that offers a range of funding, business insights and one-to-one supports to SME’s across Ireland and Northern Ireland looking to grow their business. Over the past two decades, InterTrade has assisted and guided over 42,000 businesses and has generated more than €1.3bn in business development value

Below are some of the key funding and supports offered:

  • E-Merge Programme: IMS Marketing is delighted to be one of the key providers for InterTrade Ireland’s E-Merge Programme which provides €2800 fully-funded consultancy support to help Irish SME’s expand and develop their online sales and eCommerce solutions. Click here to apply for the programme.
  • Emergency Business Solutions: Fully Funded Professional advice and one-to-one training related to HR Issues, Finance, Health & Safety, Business Strategy to the value of 2,250 is available for cross-border firms. This solution is designed to help companies address key business challenges related to Covid-19 and successfully navigate through the roadblocks ahead in these uncertain times.
  • Brexit Voucher: InterTrade Ireland’s Brexit voucher offers businesses across Ireland 100% financial support up to €2250 towards professional advice and training on specific Brexit related issues such as the movement of labour, goods, services, customs training, and currency management.

Click here to view InterTrade Ireland’s full range of Funding and Advisory Services 

Incubation Centres

There is a vibrant network of incubation centres located throughout Ireland and the best ones have links with our Universities and 3rd level institutes. These centres support early-stage start-ups and provide a programme that includes rich soft-supports (training, mentoring, etc), low-cost office space and excellent guidance in how to access early-stage funding.

Examples include:

NUIG Innovation Office
UL Nexus Innovation Centre
GMIT Innovation in Business Centre
Sligo IT Innovation Centre


Údarás na Gaeltachta

Údarás na Gaeltachta is the regional authority with an active interest in enterprise development and job creation initiatives within Gaeltacht regions of Ireland.  They provide a range of financial and non-financial incentives to new and established enterprises in the Gaeltacht. Companies seeking assistance from Údarás need to demonstrate a practical commitment to the promotion of the Irish language and culture within their companies.  The range of funding and supports available are very good and typically vary on a case-by-case basis including:

  • Feasibility Study Grants
  • Capital Grants
  • Research & Development Grants
  • Training Grants
  • Development of Market Research Skills
  • Employment Grants
  • Online Trading Vouchers
  • Funding & Supports for COVID-19
  • Brexit Related Supports

Bord Failte

Failte Ireland provides a wide range of training and grant aid supports to companies in the tourism sector.  

On 1st February 2021, Fáilte Ireland announced details of a new €55million business continuity scheme to support tourism businesses that were not eligible for the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) payment or previous Fáilte Ireland continuity grant schemes with a maximum grant of up to €200,000 on offer. Phase 1 of the scheme opens for applications on the 11th of February. Click here for more: 

If you have any questions in relation to any of these grants listed above, or you would like help in preparing your business plan or grant application please get in touch with the team here at IMS Marketing as we are familiar with many of these organisations and in some cases are listed as an Advisor by the agencies themselves.