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How do Local Enterprise Offices help businesses financially?

Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) can help to establish and develop new and existing enterprises provided that the
enterprise is capable of becoming commercially viable.
There are also other criteria to be met and these are listed in the bullet points below.
The enterprise must:

  • not employ more than 10 people;
  • be established, registered, and operate within the area of the Local Enterprise Office;
  • operate in the commercial field;
  • show there is a market for the product or service;
  • have the potential for growth in domestic or export markets; and
  • have potential for job creation without affecting existing local businesses.

What is a Feasibility Study Grant?

The aim of a Feasibility Study Grant is to help start-up companies or individual entrepreneurs with the cost of
researching their proposed business or new business idea to see if it could be viable and sustainable. The study
should help the promoter to reach firm conclusions about their business idea and give them the information they
need to draw up a full business plan. Local Enterprise Offices will consider making feasibility study grants to
applicants whose potential new business or service may be eligible to apply for further grant assistance from the
LEO if the business goes ahead.

Who can apply for a Feasibility Study Grant?

 Only businesses or individuals intending to explore the feasibility of a manufacturing or internationally traded service sector business may apply.

What does the Feasibility Study Grant cover?

Feasibility Study Grants are designed to assist the promoter with researching market demand for a product
or service and to examine the sustainability of that product or service. The grant helps with innovation
costs including specific consultancy requirements, hiring expertise from third-level colleges, private specialists, design, patent costs and prototype development.

Grant expenditure may be considered under the following headings:

  • Market Research Costs – to develop the business proposition
  • Consultancy Costs – to include design fees, architect fees and legal fees
  • Technical Development/Prototype/Innovation – to include prototype development, innovative design, research costs and third-level college consultancy
  • Salary/Own Labour Research – costs include own labour involved in carrying out the Feasibility Study. The maximum amount chargeable is €400 a week subject to the overall maximum not exceeding 20% of the overall grant drawdown.
  • Miscellaneous Costs – include telephone costs, mileage costs at €0.26 per kilometre, subsistence and overnight costs, air travel, and so on. Costs in this category relate specifically to Feasibility Grants. The maximum amount for these costs should not exceed 20% of the overall grant level.

How do I apply for the grant?

If you want to apply for a Feasibility Study Grant, you need to contact your local LEO. They will assess your eligibility.
When applying for this grant, you should show that:

  • you have done enough preliminary research to suggest that a full feasibility study is worthwhile; and
  • there is a reasonable possibility that any business idea arising from the study would have real job creation potential.

Applications are considered on a case by case basis.

Any individual or business who wishes to apply must submit a completed signed Feasibility Study Grant application form along with the following:

  • quotations for the key costs,
  • 3 quotes for any item of expenditure over €5,000. (For any expenditure item costing less than €5,000, one verbal quote is required); and
  • the most recent set of certified accounts (in the case of existing businesses).

What happens when your application is received?

Your LEO will write to acknowledge your application, and an executive from the LEO will meet with you to discuss it.
You may be asked to provide additional information.

When the LEO receives all the information they need, your application will be evaluated at the next available meeting
of the LEO’s Evaluation and Approvals Committee. You will then be informed in writing of the decision.

Please note that your submission of an application or the official acknowledgement of your application is not an
indication that the application is eligible or will be awarded grant aid. The final decision on grant assistance is with
the Evaluation and Approvals Committee of the Local Enterprise Office.

For more information on financial supports available from the LEO including information on eligibility, please see

When can I access the grant funds?

If your application is approved, you can draw down your funding after you submit evidence of the expenditure. Any
funding approved must be claimed within 12 months of date of approval.

The maximum Feasibility Study Grant payable is 50%/60% of your eligible expenditure or €15,000 whichever is less.
Please note that the grant is 60% in the ‘BMW’ region (Border, Midlands, West) but 50% in all other regions.

To claim any financial assistance approved, you must submit the following:

  • a signed acceptance of offer
  • original invoices
  • evidence of payment
  • a written report on the feasibility study
  • an accountants Certificate (if required)
  • a claim form
  • evidence of Tax Compliance
  • any other documents as set out in the letter of offer

Please also note that you cannot use your grant to pay for any expenditure incurred before you make the application.

What is ‘De Minimis’ aid?

Feasibility Study Grants are provided under the European Commission Regulation on ‘De Minimis’ aid. De Minimis
aid is limited amounts of State aid – up to €300,000 in any three-year period to any one enterprise. De Minimis aid is
regarded as too small to significantly affect trade or competition in the common market. The amounts of
grants are regarded as falling outside the category of State aid which is banned by the EC Treaty and, therefore,
they can be awarded without reference to the European Commission.

However, a Member State must track De Minimis aid and make sure that combined aid payments from all sources
to one enterprise in any three-year period respect the €300,000 ceiling.

Therefore, you need to provide details of all other grant aid that has been awarded to you or your company within the
past three years. Please note that a false declaration to show a figure under the threshold of €300,000 could later
mean that you would have to pay back the grant aid with interest.

Freedom of Information
The Local Enterprise Office will not release any information received as part of this application except as may be required by law, including the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003. In the event of a Freedom of Information request, the client will be given reasonable advance notice in order to contest such disclosure.

Data Protection
Any personal information which you provide to the Local Enterprise Office will be obtained and processed in compliance with the Data Protection Acts 1988 & 2003. The information in this Application Form will be used by the Local Enterprise Office in the processing of your application and for ongoing administrative purposes between you and your Local Enterprise Office.

Beneficiaries of grant aid should note that the acceptance of funding is an acceptance of their inclusion in the list of beneficiaries under Article 7(2) of the Implementation Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006. This list can be accessed on Border Midland & Western and Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly websites.



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