changes in the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme
The ‘STEP’, or Start-Up Entrepreneur Programme facilitates residence in Ireland for foreign national entrepreneurs who have a viable proposal for a High Potential Start-up (HPSU) Company. STEP applies the definition of a HPSU as used by Enterprise Ireland
Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets.
Involved in manufacturing or internationally traded services.
Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.
Led by an experienced management team.
Headquartered and controlled in Ireland.
Less than six years old.
In March of this year, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter announced some changes in the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme in Ireland also known as ‘STEP’ and run by his Department. The changes, which were agreed by the Government, followed a review of the operation of the STEP and are intended to refine the programme and improve its appeal to potential migrant entrepreneurs.
So far, 20 applications have been approved under the programme with a projected investment of over €6 million and potential employment creation of over 220 jobs. There are, however, indications of further opportunities to attract entrepreneurs and further enhance Ireland’s excellent reputation as a business and investment location.
“When we launched the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme in April 2012, I deliberately avoided making any predictions on the level of interest in scheme. This is new territory for Ireland and it was not possible to predict the level of demand at that time. The approach was to allow the Programme to operate for a reasonable time and to review it to establish whether improvements could be made. This has now been done and while the level of interest so far has been encouraging, I believe that we can do more in this area to attract entrepreneurs to Ireland and to offer those people already here a real option to stay on as entrepreneurs.”
The main changes to the STEP:
Required minimum investment reduced from €75,000 to €50,000.
A 12 month immigration permission will be made available for foreign national entrepreneurs attending incubators or innovation bootcamps in Ireland. The 12 month permission will allow these entrepreneurs to prepare an application to the STEP and thus provide an identifiable route for migrant entrepreneurs to move from the start-up to realisation phase of their projects.
More emphasis on the marketing and promotion of the scheme and on aligning the STEP within a national strategy to promote Ireland as a world class business location. Read more about the benefits of working and starting a business in Ireland here > Business in Ireland
In the announcement of changes to the programme, the Mminister concluded,
“Ireland is an excellent country for entrepreneurs and has many advantages in terms of quality of life for dynamic and innovative people and their families. We want to welcome them to Ireland to avail of the considerable benefits we have to offer their businesses. Today’s announcement is another initiative in support of the Governments ambition for Ireland to be among the most entrepreneurial nations in the world and acknowledged as a world class environment in which to start and grow a business. With the unemployment challenge that Ireland is currently facing, growing the number of entrepreneurs and start ups is hugely important for Ireland’s economic development”.
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