by Alla Pavlutska
Setting up a company can be a lucrative venture for entrepreneurs but also a complex and time-consuming process. From choosing the proper business structure to navigating the legal requirements, many factors must be considered before launching a new business. TheCity will provide you with a step-by-step guide on setting up a company in Ireland in 2023, along with valuable insights into how not to fail.
“Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely place,” says Sophie Kelly, founder of Ireland’s first children’s clothes library My Little Wardrobe.
She explains that being a mother of two young children, working full-time, and setting up a business can be incredibly challenging. However, this did not stop her. Ms Kelly says that beginning her start-up was not just a coincidence.
“My two children have eczema, so I was looking for high-quality, gentle-on-the-skin clothes when they were small. All the organic cotton clothes and ethical brands I used are truly amazing. However, they are very expensive to buy and not accessible to everyone. That’s how the idea of My Little Wardrobe came, offering parents the option to rent high-quality clothes for their fast-growing children.”
Although Ms Kelly’s business is set to go live soon, the founder is convinced there is still much to do to guarantee a successful launch.
“I am currently doing market research, gathering feedback on parents’ needs in Ireland, building my website, doing the “Kickstart Your Own Business” course with The Entrepreneurs Academy, and I hope for our official launch on the 1st of June.”
Insider Tips on How to Start
“The first place a person should go to is your Local Enterprise Office,” explains Lorraine Allen, founder of Brand Innovation Ireland and start-up advisor. “They offer lots of support for small businesses, such as 1:1 mentoring, various business courses, and start-up grants. The grants they offer cover things like designing & launching an e-commerce website or testing the feasibility of your idea and creating a prototype. The various LEO grants often cover up to 50% of eligible costs.
“Mentorship offered by the LEO with seasoned experts is invaluable. Whatever your need – financial, marketing, sales, digital media – they will match you with a mentor.”
Ms Allen also says that students and academic research scientists have an opportunity to participate in business incubation programs offered by many Irish universities and also funding initiatives from both Enterprise Ireland and the European Commission.
“If you believe that your research has a commercial application, you can approach the Technology Transfer Office to explore the possibility of licensing your idea or creating a spin-off company once commercialised. Such initiatives are supported by Enterprise Ireland, which works closely with scientific research projects to foster innovation.
“Moreover, there are numerous funding sources available within the European Commission, which offer grants for scientific research projects that have the potential to generate groundbreaking innovation.”
Types of Business
The choice of legal structure for your business will vary depending on factors such as the nature of your business, your potential business partners, and your risk tolerance.
According to Revenue, a person can set up their business as:
- A sole trader
- A partnership
- A limited company
There are also various company types available in Ireland. The most popular are:
- Private Company Limited by Shares (LTD)
- Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG)
- Public Limited Company (PLC)
- Unlimited Company (UC)
Ms Allen explains that deciding the type of business you want is a key step before establishing a company because different legal structures entail varying levels of set-up administration, taxation, and operational requirements.
“If it is a limited company, for instance, you register with the Companies Registration Office. You can do that yourself or via an agency that charges a fee for that administration work.”
“The legal entity set-up is probably the cheapest part,” says Ms Allen. “You will need money to establish your business. It depends on nature of the start-up, whether you need a property, what promotion and marketing you need to undertake, and inputs and production costs your business requires.
“Also, if you want to build a website, you will need to get purchase a domain name. You can buy from a URL provider such as Blacknight for about 5 to 10 euros annually, depending on the domain name.”
Customer Needs and Where to Find Them
“I’m a huge believer in understanding user needs,” says Ms Allen. She is convinced that every entrepreneur should ask themself some questions.
- What’s trends are happening in the market you want to enter?
- How big is the market, and is it growing?
- What consumer need is not being met by what’s currently being offered?
- What product or service could I develop that would meet that need better than what’s currently on the market?
“I’ve recently noticed that libraries in Ireland have access to Mintel [a market research company]. So, if you have a library card, you can access their trends research for free.
“Analysing any market that way, you start to understand where the potential opportunities are. If you can couple that with emerging trends in the market, then you are on to a potentially good idea to commercialise and launch, but it needs to be validated with the target market users to further ensure its success.”