Agency Information Sheet - May 2015

Agency / Initiative
Action Plan for Jobs
Athlone Institute of Technology
Bord Bia
Citizen’s Information
Companies Registration Office
Credit Review Office
Credit Guarantee Scheme
Department of Social Protection / Intreo
Design and Crafts Council of Ireland
Enterprise Ireland
EmployAbility Midlands
First Polymer Training
Intertrade Ireland
Local Enterprise Office Westmeath
Mullingar Chamber of Commerce
Microfinance Ireland
Opportunity in a Million
Patents Office
Revenue Commissioners
Westmeath Community Development
This is an online SME Support Tool. This will help you find out what supports are
available to help your business grow. There are over 80 Government supports available
to Irish start-ups and small businesses. Use of this online tool will quickly help you
discover which supports will help your business.
To use the tool simply log on to
Click on the button ‘Try SME Support Tool’. This will lead you into a short series of
simple questions including queries about your location, business sector, size of business
(employees), type of business structure, stage of business, type of support required, if you
exporting and if you have you applied for bank funding. The tool will then provide you
with a list of agencies that may be able to advise and support your business, contact
details and names of appropriate staff members to contact. This tool is very useful to
signpost you towards the best agencies and people within those agencies to make contact
with to give you the support you need.
The AIT aim to assist the adult learner (over 23 years of age) with many flexible and
innovative routes, enabling the learner achieve a third level qualification while also
recognising they have work, family and indeed life commitments.
Our role is to partner with the students to ensure that both their third level learning and
normal daily lives can co-exist as they attain their qualification.
Contact Details
Head of Dept of Lifelong Learning - Dr Michael Tobin
Tel: 090 648 3050 / E-mail:
The Midlands Innovation and Research Centre at Athlone Institute of Technology
provides incubation facilities for innovative and knowledge-based enterprise, the New
Frontiers Enterprise Programme for entrepreneurs and start-ups, and makes available the
resources and expertise of AIT to support client companies.
The MIRC assists and advises entrepreneurs and client companies - and provides access
to its enterprise network - at every stage of a project’s development.
Whether you are a prospective entrepreneur, a startup, an existing company committed
to ongoing innovation or an academic interested in commercialising your research, the
MIRC is open to you.
Contact Details:
Midlands Innovation & Research Centre
Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Athlone
Contact People: Michael Lonergan, MIRC Manager 090-646471882
Nick Allen, Programme Manager, New Frontiers 090-6483043
Richard Blake, Enterprise Development Manager 090-6468279
Dr. Marc Cashin, Director InnovAIT 090-6468267
Bord Bia is the Irish Food Board. It works on growing the success of Irish Food and
Horticulture. It provides services to consumers, industry and corporates.
Entrepreneurs with ambitious export targets might be interested in the Food
Works programme that is run in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc. This
programme starts in April each year and provides a structure to explore your idea and
develop it to a business plan designed to secure external investment.
Bord Bia has a dedicated site, Vantage, for smaller food businesses that will also be useful
to those considering starting a food business. As well as describing the role of the
different agencies that can assist such enterprises, it also has plenty of advice on
marketing your food business.
Whether you are considering starting a food business or are in the early stages, you might
be interested in the Food Academy which was launched in recent years in conjunction
with the Local Enterprise Offices and Musgraves and is described on our Vantage web
site. Many of these are accessible from your Local Enterprise Office through our Food
Academy programme.
Finally, Bord Bia's Enquiry Service can help you identify marketing information that is
pertinent to the development of your new business. Use our Enquiry Form to submit a
request and we'll see how we can help.
Marketing Assistance Programme – This programme provides agri-food enterprises with
assistance towards improving their marketing capabilities.
For further information see or
Tel: 01-6685155
e-mail: / /
Citizen’s Information provides information on public services and entitlements in
Ireland. It is provided by the Citizens Information Board.
See -
Information can also be obtained by phoning the Citizens Information Phone Service on
0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm, or by visiting your local Citizens
Information Centre.
Mullingar Citizens Information Centre, County Buildings Complex, Mount St, Mullingar
Tel: 076-1076660 / e-mail: /
Athlone Citizens Information Centre, Elliot House, St. Mary’s Square, Athlone Tel: 0761076610, e-mail: /
The CRO has a number of core functions:
The incorporation of companies and the registration of business names
The receipt and registration of post incorporation documents
The enforcement of the Companies Acts in relation to the filing obligations of
For further information contact:
Tel: 01 804 5200 or Lo call 1890 220 226
The Credit Review Office provides a simple, effective review process for Small and
Medium Enterprises, including sole traders and farm enterprises, who have requests for
credit refused or existing credit facilities reduced or withdrawn.
Tel: 1 850 211 789
e-mail: /
(through Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation)
This Government scheme enables the State, in certain circumstances, to act as a
guarantor to the bank for your loan application. The purpose of the scheme is to
guarantee commercially viable SMEs that have been declined credit due to inadequate
collateral and/or lack of understanding of the business model.
Tel: 01-6548885
e-mail: /
The Dept of Social Protection provides advice and support both to jobseekers and
employers on a range of employment incentive schemes and income support schemes.
The Department of Social Protection has three offices in Westmeath
 Social Welfare Branch Office, The Square, Castlepollard 044-9662230
 Intreo Centre, Government Offices, Grace Park Road, Athlone 090-6449600
 Social Welfare Local Office, Bellview, Dublin Rd, Mullingar 044-9334220
It provides the following services:
Jobs Ireland: Enabling you to advertise your vacancy nationally and across the EU
through the network of Employment Services Offices.
Contact Details:
Jobs Ireland at freephone 1890 8000024, your local employment
service office or Intreo office or
Employment Support Services, Unit 8, Inish Carraig Business
Centre, Golden Island, Athlone Co. Westmeath
090 6473489
Mullingar Employment Services Office, Church Ave, Mullingar
Jobs Plus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who offer
employment opportunities to job seekers on the Live Register. (This incentive replaces
the Revenue job Assist and Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption Scheme since the 1 st July
2013). The incentive will provide two levels of payment: a payment of €7,500 over two
years to the employer for each person recruited on a full time basis who has been
unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months and €10,000 over two years to the
employer for each person recruited on a full time basis who has been unemployed for
more than 24 months. The incentive will be payable monthly in arrears over a two year
Under the Finance Bill 2013, grants paid to companies participating in the JobsPlus
Incentive which encourages employers to hire the long-term unemployed will not be
subject to tax.
For further information: / or by contacting the Department at 1890 927999 or
071-9672535 or e-mail:
JobBridge is a National Internship Scheme that provides work experience placements for
Interns for a 6 or 9 month period.
The aim of JobBridge is to assist in breaking the cycle where jobseekers are unable to get
a job without experience and provides the opportunity to gain valuable work experience,
relevant knowledge and skills in a working environment. Interns receive an allowance of
€50 per week on top of their existing social welfare entitlement. This will be payable for
the period of the internship by the Department of Social Protection to the Intern.
For further information: or
Tel: 046 9738080 or Freephone 1890 800 024.
First Steps – the Youth Development Internship is currently being put in place
(March/April 2015). It is aimed at young people aged from 18-24 years.
Gateway – is the Local Authority labour activation scheme. Participants work for an
average of 19.5 hours per week and the placement lasts 22 months. Work includes
village enhancement, landscaping, tourism ambassadors, control of animals, libraries etc.
For further information e-mail:
The Work Placement Programme is a Government supported programme that brings
employers and the unemployed together for a nine month work experience placement. If
you are unemployed and have not secured paid work, the programme allows you to apply
your skills and gain valuable experience in a workplace setting. This could give you an
edge when applying for jobs in the future. Employers benefit from having someone
contribute to their business, whilst also enhancing the skills and career prospects of the
individual. The placement is unpaid and voluntary. However, if you are already in receipt
of certain social welfare payments, you may be allowed to retain your payment while on a
placement. For further info see or phone 1890 800 024
Skills to Work is a new Irish Government jobs campaign which brings together key
Government initiatives to support jobseekers access the training and work experience
they need and to help and encourage businesses employ people currently on the Live
Register. The campaign aims to make it easier for jobseekers and employers to know
what Government skills initiatives are available to them.
The Skills to Work campaign promotes in particular five initiatives introduced since 2011
which are run by the Department of Education and Skills and Department of Social
Protection: Springboard, Momentum, Skillnets, JobBridge and JobsPlus. As part of
this campaign an online tool has been developed,
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Schemes:
(1) B.T.W.EA: Is designed to encourage the long term unemployed to take up self
employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of
their social welfare payment plus secondary benefits over two years.
The allowance is paid on a reducing scale over a two year period, i.e. 100% of a
person’s social welfare payment in year one and 75% in year two.
(2) The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) gives support to people who
have lost their job and want to start their own business.
To qualify you must be getting jobseeker’s Benefit. There is no qualifying period,
which means you do not need to have been getting jobseeker’s Benefit for a
certain period of time. However, you will not qualify if you are getting
jobseeker’s Benefit and working part-time.
From 4the April 2013 the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is paid instead of
your Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 9 months. It ends when your
entitlement of Jobseeker’s Benefit ends (that is at either 9 or 6 months)
To qualify you must first check your eligibility with the Department of Social
Protection and thereafter visit the offices of the partnership companies to be
assisted in the completion of relevant documentation. Contact details as follows:
Mullingar - Dan Grehan
Athlone - Seamus McKenna
044 - 9348571
090 - 6494555
Enterprise Support Grant - In addition to income support (your weekly payment), you
can also get financial support with the costs of setting up your business. These supports
are provided under a scheme called the Enterprise Support Grant (ESG). (The ESG
replaced the Technical Assistance and Training Scheme (TATS) from 16 April 2014.)
You can only get the ESG if you have been approved for the Back to Work Enterprise
Allowance or the Short Term Enterprise Allowance. The business plan you submit as
part of your application for the scheme must set out the rationale and requirement for
financial support. The ESG can pay a total of €2,500 in any 24-month period (The ESG
is paid to people getting the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance on a pro-rata basis). You
must be able to make a matching contribution of at least 20% to access grant support.
You need to provide documentary evidence of the costs (quotations from at least 2
suppliers or, if a single supplier, the reasons for choosing a single supplier).
The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland has a range of supports in place for enterprises
in this sector. These include:
- Continuing Professional Development Fund
- Funded Masterclasses
- Future Makers Awards and Supports
- International Fair Fund
- Fuse Product Development Clinics
- Building Craft and Design Enterprise Programme
- Enterprise and Innovation Workshops
- Design and Product Mentoring
- External Exhibitions Fund
Contact details: Design and Craft Council of Ireland, Castle Yard, Kilkenny, Co.
Kilkenny. Tel: 056-7771804,
Emer Ferran,, 056-7796144
Mary Whelan,, 056-7796131
Enterprise Ireland's priority is the achievement of export sales growth from Irish-owned
companies. Export sales growth leads to an increase in demand for Irish goods and
services, and increases the flow of income into the Irish economy. This is fundamental to
job creation and maintenance in Ireland.
Enterprise Ireland works with entrepreneurs and business people across the full business
development spectrum - from early-stage entrepreneurs, to established business owners
and Irish multinational companies. Our clients include:
High Potential Start-Up companies with the capability to start a business and sell
in export markets.
Established manufacturing and internationally traded services businesses that are
Small or Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Large companies (employing more than 250).
Irish-based food and natural resource companies, that are overseas-owned or
Enterprise Ireland does not work with locally traded service companies or with microenterprises such as sole traders. Support for these companies or individuals is available
from Local Enterprise Office and FÁS.
Our priority is the achievement of export sales growth from Irish-owned companies. All
our services are geared toward helping Irish companies win international sales.
Our range of services is extensive, from funding, to making introductions in key
international markets.
Funding supports - a range of supports, for start-ups, expansion plans, and R&D
business plans.
Export assistance - including the provision of in-market services, local market
information and the facilities of our international office network.
Supports to develop competitiveness - helping companies to become leaner to
make them more competitive in international markets.
Incentives to stimulate in-company R&D – new product, service and process
development to ensure sustainability, and growth through the evolution of
products and services.
Assistance with R&D collaboration - with research institutions, to develop and
bring to market new technologies, products or processes.
Connections and introductions to customers overseas - we provide access to a
global network of contacts - from heads of government to end customers.
Many of our clients tell us that while the funding they received from Enterprise Ireland
was helpful, the non-financial assistance, like introductions to experts, buyers and
potential customers, was most valuable.
Some initiatives offered by Enterprise Ireland include:
Innovation Voucher Initiative – Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Irelands Innovation Voucher initiative was developed to build links between
Ireland's public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research
bodies) and small businesses. Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a
company or companies to explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered
knowledge provider. More details are available on including
the call schedule and closing dates for 2015.
Competitive Start Fund (CSF) 2015
The purpose of the Competitive Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of start-up
companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to
enable those companies reach key commercial and technical milestones, for example:
Evaluate overseas market opportunities and reach firm conclusions regarding the viability
of the proposed business.
Build a prototype.
Secure a reference site.
Develop a market entry plan for exploiting international opportunities.
Secure partnership deal or strategic alliance.
Identify suitable channels to international markets.
Secure third party investment e.g. business angel, Venture Capital.
All applications to the Competitive Start Fund must be made via the Enterprise Ireland
online application system during call open dates. For further information on the 2015
call open dates see
Enterprise Ireland has a network of Regional Offices. The Midlands office details are:
Enterprise Ireland, Auburn, Dublin Rd, Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Tel: 090-6487100
Contact Details:
Mark Atterbury
090 6487128 or 087 0570445
Contact Details:
Denis Duggan -
090 6487125 or 086 1681848
EmployAbility Service Midlands exists to support people with disabilities into paid
employment while providing effective solutions to employers staffing needs.
Employability Midlands is funded through DSP (Department of Social Protection) to
deliver the National Supported Employment Programme throughout the counties of
Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath.
Employability Midlands provide support to:
People with disabilities in Counties Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath who want
to work or avail of work experience. This includes people with physical/sensory,
intellectual disabilities and people who have mental health difficulties.
Employers in these midlands counties who wish to include a person with a disability on
their workforce should note that the Department of Social Protection provides a range
of employment supports aimed at helping employees with a disability to gain and retain
employment including:
Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grants
Job Interview Interpreter Grants
Personal Reader Grants
Employee Retention Grant Scheme
Wage Subsidy Scheme
Disability Awareness Training
EmployAbility Midlands, Unit 53, First Floor, Bridge Centre, Tullamore,
Co. Offaly
057 9323901 (Co-ordinator – Mr. Tony Reilly)
Initiated in 1999, First Polymer Training (FPT) is a training network for the Irish plastics
industry, promoted by Plastics Ireland (IBEC) and funded by Skillnets Ltd. FPT’s
principal aim is to develop and deliver training programmes that are focused on the
specific needs of this sector.
FPT has also initiated a Certificate in Polymer Technology and a B. Engineering in
Polymer Processing delivered by IT Sligo, primarily online to allow progression and
upskilling for those working in the industry.
In addition the FPT offer free training to jobseekers (subject to availability), providing
them with the skills that the plastics industry is looking for. Specific courses are also
delivered each year to cater purely for jobseekers to facilitate upskilling to address
shortages the industry is experiencing in polymer technician and engineering roles. A
post course unpaid work placement is also involved.
Phone: 090 6471223 Email:
InterTradeIreland helps SMEs (small and medium enterprises) across the island by
offering practical cross-border business funding, intelligence and contacts. Intertrade
Ireland supports businesses, through innovation and trade initiatives to take advantage of
North/South co-operative opportunities to improve capability, drive competitiveness,
growth and jobs. The supports include business funding and support, access to expertise
and mentoring, venture capital and business angel services, tender services, information
and advice, events and workshops.
Contact Details:
Local Enterprise Offices Westmeath work with start up and established businesses with
10 or less employees providing the following range of supports:
Business Advisory services
Business Information
Mentoring services
Business Skills Training
Financial investment assistance (subject to certain criteria)
Marketing financial assistance
Access to Microfinance loans
For further information contact:
Local Enterprise Office Westmeath
C/o Westmeath County Council
Áras an Chontae
Mount Street, Mullingar
Tel: 044 9338945
Mullingar Chamber aims to actively work to shape, manage and promote the business
and community environment of Mullingar, resulting in its recognition as an established
location for business, industry and tourism and an enhanced environment in which to
live and work.
Contact Details
Mullingar Chamber
12 Mount Street (above Jasmine)
Tel: 044-9344044
Microfinance Ireland is a not for profit lender established to deliver the Government’s
Microenterprise Loan Fund as part of the Action Plan for Jobs. The objective is to
provide additional lending to start-up and growing microenterprises that have been
formally or informally declined credit by their lenders.
Loans from €2,000 to €25,000
Loan Terms from 3 up to 5 years
For businesses employing less than 10 people, with turnover less than €2m
Fixed monthly repayments - 8.8% APR Fixed
Businesses from all Sectors
Loans may be used to co-fund bank or grant funding
Assistance with Micro Finance loan applications is available through your local enterprise
office, Microfinance Ireland is linked with all Local Enterprise Offices.
Contact Details:
Lorna Coleman
Tel (01) 2601007
“Opportunity in a Million” (OiM) is an innovative enterprise and employment initiative
by Athlone Community Taskforce on behalf of the Athlone community which will
enhance the spirit of enterprise and employment, leading to the establishment of new
business in the Athlone area. It is about creating and retaining jobs in Athlone.
OiM can provide volunteers and finance to businesses in the area and will support
enterprise projects that will enhance the community spirit leading to increased
employment in the Athlone area
Contact Details
ACT, Ball Alley Lane, Parnell Square, Athlone
The role of the Patents Office is to provide an efficient and effective system of industrial
property protection in the fields of patents, trade marks and designs, and the
dissemination of relevant information in conjunction with each of these activities.
Contact Details
Patents Office, Government Buildings, Hebron Road, Kilkenny.
LoCall: 1890 220 223 or 056 - 7720111
Revenue Commissioners website provides information and allows the
download of any forms that sole traders/businesses may require.
Revenue Online System (ROS) enables Self-Employed individuals, business and
Practitioners file tax returns, make payments on line and view their up to date position
with Revenue.
Start Your Own Business Relief Scheme provides for relief from Income Tax for long
term unemployed individuals who start a new business. The scheme will provide an
exemption from Income Tax up to a maximum of €40,000 per annum for a period of
two years to individuals who set up a qualifying business having been unemployed for a
period of at least 12 months prior to starting a business and have been in receipt of
crediting contributions, jobseekers allowance, job seekers benefit, the one-parent family
payment and partial capacity payment. The business must be a new business and not a
business that is bought, inherited or acquired. It must also be a business that is
unincorporated and not a registered company. The scheme runs from 25 October 2013
to 31 December 2016. This relief only applies to Income Tax, it does not extend to USC
or PRSI.
Other Initiatives for Start up business and SMEs include: (more info on
- The Seed Capital Scheme
- The Employment and Investment Incentive
- Relief from Corporation Tax for start-up companies
- The Research and Development tax credit
In Westmeath, Revenue has an office in Athlone open to the public from 9.30am to
1.00pm daily.
090-6421 800
Government Offices, Pearse Street, Athlone, Co. Westmeath
SKILLNETS (Enterprise Led Training Networks)
Skillnets actively supports and works with businesses in Ireland to address their current
and future skills needs on the basis that training and up-skilling are key elements in
keeping Irish companies competitive. Skillnets funds groups of companies in the same
region/sector, and with similar training needs, through training networks that deliver
subsidised training to Irish businesses. Skillnets is funded from the Department of
Education and Skills.
Through its Management Works programme, which offers structured learning and one to
one mentoring support, Skillnets works with SMEs to build their management and
financial capability.
Specifically in relation to business support, Skillnets provides the following range of
“Through our Training Networks and Finuas programmes, we fund 60 networks
which operate on a national, sectoral or regional level to provide enterprise led
training supports to businesses. (Some examples of the training networks include
Animation, Aviation, IT, Wind Energy, First Polymer Training and Agri /
Farming networks).
We support the development of new certified programmes in response to
industry identified gaps in provision.
We offer a suite of management development programmes designed for small
and medium sized firms.”
For further information go to or to see the Skillsnets Network
to and click under Skillnets.
Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Food Research Programme - Teasgasc can provide advice, consultancy and training in
a broad range of your technical activities including product and process development,
pilot plant facilities, compliance with legislation and codes of practice, food safety, quality
management systems and sensory analysis (Contact Pat Daly,
For further information see
The local Teagasc office is at Teagasc, Bellview, Dublin Rd, Mullingar 044-9340721.
Other useful contacts within the food area of Teagasc are:
Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, 01-8059500,
Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork., 025-42222
Westmeath Community Development provides a range of supports to the small
enterprise sector including:
Employment/Self Employment focused Development Programmes for
unemployed people.
One to one mentoring/coaching for potential and existing small business owners
Referrals and access to Grant Aid for innovative projects – (subject to certain
eligibility criteria).
For more information send email to or phone 044 9348571
WCD Employment Mediation Service provides clients with the help they need to
reach their training, employment or self-employment goals.
Practical supports offered:
 One to one employment mentoring support, self-marketing skills, skills and
training analysis support/training
 CV and interview preparation specific to job type and application
 Specific skill training courses such as business/administration and care industry
Westmeath Community Development also offers:
One to one business appraisal, advice and guidance.
Referral to other agencies providing training courses
Access to Business Development Programme managed by WCD
Access to Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) and Short Term
Enterprise Allowance (STEA) scheme operated in conjunction with DSP, along
with Technical Assistance Support from Dept of Social Protection (DSP)
Indirect access to various financing bodies/schemes; Local Enterprise Office,
RDP, MicroFinance Ireland
Direct access to ACT and MEAG Loan Funds via Athlone and Mullingar Credit
Access to non financial supports provided by other agencies.
Access to non financial supports provided by WCD, including Bookkeeping etc.
Access to self employed networks in Mullingar and Athlone.
Information books
Access to units at possible reduced rates in Mullingar (and in some cases
For more information contact Tricia McKenna or Dan Grehan in Mullingar on 0449348571 or email /; or in Athlone Seamus
McKenna –, 090-6494555
Westmeath Community Development CEO Mr. Joe Potter; see website –