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Doing business in the EU

With a potential internal market of 450 million consumers, the European Union is one of the biggest markets in the world.

Thanks to the Single Market, Irish companies, whatever their size, are part of this dynamic EU trade area that fuels economic growth, creates jobs and makes doing business easier.

Running a small or medium business in the EU

Small and medium businesses employ two out of every three workers, and create 85% of all new jobs in the EU. They are an integral part of Europe’s economy and the European Commission provides information, support and funding sources to help them develop and grow. In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can:

  • Benefit from the free movement of goods and services throughout the EU without customs or regulatory obstacles;
  • Count on support and solidarity from the EU when facing challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit;
  • Profit from the EU’s collective bargaining power, which facilitates access to global markets through negotiated trade agreements with other countries and regions.

EU funding and financial support for businesses

Every year the EU supports more than 200,000 businesses and entrepreneurs through business loans, microfinance, guarantees and venture capital. The decision to provide EU financing is usually made by local financial institutions such as banks, venture capitalists or angel investors.

The European Commission approved a €200 million Irish scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak in April 2020. And in light of the economic and social devastation caused by the pandemic, the EU has launched the Recovery Plan for Europe, to help get economies, businesses and citizens back on their feet. This will provide extra support and financing opportunities for Irish business, particularly in the agricultural sector.

Ireland's National Recovery and Resilience Plan

Information on EU funds and procedures for business

Available business financing for Ireland

EU-funded initiatives in Ireland

Business information and support networks

Your Europe business

A full range of information on starting and running a business or start-up in the EU, taxation rules and procedures, human resources, product requirements, finance and funding, and dealing with customers.

 

Your Europe Advice

A network of independent lawyers who are familiar with both EU and national law in all EU countries, providing:

  • free, personalised feedback in the EU language of your choice, within a week
  • clarifications on the European law which applies in your case
  • information on how you can exercise your EU rights.

 

SOLVIT

Unfair rules or decisions and discriminatory red tape can make it hard to live, work or do business in another EU country. So, if you as an EU citizen or business face obstacles in another country because a public authority isn’t doing what is required under EU law… SOLVIT can help.

 

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Helps to provide aspiring European entrepreneurs with the skills necessary to start and/or successfully run a small business in Europe, through on-the-job training and mentoring.

 

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) Ireland

Helping business grow through new partnerships, commercial opportunities, licensing deals, and partner searches for EU funded R&D. Services are tailored to SMEs but are available to all other businesses, universities and research centres.

 

Access2Markets

A dedicated portal for potential and existing EU exporters and importers to find detailed information on duties, taxes, product rules and requirements for all EU countries and over 120 other markets around the world.

 

European Cluster Collaboration Platform

An online matching tool to find business partners per country, region, sector or industrial ecosystem. 

 

EU employment and social affairs

Information, news and events on the EU’s employment strategy and policies; including worker’s rights, skills and qualifications, mobility, social protection and inclusion. 

 

European Intellectual Property Helpdesk

A first-line intellectual property (IP) service providing free-of-charge support to help European SMEs and beneficiaries of EU-funded research projects manage their IP in the context of transnational business or EU research and innovation programmes.