Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)

Ireland has earned its reputation as a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, thanks to a supportive ecosystem that encourages startups to flourish. One key initiative driving this ecosystem is the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP). This program, launched by the Irish government, has been instrumental in attracting talented entrepreneurs and innovative startups from around the world to establish and grow their businesses in Ireland.

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The Basics of STEP

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) is an initiative introduced by the Irish government through the Department of Justice and Equality. Its primary goal is to stimulate economic growth by inviting non-EEA nationals with innovative business ideas to set up or relocate their startups in Ireland.

Key Features:

  • Eligibility: STEP is open to non-EEA nationals who demonstrate a high potential for innovation and job creation through their startup. Applicants must have access to a minimum investment of €50,000 and present a viable business plan.

  • Visa: Successful applicants are granted a secure pathway to obtaining a Stamp 4 visa, which allows them to live and work in Ireland for two years initially, with the possibility of extending for another three years.

  • Investment Requirement: Applicants are required to secure an investment of at least €50,000 from an approved funding source. This can be from personal savings, angel investors, venture capitalists, or other designated sources.

  • Business Plan: A comprehensive business plan detailing the startup’s objectives, market analysis, financial projections, and job creation potential is a crucial component of the application.

  • Commitment to Job Creation: Startups under STEP are expected to create at least one full-time job within the first year of operation and a total of ten full-time jobs within the first four years.

Why Choose Ireland for your Start-up?

  1. Access to Talent: Ireland is renowned for its highly educated and skilled workforce. The presence of top universities and a culture of continuous learning make it an ideal location for startups requiring a knowledgeable workforce.

  2. Pro-Business Environment: Ireland boasts one of the most business-friendly environments in the world. It has a low corporate tax rate, strong legal and financial systems, and a well-developed ecosystem supporting startups.

  3. Gateway to Europe: Being an English-speaking country and a member of the European Union, Ireland provides a strategic entry point to the European market, one of the world’s largest economic zones.

  4. Supportive Ecosystem: Irish startups benefit from a supportive ecosystem comprising accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, and a network of experienced mentors and advisors.

  5. Quality of Life: Ireland offers an exceptional quality of life with its rich culture, friendly communities, and stunning landscapes. It’s an attractive place to live and work for entrepreneurs and their families.

Application Process

The application process for STEP can be summarized in the following steps:

  1. Review Eligibility: Ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria, including the minimum investment requirement.

  2. Create a Business Plan: Develop a detailed business plan outlining your startup’s goals, strategies, and potential for job creation.

  3. Secure Funding: Obtain a minimum investment of €50,000 from an approved funding source.

  4. Submit Application: Complete the online application form and submit all required documents, including your business plan and proof of investment.

  5. Evaluation: The application is assessed by the Evaluation Committee, which considers the innovation, viability, and job creation potential of the startup.

  6. Decision: If your application is successful, you’ll receive a letter of approval, allowing you to apply for a Stamp 4 visa.

  7. Visa Application: Apply for a Stamp 4 visa through the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

  8. Launch Your Start-up: Once your visa is approved, you can set up and operate your startup in Ireland.

Ireland’s Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) is a beacon for entrepreneurs seeking a vibrant and supportive environment to turn their innovative ideas into successful businesses. By providing a clear path to visa acquisition and access to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, Ireland has positioned itself as a premier destination for startups from around the world.

So, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea, consider Ireland and the STEP program as your launchpad to success.

Call us on 01 901 1355, email or fill in the Free Online Enquiry Form. You can also request a call back and we will contact you at a convenient time.

Let us take it from here.