Cork Business Innovation Centre

CorkBIC is a private-sector led organisation, specifically set up to identify and build knowledge intensive companies based on promising technology and capable innovative people. It plays a hands-on role helping entrepreneurs navigate the minefield of raising finance, sorting out business propositions, arranging agreements with shareholders and investors, and, perhaps most important of all, finding customers.

Cork BIC access to funding


SBCI SME Credit Guarantee Scheme

The purpose of the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme is to encourage additional lending to SMEs, not to substitute for conventional lending that would otherwise have taken place.  Businesses seeking to avail of the guarantee scheme can approach a participating bank. Participating lenders will make all decisions on lending. Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland participate in the Scheme.

Supports for SMEs

The Community Foundation for Ireland

The Community Foundation for Ireland was set up in 2000 with the mission to be a driver of philanthropy in all its forms.   CFI connects donors with dedicated non-profit organisations and its works with professional advisers to find the best charitable solutions for their clients. CFI manages and administers grant schemes on behalf of a number of trusts and foundations.  Details of funding programmes are available at

The Community Foundation for Ireland

Credit Review Office

The Credit Review Offices provides an independent, impartial credit appeals process for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), including sole traders and farmers.

SMEs, sole traders and farm enterprises are eligible to apply to the Credit Review Office for a review of decisions by participating banks to refuse or reduce credit facilities (including applications for restructured credit facilities) up to €3,000,000.

Clann Credo

Clann Credo – the Social Investment Fund designs and promotes innovative social finance products and services, contributing to inclusive prosperity and developing social capital in a way that benefits the whole community.

Clann Credo provides repayable finance to Community & Voluntary organisations and Charities that find it difficult to access funding from mainstream financial institutions. This support is primarily through loan finance and occasionally direct investment. All projects are evaluated on their potential to make a social as well as a financial return.

The Community Services Programme

The Community Services Programme (CSP) gives grants to community businesses that deliver services and create employment for people from disadvantaged groups. Funded by the Department of Social Protection and managed by Pobal, it supports some 425 community companies and co-operatives. 

The CSP works in communities where public and private-sector services are lacking, for example through geographical or social isolation, or because of demand deficits (i.e. where demands not being met by existing services).  It also aims to ensure that the benefits from public investment in community amenities are fully realised. 

Companies and co-operatives under contract with this programme must be not-for-profits, social enterprises or community businesses.  The CSP works on a social-enterprise model. This means that it does not fully fund contract holders (i.e. grant recipients), but requires that they generate revenue by charging fees or raising funds.  These enterprises remain responsible for their own budgets and financial and other liabilities.


ConnectIreland aims to create jobs, through foreign direct investment, by identifying companies outside of Ireland who are considering expanding internationally, from leads generated by its connections to the 70m Irish Diaspora.

Community Finance Ireland

Community Finance (Ireland), formerly UCIT (Ireland), is a Charity which provides loans exclusively to other third sector organisations such as community groups, charities, sports clubs and social enterprises in the Republic of Ireland.

The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland fosters the growth and commercial strength of the design and craft industry in Ireland, stimulating innovation and competitiveness

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), which is headquartered in Kilkenny, is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness.

Its aim is to promote and stimulate the creative and commercial potential of Irish design and craft and to work in collaboration with strategic partners in the ongoing development and growth of the sector.

It provides a range of programmes, supports and services for designers and craftspeople, learners and teachers, retailers and galleristsshoppers and collectorsmedia and partner organisations in order to raise the standard and profile of Irish design and craft.

Dublin Business Innovation Centre

Dublin Business Innovation Centre (Dublin BIC) is a public-private business support organisation.  It works with state agencies and private sector investors to support entrepreneurs as they build the next generation of successful Irish businesses.

It aims to develop investor ready companies and providing access to funding, Dublin BIC also advises companies on business planning and development; provides best in market incubation space; and creates platforms for entrepreneurs to develop their skills and networks.

Dublin BIC combines EU and Government funding via Enterprise Ireland and private funding and support through private and angel investors.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. Enterprise Ireland works in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales on global markets in this way supporting sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.

Enterprise Europe Network

The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with international ambitions.

The Network helps ambitious SMEs innovate and grow internationally. It provides international business expertise with local knowledge across a range of targeted services:

 – Partnership

 – Advisory 

 – Innovation support


LEADER is a European Community Initiative for assisting rural communities in improving the quality of life and economic prosperity in their local area.  It is a community-led approach to local development funded through Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014 -2020 (the Programme). It is funded under Priority 6 of the Programme, which promotes social inclusion, poverty reduction and the economic development of rural areas.  The decisions are made by local people about their own areas based on the premise that they are the ones who know best what their local area needs and what projects will best fill that need. The aim of the Leader approach is to increase the capacity of local rural community and business networks to build knowledge and skills, innovate and co-operate in order to tackle local development objectives.

LEADER supports locally identified initiatives (at local or sub-regional level) that seek to address locally identified needs and challenges. It is delivered by a network of Local Action Groups (or LAGs), which have selected to implement Local Development Strategies (LDSs or Strategies) for their respective sub-regional areas.

Each LAG has been allocated a rural development budget to enable them to pursue the strategic objective set out in the Local Rural Development Strategy they compiled for the area they represent.

Local Enterprise Office

Local Enterprise Offices provides advice, information and support to organisations in starting up or growing their business. With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer a wide range of experience, skills and services.

Local Enterprise Offices services are aimed at people interested in starting up a new business or already in business including entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, start-ups and small business looking to expand.

Microfinance Ireland

Microfinance Ireland (MFI), is a not-for-profit lender, established to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund.

Microfinance Ireland offers loan funding from €2,000 to €25,000 to Start-ups, newly established and growing micro-enterprises.  Applicants must have less than 10 employees, annual turnover of less than €2 million and a commercially viable business proposal. Funding is available for a broad range of business activities including working capital, start-up costs and stock/equipment purchase.


Skillnets actively supports and works with businesses in Ireland to address their current and future skills needs.  It 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 fund training networks in a range of sectors and/or regions around Ireland. Find a training network.

Social Enterprise Measure under the Dormant Accounts Fund

Funding is being provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Dormant Accounts Fund to assist innovative projects and programmes which are designed to counter economic and social disadvantage through the Social Enterprise Measure.  

The aim of this measure is to grow and develop a vibrant social enterprise sector which will create local, sustainable jobs in the area of social service provision for disadvantaged communities.  Funding is being provided to support social enterprises that provide services to, or employment opportunities for, disadvantaged people, particularly in rural areas.  

Organisations can apply for funding, which is managed by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development, to cover capital costs (e.g. machinery, specialised equipment, refurbishment costs and vehicles) and capacity building support costs.

Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme aims to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality by engaging with local communities. SICAP provides employment supports, training, personal development/capacity building and other supports for the harder to reach in the most disadvantaged areas in society. It is a locally accessible, frontline intervention, supporting disadvantaged communities.

The Department of Rural and Community Development has engaged Pobal to work on its behalf to manage and oversee the delivery of SICAP nationally.  More information about the programme can be found on the Pobal website (link is external).


Social Innovation Fund Ireland

Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) was founded in 2013 to foster the development of social innovations with a potential for transformative impact on critical social issues facing Ireland.

SIFI is designed to support the establishment and growth of social innovations with the potential for transformative impact on critical social issues facing Ireland, including unemployment, poverty and health.  SIFI’s role is to fill the gap by providing ‘smart money’ to enable the best social innovations to scale up in order to reach as many people as possible.


Solas is an agency of the Department of Education and Skills with responsibility for funding, planning and co-ordinating Further Education and Training (FET) in Ireland.  SOLAS’ functions are to manage, co-ordinate and support the delivery of this integrated Further Education and Training by the Education and Training Boards (ETBs); to monitor delivery and provide funding based on reliable, good quality data and positive outcomes; and to promote Further Education and Training provision that is relevant to individual learner needs and national skills needs. This includes the needs of business and future skills requirements.​​​​​​

South East Business Innovation Centre

South East BIC, a public private partnership, supports the generation and development of new innovative enterprises and assists existing SMEs to innovate and expand.

It provides high quality specialised business consultancy and active incubation. The organisation works closely in collaboration with other local, regional, national enterprise support agencies and has strong international connections, particularly in Europe, through its membership of the European BIC Network (EBN).

From its Waterford base, the team works throughout the counties of Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary and focuses largely on project evaluation and development, business modelling, planning and sourcing finance.

WestBIC (Business Innovation Centre)

WestBIC is the Official EU Business and Innovation Centre for Irelands Border, Midlands and Western Region. On a Public Private Partnership basis, WestBIC has already invested in making the global standard of innovation support available in the Region to start ups, early-stage SMEs and to our wider stakeholder networks.

Western Development Commission

The Western Development Commission (WDC) is a statutory body that was set up to promote both social and economic development in the Western Region (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare) by:

 – Ensuring that government policy is directed at improving the social and economic situation in the region.

 – Developing projects in tourism, industry, marine, renewable energy, technology and organic agri-food, and so on.

 – Operating the €32 million Western Investment Fund (WIF) to provide loans and equity to business and local communities in the West.  This Fund operates on a commercial basis and aims to become revolving, re-investing monies back into the Region.

The WDC is not an implementation agency and it depends on the participation of the public and private sector to implement and continue initiatives.

The WIF is divided broadly into three funds:

 – A Venture Capital Business Fund which provides loans and equity to high growth enterprises. It has already funded projects in areas such as biotechnology, medical devices, tourism infrastructure and software development.

 – The Strategic Investment Fund which targets flagship projects and initiatives that would have a major impact on the region, such as Knock Airport.

 – The Local Investment Fund provides loans to community enterprise groups and has invested in projects ranging from a children’s play area, to a company providing home services for the elderly and disabled, a waterworld project and a community enterprise centre.

Western Development Commission – SME Investment Fund

The SME Investment Fund provides equity investment and loan finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

SME provides funding across a range of sectors but in particular the following sectors:

 – CleanTech

 – Creative Industries

 – Food & Natural Resources

 – Information & Communications Technology

 – Manufacturing and Internationally Traded Services

 – MedTech & Life Sciences

 – Tourism

Western Development- Community Loan Fund

WDC’s Community Loan Fund has been designed specifically to offer community and not-for-profit groups in the Western Region access to capital in order to improve the socio-economic life of the region.

Funding is provided to a wide rate of projects which include, job creation initiatives including the provision of enterprise space, to health and wellbeing initiatives which improve the physical environment by providing social and recreational amenities or social care services.

Western Development Commission – Micro-Loan Fund for Creative Industries

The Micro-Loan Fund provides loan finance ranging from €5,000 to €25,000 to companies in 12 specified Creative Industries.  The term of these loans ranges from one to five years with an interest rate of the prevailing EU Reference Rate for Ireland.

The Northern and Western Regional Assembly

The main roles of the Northern & Western Regional Assembly are to:

 – Manage the BMW Regional Operational Programmes

 – Monitor the general impact of all EU and Irish exchequer-funded programmes in the Northern and Western region;

 – Promote the co-ordination of the provision of Public Services in the region; and

 – Ensure that national policies take regional issues into account.

Southern Regional Assembly

The main roles of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly are to:

 – Manage and monitor EU programmes of Assistance 

 – To co-ordinate, promote and support strategic planning and sustainable development of the region

 – To promote effective local government and public services in the region, in conjunction with the National Oversight and Audit Commission

 – To prepare and oversee the implementation of Regional Spatial & Economic Strategies (RSES).

Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly

The main roles of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly are to:

 – Implement the appropriate Regional Planning Guidelines operational within its geographical area.

 – Prepare, adopt and implement the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies.

 – Ensure constistency with RPG/RESES in relation to the Local Economic and Community Plans of the 12 constituent Local Authorities.

 – Participate on EU operational programme monitoring committees.

 – Identify, participate and co-ordinate certain EU projects.

 – Support the national delegation to the Committee of the regions.  

 – Support the work of the National Oversight and Audit Commission.