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How to apply for the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)

The STEP is an advantageous and relatively straightforward way for non-EEA entrepreneurs and business founders in the start-up space to gain the right to live in Ireland and outlines what is required for starting a business in Ireland as a foreigner.

It was quite often called an Ireland Entrepreneur Visa.

It is suitable for people with a strong entrepreneurial track record and significant financial backing who wish to start a business in the innovation area or to bring such a recently established business to Ireland.

The STEP offers one of the most secure and generous levels of immigration status available to foreign nationals in Ireland short of citizenship.  Family members of successful STEP applicants can avail of immediate family reunification with their own right to work, study or establish their own business in Ireland.

For all STEP applications, there are two key requirements:

  • The applicant must have secured funding of at least €50,000 for the proposed start-up. The entrepreneur must be able to clearly show they have this funding (bank statements are typical)
  • The proposed business must be considered a High Potential Start-up (HPSU). This requires engagement from Enterprise Ireland.

To satisfy the Evaluation Committee that the proposed business is a HPSU, your business plan should clearly establish that the business will:

  • Introduce a new or innovative product or service to international markets.
  • Be capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.
  • Be led by an experienced management team.
  • Be headquartered and controlled in Ireland.
  • Be less than six years old.

The key to a successful STEP application is a good business plan setting out a clear and evidenced vision for the innovative start-up proposal.  We normally work with existing businesses that are looking to relocate to Ireland.

Companies engaged in manufacturing, hi-tech, design or internationally traded services are especially suitable for this programme.

There are 4 application windows that are open for a week. These tend to be in January, June, August and October.

The Evaluation Committee meet after each round of applications to assess the applications and decisions are usually issued approximately 4 months after they are lodged.

To learn more about the STEP guidelines and requirements in detail, you can check this link.

Get in contact with us below if you are looking to apply for a STEP program.

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We’re looking forward to helping you in STEP programme.