Whether you like it or not, the internet has become our most used resource for information about starting up and running a business. I started my career in Ireland as an online marketer so I've always had my eye on what sites provide the best information -- for my own use and for our clients; and I am happy to see that the quality of the sites out there has improved greatly from when I started here, nearly 20 years ago!
In this post I share with you the online resources I use the most in my day to day work helping people start up and grow their businesses in Ireland.
Even if you are using a professional firm, like ourselves, to provide advice and assistance; these online resources will provide you with a base of knowledge and resources to refer to on an ongoing basis.
I've chosen these online resources, not only because the specific articles the links point to are relevant and informative for anyone starting a business in Ireland; but also because the entire websites are a wealth of information that is accurate and up to date. These are links you will want to bookmark and refer to over and over again.
16 Best Online Resources to Start a Business in Ireland
"The Companies Registration Office is the central repository of public statutory information on Irish companies and business names."
Whether you are setting up a limited company or working as a sole trader the CRO website is your first stop for starting up.
People often put off dealing with "the Revenue" but it's important to be informed about the process of registering for taxes and keeping up to date with the required filings and payments. This website is a huge resource for Irish businesses, whether you are a sole trader or director of your own limited company.
"As Ireland's Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Agency, IDA Ireland provides a range of support and services to help foreign companies quickly establish and develop their operations in Ireland." If you are a foreign business looking to move into Ireland, the IDA is a valiable resource of information and assistance. A relationship with the IDA will be helpful with many other agencies too.
"If you have a new business idea, you may qualify for funding and supports from Enterprise Ireland or from your Local Enterprise Office"
Enterprise Ireland is the state agency that provides supports for businesses at all levels. They support in funding; but also through training, networking opportunities and providing advice.
While Linkedin is online social network for business people around the world, it's a great resource to find business partners - clients, suppliers, referral sources, etc. - in Ireland through your existing network. The advanced search tool is excellent to locate prospective partners in specific locations, with specific backgrounds that will help you start up in Ireland.
If you are new in Ireland or have spent your life here; your local Chamber will provide you with ways to meet relevant contacts, attend events for networking and training and gives you access to national and international Chamber resources.
The businesswomen of Ireland are lucky to have an excellent national network that is well organised and attracts quality speakers and trainers to its events throughout the year. Like the other networking organisations on this list, they provide networking as well as training and support; with the focus of supporting women in business, but men are welcome at some of the events.
We partner with a number of virtual and serviced office space providers, but Regus offers an international network and has the largest range of offices available in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. They offer a variety of services for business at any stage - from a single person sharing a co-working space to large offices, with board rooms to rent by the hour. Certain packages allow you to use Regus facilities around the world as you travel.
The Citizens Information website is a great resource for anyone living in Ireland, providing information on a wide range of topics like consumer and employee rights; but they also include good information for businesses of all types and sizes.
IBEC is a group that represents over 40 different industry groups in Ireland and provides resources for its members on a national and international basis; from lobbying the goverment to providing services and advice on key issues for businesses, like employment law.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association also lobbies and provides advice and information for businesses, but focusing on those small to medium in size which they define as 50-250 employees and up to €50 million in turnover.
"...we share practical management guidelines, give sample wording for policies that you can use in your own business, and keep you updated on the latest developments in legislation that you must be compliant with."
I am not usually one to commend the banks for the information they provide online, but Bank of Ireland have done a great job providing this website and social networking channels that provide a wide range of articles with practical advice and news for businesses in Ireland.
This is the Central Statistics Office's online portal where you can access data gathered by the CSO over the years.
One of the greatest benefits of doing business in Ireland is the access to the EU. This government department works with businesses to ensure that Irish businesses make the most of the European Union's Services Directive, which "aims to create a free market for the services sector. Its purpose is to remove the legal and administrative barriers that can hinder businesses from offering their services in another country, and to encourage cross-border competition."
These two online-only news agencies started up when social media started to boom and people began to get more and more of their news online. Both provide high quality, up to date information on what's going on in the Irish business world, with SiliconRepublic having a focus on the technology sector.
Twitter: @TheJournal_ie and @siliconrepublic