Unlock Ireland

Start or Grow Your Business in Europe

Entrepreneurship in Ireland via the STEP programme

Why start a business in Ireland?

Most global corporations use Ireland as their Europe base due to its unique advantages. Entrepreneurs can leverage the same benefits as Facebook, Huawei and Google when entering the European market, ranging from the innovative environment over tax benefits to the steady supply of highly qualified talent. We've compiled five reasons that make Entrepreneurship in Ireland via the STEP programme attractive.

Ireland is home to the EU headquarters of most globally leading tech companies and offers a thriving ecosystem for innovative startups. Venture capital structures are well-developed and over 280 innovation hubs facilitate the development of new product and service ideas. This makes the country a top destination for high-tech entrepreneurs and those with a related.

Ireland’s common law system suits other English-speaking countries, such as the US and Canada, India and regions such as Hong Kong. Strong IP protection laws make the country an ideal base to secure rights in Europe and beyond.

Ireland's tax regime is designed to be competitive and to facilitate innovation and enterprise. Ireland’s taxation rate for corporations is 12.5%, which is the second-lowest in the EU and it is a key feature of its economic policy.

Ireland has Europe’s highest population share with a tertiary degree, according to the OECD. The country’s pharma and tech talent pool has been luring investments from Huawei Technologies and Wuxi Pharmaceuticals. Entrepreneurs can leverage this advantage when starting their business.

Entrepreneurs starting a business in Ireland can obtain Irish residency through the STEP programme. This is an attractive option due to the country’s world-class education system, high quality of life and English-speaking population.

Entrepreneurship in Ireland

Option for Residency with the STEP programme

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) is an attractive option to obtain Irish residency for entrepreneurs with an innovative business idea.

Successful STEP applicants and their nominated family members are granted residence in Ireland for up to 5 years, this can be renewed indefinitely and is comparable to Permanent Residency in other countries. If applicants decide to reside in Ireland on a full-time basis they will be on a pathway towards full Citizenship and obtaining an Irish passport.

There are three key requirements to be accepted for STEP:

Innovative Business Plan

Qualification as “High Potential Start-Up”

Evidence of Good Character

Demonstration of lawful behavior in home country

Capital Commitment

Minimum commitment of €50,000

Download the STEP Guide

Get a comprehensive overview of your investment options and how you can meet the requirements for acceptance to STEP.

How Unlock Ireland Can Help

Our Service Offering for Entrepreneurs

Market Research

We analyze specific Industries in Ireland and Europe to provide a clear overview of opportunities and challenges.

Strategy & Planning

We work with you to develop a clear entry- or expansion strategy based on your existing competitive advantage and the European market environment.

Partnering / M&A

Find a complementary partner in Ireland or the rest of Europe to execute your strategy. We also support you to find M&A targets.


We ensure that your Irish company is set up rapidly, Including all auxiliary topics like bank account or government registrations.

Finance & Legal

We connect your with the right accountant and legal form who will ensure compliance to local law and protect your IP.


We can support you for all key tasks when you start your Irish business: hiring, sales, engineering, logistics etc.

Alternative: Invest in Irish Ventures

Invest in European high-growth opportunities

High-tech start-ups
Funding the future

Ireland is well-known for its highly developed startup ecosystem, with more venture funding than per capita any other European country. In 2020, Irish startups have received €1.1 billion of venture- and growth capital.

Ireland is home to over 2.300 start-ups and 280 innovation hubs. Unlock Ireland is in regular contact with many of the leading venture capital firms to identify and structure high-potential deals for foreign investors.

Horse Racing
Building on a long tradition

The Irish bloodstock breeding and racing industry is of major economic significance to Ireland, contributing close to €2 billion per year to the economy. The Irish Government is hugely supportive of the sector and realises the importance of the industry to the Irish economy.

There is a favourable tax structure, from acquisitions straight through to the running and management of a stud farm, with less onerous employment laws than other countries.

Unlock Ireland has extensive contacts to leading stud farms and connects potential horse buyers to this network.

Schedule Your Consultation Call

Speak with our expert advisors to find out more about Ireland and specific investment opportunities.

Our Partners