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Digital Transformation and Innovation in Ireland: Adapting to the 'New Normal'

17 Aug | By Smart MBS

Digital Transformation and Innovation in Ireland Adapting to the New Normal


As has been discussed in previous blogs, Ireland can be relied upon to be at the forefront in terms of digital initiatives and innovation. A digital revolution (in retail, as well as in other areas) was already well underway before COVID emerged as a transformative player on the world stage. However, the pandemic has accelerated the need for the smooth delivery of digital goods and services.

For many businesses, it has encouraged a review of the potential value-adding benefits of digitising existing workflows — and introducing automation where possible — to bring about numerous benefits, including stock and personnel management, improvements to the customer experience and sales, as well as reduced costs.

Support schemes

In Ireland, there are numerous support schemes in place to assist businesses with modernising their approaches, as well as with starting or expanding an existing venture.

Ireland offers the LeanStart, LeanPlus, and LeanTransform programmes through state-run agency Enterprise Ireland. These programmes offer grants of various sizes, covering up to 80 percent of eligible costs, up to a maximum grant of EUR5,000 in the case of LeanStart; and up to 50 percent of costs to a maximum grant level of EUR50,000, in the case of LeanPlus programme. These grants can help cover the cost of engaging experts.

Businesses looking to develop new products or substantially improve their existing services and offerings can take advantage of schemes like the Agile Development Fund, which is more suitable for smaller operations that are just beginning their research and development journey. This offers grants of between 25 percent and 50 percent of eligible costs, up to a maximum of EUR150,000.

Further, eligible businesses can secure funding from the Research, Development and Innovation Fund, which provides similar levels of grant support for businesses looking to find an innovative competitive advantage within their chosen market. Alternatively, the Business Innovation Fund provides higher levels of support for more established operations that are seeking to comprehensively overhaul their business processes.

Ireland's Local Enterprise Offices oversee initiatives such as the Trading Online voucher scheme, which is designed to help businesses with little or no online presence, fewer than 10 employees, and turnover of less than EUR2m to create or transform a business's digital footprint.

And, last but not least, as might be expected in Ireland, there are numerous government tax supports for innovative start-ups and businesses of all sizes, and for their investors and supporters. These include: the attractive 12.5 percent corporate tax rate; the Knowledge Box regime, which offers a 6.25 percent rate on qualifying income from intellectual property assets developed in Ireland; tax reliefs and credits; and reduced capital gains tax rates for investors in qualifying businesses, among others.


SMART MBS has the expertise to provide you with a range of services to support setting up your business or expanding into Ireland. We can tailor a cost efficient package based on any outsourced services that your business requires. To find out more, please download our Ebook here.

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