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Financial aid - what are the options?

Taking the step to becoming a franchisee is a long, difficult process pockmarked with major decisions and crucial choices.

Researching your franchise, knowing what the commitment is going to involve and coming through the franchisor's selection process is a tough, rigorous journey.

However, without the appropriate finance, taking that final leap is impossible. Here are eight options to consider when looking for financial aid to start up your franchise.


The banks

Most of the major banks in Ireland have departments well versed in dealing with franchises, and will have the requisite knowledge and expertise to assist.

Some actively encourage networking and interaction of entrepreneurs and people embarking on a start-up venture. AIBfor example run a start-up academy, a series of nights nationwide that bring people together to share information and build relationships.

For banks, franchising provides them with a tried and tested formula and they know it is usually a safer way for you to start your business. However, you still need to give yourself every chance of acquiring a loan and due preparation is essential.

Draw up a checklist of everything you need before meeting with the bank - assets, bank statements, identification etc - and make sure you have a clear and concise business plan to present them. 

Your franchisor can help you in that regard, either directly offering guidance in drawing up a business plan or introducing you to a specialist who can help you. 

It's always important to liaise a bank familiar with your industry. Ulster Bank has a strong tradition of supporting franchises and offers various loan and overdraft packages as well as any advice you need regarding the starting/funding/developing of your franchise.  

There are a range of loan options available to you, including: 

  • Short-term finance - business overdraft, business credit card. 
  • Medium-term finance - term loan, finance lease, hire purchase
  • Long-term finance - fixed asset loan, business/commercial mortgage, sale and leaseback agreement

Choosing the right type of loan really depends on your financial status, the amount you need and how you plan to use it.
Government funding grants 


Enterprise Ireland is there to help small or growing businesses and start-ups, with Local Enterprise Offices providing grants and repayable loans.

Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) can also provide you extra support and information on local authority regulations, planning, accessibility and environment issues, as well as:

  • Start-your-own-business training courses.
  • Market research information.
  • Business planning advice.
  • Links to experienced business people.

They are also a good link to Micro Finance Ireland, which are another loan option, providing small business loans at a reduced rate of interest.
Women may receive funding from their LEO in the form of a priming grant

National Rural Network LEADER funding could be available to you in you're looking to set up in a rural area. Funding goes from €2,000 up to €20,000. Contact your local LEADER company and outline your plans to the project officer to see it it is suitably qualified for a grant.

Back to Work Enterprise allowance 

If you have been getting either jobseeker's allowance for at least 12 months you may qualify for the Back to Work Enterpriseallowance scheme. It allows you to keep a percentage of your social welfare payment for up to two years, while also providing financial support to help set up your business.

Some things that will not be covered - including building/premises rental costs, insurance (except public liability), purchase of any type of vehicle, stock-in-trade. 

However there are other benefits, such as fuel allowance, a medical card and differential rents. 


Family & friends


Those who know you best will also know your strengths and qualities and may be willing to provide you with the financial assistance you need to start your franchise. 

A legally binding agreement that specifies the details of the loan, responsibilities of both parties and repayment structure should be laid to avoid any personal or legal complications. 

From your franchisor 

Not every franchisor offers financing, but some do, particularly the bigger ones, so it's worth exploring if the option is available to you. Some will assist with all or part of the financing, or alternatively help you to find a suitable lender.

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