Friday 17 January 2014

Hot Topic #1: Short Term Enterprise Allowance - Financial Support

Many people may be put off working full time on their craft business. But with some savings and a bit of knowledge of financial facilities available, your dreams can be within reach!

How I quit my job and got supplemented support:
  1. Applied for the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance,
  2. Prepared a detailed business plan,
  3. Applied for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance with the Tolka Partnership.
          Weekly allowance approved!

After I left my job, I knew that I wanted to set up my own business. This will be a slow process as there is a lot of set up work and I will not be bringing in much money within the first couple of months.

To overcome the lack of income in the early stages of my set-up, I applied for the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) otherwise known as the dole or scratcher. This is a fund for people who are unemployed. Until I've created business viable products, I considered myself to be an unemployed person pursuing on a VERY expensive hobby/idea. On that basis, it is fair for me to avail of this fund.

Recently I completed my online shop set up on Etsy, and made some sales, so it was no longer fair for me to be on an unemployment allowance. I have since successfully applied for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA). This pays the same as the BTWEA and for the same nine month period, but rather than coming out of a pot for unemployed people, it is for start up entrepreneurs. 

Benefits of STEA over BTWEA
  • Money is paid straight into your bank account.
  • No need to sign-in anymore at the unemployment office.
  • No need to attend meetings with case worker.
Note: You cannot get the STEA grant if you are registered as a sole trader.

The resources I mentioned are only available in Ireland. But there should be support in most countries. Remember, Google is your best friend for information!

For full information on the STEA & BTWEA > Here 
Application for STEA form >
How to apply for STEA:
- If you live in an area covered by a local development company (xls) (LDC), apply to the Enterprise Officer.
- If you do not live in an LDC area, apply to the Jobs Facilitator in your social welfare local office.


  1. Hi, thank you for the info. I am currently on Social welfare but intend to open an e-shop. Can I also apply for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance? Would it be considered as businesses entitled for this scheme. Thank you very much. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Regards

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    You may be eligible, provided that you have not yet registered as a sole trader. To apply, you will need to complete this form

    If you are serious about working full time on your e-shop then you should definitely apply. For details visit

    If you have have been on social welfare for 12 months, then you need to apply for the BTWEA.

    There are several meetings involved and you need to show that you are committed to the business and have a viable business plan. Then it should be plain sailings from there.

    I am currently on the STEA and it is such a huge help! As with all businesses there is a period of time where you will be bringing in little to no money, and this allowance helps pay for necessities. It's not a lot, but it is honestly sufficient.

    Hope this helps :)