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How to Start a Business in Northern Ireland

Free start-up resources and useful local contacts.

Improve your chances of success!

How to Start a Business in Northern Ireland

Starting a business in Northern Ireland

If you are thinking about starting a business in Northern Ireland or would like to grow your existing business, we would love to help you.

Start Your Own Business in Northern Ireland contains resources and the information that will help give your venture the best chance of success. It also highlights organisations who offer friendly advice and the services that you are likely to need as a new startup or local business owner.

Grants | Networking groups | Business advice | Mentoring | Co-working spaces

Starting a business in Northern Ireland

Free Startup Resources

Getting it right from the start can help to prevent problems later.

To help you with this we have created a vast selection of resources and they are all completely free!

Business in Northern Ireland

Start a business in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is a fantastic place to set up and run a business... as long as it is the right business!

We have been working with start-ups in Northern Ireland for the past 20 years and while it is true that the economy has changed dramatically during that time, many of the key considerations have remained the same. The sad truth is that too many new businesses fail in the early stages and our hope is that we can play in a small part in reducing that number and help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls.

Find local help including business support organisations, local business networking groups and grants which are available in your area.

Welcome to the ultimate resource for aspiring entrepreneurs considering starting their own business in Northern Ireland!

This web page is designed to provide you with all the essential information, valuable resources, and local support networks you need to embark on your entrepreneurial journey successfully. Whether you have a groundbreaking idea, a unique skill set, or an unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit, Northern Ireland offers a wealth of opportunities and a thriving business ecosystem to help you turn your dreams into reality.

Northern Ireland, a region of the United Kingdom, is a land of rich heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. With a population of approximately 1.9 million people, Northern Ireland offers a dynamic market with diverse consumer needs and a supportive business environment. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in the region, and the government has implemented various initiatives to encourage and foster a culture of innovation and enterprise.

Demographically, Northern Ireland boasts a highly educated workforce, with a significant percentage of the population holding degrees or equivalent qualifications. The region's skilled labor pool offers a competitive advantage, providing businesses with access to a talented and motivated workforce. Furthermore, the cost of living and doing business in Northern Ireland is comparatively lower than many other regions in the UK, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their ventures.

To support entrepreneurs, Northern Ireland is home to several organisations and institutions dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, providing mentorship, guidance, and funding opportunities. These local organisations play a pivotal role in nurturing the startup ecosystem and empowering aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed. Here are some key organisations that can provide assistance:

  1. Invest Northern Ireland:

    As the region's economic development agency, Invest NI offers a wide range of support services for businesses. They provide financial assistance, market research, and guidance on accessing international markets. Visit their website at to explore the resources available.

  2. Enterprise Northern Ireland:

    This organisation is committed to supporting entrepreneurs by providing expert advice, training, and support. They offer assistance in areas such as business planning, marketing strategies, and access to finance. Their website,, offers valuable resources and information for starting and growing a business.

  3. Catalyst Inc:

    As Northern Ireland's leading science park, Catalyst Inc offers workspace, mentoring, and business support to high-growth potential startups. Their programs and initiatives are designed to nurture innovation and facilitate business growth. Find out more on their website at

  4. Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry:

    This influential business organisation provides networking opportunities, advocacy, and support for businesses of all sises. They offer valuable resources, events, and connections to help businesses thrive. Explore their website at to learn more.

  5. Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund:

    For entrepreneurs in need of accessible finance, the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund provides funding and support to small and medium-sised enterprises (SMEs) across various sectors. Their website,, offers more information on how to access their financial assistance.

By leveraging the resources and expertise of these organisations, you can gain valuable insights, access funding opportunities, and connect with like-minded individuals to propel your business forward.

Whether you are interested in technology startups, retail ventures, or service-based enterprises, Northern Ireland offers a supportive ecosystem that embraces innovation, resilience, and entrepreneurship. The purpose of this web page is to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the exciting journey of starting a business in Northern Ireland. From planning and funding to marketing and growth strategies, we aim to provide comprehensive guidance that will empower you to build a successful and sustainable business.

So, what are you waiting for? Explore the wealth of resources and opportunities available to you, and take the first steps towards realising your entrepreneurial aspirations in Northern Ireland!

FREE startup workshops

If you are thinking about starting a business, our FREE three-hour ONLINE workshop is definitely for you!

Open to everyone, our sole aim is to increase your chances of success. We do that by explaining:

The reality of running a business; the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them; which legal status is likely to be most suitable; funding, grants and managing your money; business planning and cashflow forecasting; finding and keeping customers.

Free startup guide

Start Your Own Business in 2021

Download the 2024 edition of our Free Start Your Own Business guide

An interactive step-by-step guide which also includes all of the most important subjects covered in an easy-to-read way with links to useful online articles and relevant contacts.

The idea of starting your own business can be incredibly exciting and who can blame you for being tempted?

However, the sad truth is that far too many new enterprises fail in the early stages. Our aim is to make sure that you don’t become one of them.

This guide explains the key start-up subjects in simple English.

There is also plenty of help available in the area and much of it is free - please do make the most of it.

Read more about what our Free guide contains and how you can download it.
Starting a business in Northern Ireland

Key Contacts in Northern Ireland

'You don't know what you don't know' is a phrase that is so applicable to starting a new business.

Northern Ireland is a great place for start-ups but your chances of success are dramatically improved if you make the most of the support that is available locally. Click on logos to visit their websites.


Enterprise Northern Ireland
If you are at start-up stage - which can extend from having a busines idea right through to £50k turnover and/or trading for less than 2 years - we have a range of suppport and advice services to get you started or helped into the growth and acceleration stage. Enterprise Northern Ireland manages the Exploring Enterprise 3 Programme, and are delivering the business start-up programme in many Council areas. Both programmes help those with a business idea take the first step - you can find further information on them in this section. We are also the representative body for the network of Local Enterprise Agencies, all of which offer quality business accommodation and advice services. So if you're not sure where or how to start, or you want to connect locally with your nearest Local Enterprise Agency, either click here or visit the blue navigation above to find out what's happening in your local council area ... and then we'd advise you make an appointment, pop by and have a look for yourself!


FSB Northern Ireland
FSB Northern Ireland is the local branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). It was formed in 1974 as the National Federation of Self Employed and represents the interests of small and medium-sized businesses locally and nationally. They offer a great package tailored to your needs if you are thinking about starting a business in the area. Contact: Mairaid McMahon Development Manager


Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) is an award winning, quality assured, customer focused membership organisation with over 230 years commitment to the Northern Ireland economy. It is a well-known network for business with a membership of 1,200 businesses representing over 100,000 employees. Address: 4-5 Donegall Square South , Belfast , BT1 5JA


NI Business Info is the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland., a free service offered by Invest Northern Ireland, is the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland. It contains essential information, support and services for you and your business


Causeway Enterprise Agency
Causeway Enterprise Agency Limited (CEA) is an independent, business support organisation dedicated to building a strong and sustainable local economy by helping both new and established small businesses in the Coleraine area to maximise their potential.

Start-up articles

100's of free startup articles

We have created a collection of 100s of startup articles to help anyone with whatever stage they are on with their business journey. Hundreds of thousands of people have gone before you and we can learn from what they got right and avoid the things that have been proved not to work so well.

You can see the full list of 'articles' at: How to start a business