What is the back to work enterprise allowance (BTWEA)?


The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (“BTWEA”) is provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is designed to encourage the long-term unemployed to take up self-employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a reducing portion of their social welfare payment, plus secondary benefits in certain circumstances, over two years.


In a nutshell…


In English, this means you can start your own business and still receive social welfare payments for up to 2 years! You can receive 100% in first year and 75% in second year.

The objective of the scheme is to support the unemployed to commence self-employment in order to generate new enterprises and increase employment.




You can get BTWEA if you are:

  1. setting up as self-employed in a new business approved in advance by a DEASP Case Officer and a LDC (Local Development Company).
  2. Receiving social welfare on any of the below schemes continuously for 9 months (234 days)
  • Jobseeker’s Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Transitional payment (JST)
  • One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)
  • Blind Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance (full rate) – having stopped caring duties
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance
  • Farm Assist – the new business cannot be in relation to the farm holding or the continuation of an existing business
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Widow’s/Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Qualifying from Illness Benefit: 3 out of last 5 years in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment
  • Combination of OFP/JST/JA continuously for 9 months
  • Qualified Adult of someone getting BTWEA already


Qualified Candidates


You can only get an Enterprise Support Grant (“ESG”) if you have been approved for the BTWEA. The business plan you submit as part of your application for the scheme must set out the rationale and requirement for financial support. The ESG can pay a total of €2,500 in any 24-month period. You must be able to make a matching contribution of at least 10% to access grant support. You need to provide documentary evidence of the costs (quotations from at least 2 suppliers or, if a single supplier, the reasons for choosing a single supplier).

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Mark Sweetman, ACA

Mark Sweetman, ACA

As a Chartered Accountant I've built my experience working within the SaaS and digital technology industries, growing early-stage businesses from the inside. I help digital entrepreneurs understand their companies and ensure they have all the tools they require to succeed and thrive. I love adopting new tech solutions and making use of these to increase efficiency within our clients' businesses.