What is the short term enterprise allowance (STEA)?


The Short Term Enterprise Allowance (“STEA”) is provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is designed to give support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business.


How to qualify for it


To qualify you must be getting Jobseeker’s Benefit. There is no qualifying period, which means you do not need to have been getting Jobseeker’s Benefit for a certain period of time. However, you will not qualify if you are getting Jobseeker’s Benefit and working part-time.

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is paid instead of your Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 9 months. It ends when your entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit ends (that is at either 9 or 6 months).

In English, this means you can start your own business and still receive social welfare payments for up to 9 months! You will receive the same amount as your were receiving on Jobseeker’s Benefit for the same amount of time that you have left on that scheme.

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




To qualify for the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance you must be getting, or have an entitlement to, Jobseeker’s Benefit.

Your business plan must be approved in advance in writing by a Case Officer based in an Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or an Enterprise Officer in your local development company (also known as partnership company) (see ‘How to apply’ below).

Seasonal, temporary or part-time self-employment does not qualify for the STEA.

You must contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) immediately if your self-employment ends or you take up employment.

If you are unemployed when your entitlement to STEA ends you will not immediately re-qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit. However, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is a means-tested payment.

You can only get an Enterprise Support Grant (“ESG”) if you have been approved for the STEA. 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 €937. 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.