I am looking at some options for eventually starting a small business in Ireland (several years from now, I'm at a very early stage).

In Germany, from what I understand, there is an entity type called a UG. It is smaller than a GmbH and requires less work/money to stay in compliant operation, but it's larger than a sole proprietorship and allows for both protection of personal assets and future growth. From what I understand, many people find UG entities good for small businesses -- think of a few employees, with the possibility to expand to a few dozen.

Is there an equivalent entity type in Ireland?

  • If you business is big enough to have even a single employee you probably want a GmbH. A UG is for something like 'I sell 100$ worth of stuff on ebay per month'.
    – quarague
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 8:01

1 Answer 1


You are likely looking for a private company limited by shares (Ltd).

The German UG and GmbH are certain kinds of limited companies. Here, "limited" means that liability is limited to the company's capital, thus protecting the company's owners. This is in contrast to a sole proprietor, who is liable with all their assets. In order to protect customers and business partners, German law expects the limited company (GmbH) to have a capital of at least EUR 25.000. The UG is a baby-GmbH, with equivalent bureaucracy requirements and similar liability protection, but requiring only a peppercorn as starting capital (at least EUR 1, typically at least a few hundreds so that it can actually start operations). The UG will however eventually convert to a GmbH because 25% of profits must be accumulated until the GmbH starting capital is reached.

Irish Ltds do not have comparable minimal capital requirements, though public companies (PLCs) do. Ireland alternatively allows liability to be limited by a guarantee rather than having to invest money up front for shares.

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