Starting a business when unemployed

Finding a business idea

At the heart of any successful business is a good idea. Fulfilling a need for a product or service that is not currently available or offering something new and unique provides an ideal platform for starting a new business.

The Invest NI Business Information Centre has a wide range of resources to help you carry out market research. Find out more about Invest NI’s Business Information Centre.

If you don't have a definite idea yet you can use our Business idea profiles to help you explore the type of business you may be interested in starting. There are hundreds of profiles to choose from. They're free and each one provides an overview of what you can expect when starting or running your chosen business.

When considering starting a business many unemployed find it helpful to identify any unfilled local demand. Being able to meet a local demand for a product or service that is not currently being met may offer an opportunity to start a new business venture.

Also by utilising any existing skills, expertise or areas of interest you may have will increase your chances of success and make it easier for you to make the transition from unemployment to self-employment.

Alternatively, you can become a business owner by buying a business. This can be a more secure way of starting out in business and a good way of getting the skills of running a business without going it alone - see buy a franchise.