Even though there is currently an increasing trend in online spending it is estimated that only 23% of small Irish businesses use eCommerce in any meaningful way. It is estimated that of all online purchases made in Ireland 70% are done in overseas markets.
There is now a need to encourage small Irish businesses to develop their digital presence to avoid missed opportunities. In order to support this goal, the National Digital Strategy aims to get an additional 2,000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015. To this end, the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) has launched a Trading Online Voucher Scheme and has teamed up with the Local Enterprise Offices to deliver this to Irish business at a local level.
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme offers small businesses the opportunity to develop their website or digital marketing strategy by availing of vouchers of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure.
- Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (Net of VAT), whichever is the lesser
- Voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense
- Own labour is not an eligible expense
- Third party costs only will be considered
- All third party/supplier invoices must contain proper business details (e.g. Tax and Business Registration details).
- Limited Trading Online presence
- Less than 10 employees
- Turnover less than €2m
- Applicant business must be registered and trading for at least 12 months
- Business must be located in the region of the local enterprise office to whom they are applying
- Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, trade associations and company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce are not eligible to participate in the scheme
- "Not for profit" and social entrepreneurship applicants unless they operate in a commercial domain
- Professional services specialising in IT type services who are already capable of trading online using existing in-house systems
- Conferences and Seminars
- Projects which are contrary to public policy
- Duplication of support for projects which would be eligible for assistance from other State Agencies of EU funded Operational Programmes
- Projects with employees in excess of 10 people
- Projects deemed to be capable of proceeding in any event without scheme assistance i.e. deadweight
- Projects essentially comprising importation and distribution
What the vouchers can be used for
- IT consultation
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- Implementing online payments or booking systems
- Purchase of internet related software
- Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 30% of approved Voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase)
- Developing an app (or multiplatform webpages)
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy i.e. Social media marketing
- Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity
What the vouchers cannot be used for
- Development of brochure websites
- Purchase of non-internet related software
- Anything other than online trading related activity
How To Apply
In order to apply for a Trading Online Voucher you must first attend an information session which will provide all the details as to how to apply and also how to best use and gain value from the voucher to support your trading online proposition.
Please contact us if you are interested in applying.