Online Trading Vouchers
With the trend ever increasing towards online spending, it is estimated that only 23% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in e-commerce sales. For businesses employing less than ten people this percentage could be even lower. It is now believed that of online purchases made in Ireland that 70% of these are done in overseas markets.
There is now an urgency to ensure that businesses recognise that this is happening and that they are encouraged and supported to correctly respond to this digital reality.
In order to support this goal, the National Digital Strategy aims to get a further 2,000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015. To this end, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) has launched an Online Trading Voucher Programme and has teamed up with the Local Enterprise Offices to deliver this to Irish businesses.
The application process for the vouchers will be a competitive process.
- Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (inclusive 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 (eg, tax and business registration details).
The vouchers are targeted at businesses with the following profile:
- Limited online trading presence.
- Less than 10 employees.
- Turnover less than €2 million.
- Applicant business must be registered and trading for at least 12 months.
- Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, not for profit organisations, trade associations and company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce are not eligible to participate in the scheme.
- Professional services specialising in IT type services who are already capable of trading online using existing in-house systems;
- Conference 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, that is, deadweight.
- Projects essentially comprising importation and distribution.
What the vouchers cannot be used for
- Development of brochure websites.
- Purchase of non-internet related software.
- Anything other than online trading related activity.
- An evaluation committee will assess the applications and make recommendations for approval;
- A competitive process will be put in place to assist with the selection process. Selection of successful applications will be based on the following criteria:
- eligibility for scheme;
- value added potential;
- export potential;
- job creation potential;
- financial sustainability;
- Record decisions and report to the Local Enterprise Office approvals committee;
- Letter of offer with voucher to be sent out to successful applicant;
- Letter of offer signed, accepted and returned;
- Client has four months to complete the work as per their application;
- Client must attend pre-voucher application information seminar (yet to be arranged).
For further information on this scheme and an application form, please click on the links below:
Online Trading Vouchers Information
Online Trading Voucher Application Form