Even though there is currently an increasing trend in online spending, it is estimated that only 23% of small Irish businesses use e-commerce in any meaningful way; and that of all the online purchases made in Ireland, 70% are related to purchases from overseas markets.
There is now a need to encourage small Irish businesses to develop their digital presence to avoid missing significant commercial 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 an Online Trading Voucher Scheme and has teamed up with with Local Enterprise Offices to deliver this Scheme to Irish businesses at local level.
The Online Trading 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 (net of VAT).
- Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (net of VAT)
- Voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense
- 'Own Labour' is not an eligible expense
- Only 'third-party' costs will be considered
- All 'third party'/supplier Invoices must contain comprehensive business details, incl. Tax & Business registration information or proof that the supplier is a registered business in the territory in which the supplier is located
- The vouchers are targeted at businesses with the following profile:
- Limited Online Trading presence;
- 10 or less employees;
- Turnover less than €2m;
- Applicant business must be trading for at least 12 months;
- Business must be located in the area covered by this phase of the scheme i.e. within the remit of the participating LEOs.
- 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.
- Accommodation providers due to the numbers operating in this sector. It is expected that only exceptional applications in the tourism sector would be approved. The applicant would have to demonstrate unique or innovative perspective.
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);
- Development of a digital marketing strategy;
- Implementing a digital marketing 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
Contact us for an application form.