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Trading Online Voucher Scheme for Small Irish Businesses

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 & Natural Resources (DCENR) has launched a Trading Online Voucher Programme and has teamed up with the Local Enterprise Offices to deliver this to Irish business.

Those wishing to avail of a voucher, must attend an obligatory Information seminar.  At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the voucher.

The application process for the Vouchers will be a competitive process.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (exclusive 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)

The vouchers are targeted at businesses with the following profile:

  • Limited Online Trading 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 one of the pilot areas under this phase of the scheme

Ineligible Projects

  • 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 innovation voucher initiative
  • 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 system;
  • 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

Trading Online Voucher - Application Form.docx (size 413.7 KB)

 

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