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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 believed that of online purchases made in Ireland, 70% 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 more Irish businesses online. To this end, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment offers the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, delivered through the Local Enterprise Offices.

Those wishing to avail of a voucher must attend an obligatory Information Seminar. These are currently taking place online. At the 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 and will be based on the funds allocated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

There is no closing date for applications to this scheme at present.

TRADING ONLINE VOUCHER SCHEME 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)

TRADING ONLINE 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 6 months
  • Business must be located in the area covered by this phase of the scheme, i.e. your business must operate in Co. Tipperary

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
  • Categories of business excluded from the Trading Online Voucher Scheme as defined by their NACE code. Please see Appendix 1 of the complete application form for the list of categories of business excluded from the Trading Online Voucher Scheme as defined by their NACE code. (link to the full terms and conditions, including NACE codes here

WHAT TRADING ONLINE 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 multi-platform web pages)
  • Implementing a digital marketing strategy, i.e. social media marketing
  • Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy
  • Purchase of professional photography (this expenditure cannot make up any more than 80% of all other approved voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase)
  • Training/skills development, specifically to establish and manage an online trading activity

WHAT TRADING ONLINE VOUCHERS CANNOT BE USED FOR:

  • Development of brochure websites
  • Purchase of non-internet related software
  • Anything other than online trading related activity

THE APPLICATION PROCESS:

  • Apply online through our website by clicking the "Apply here" link below
  • Complete your application form by answering all questions
  • Upload the required three quotations
  • Verify your signature (by following the directions given) and submit your application
  • If you have not already attended an information webinar, book your place and forward the booking confirmation to Tipperary Local Enterprise Office.

Once you have completed the Application Process: You will receive an automated email response confirming that you have submitted your completed application. If you do not receive this automated confirmation, this means that your application has not been submitted and is still at the draft stage and you must log into your account and complete the process as outlined above.

After your grant application has been successfully submitted, Tipperary Local Enterprise Office will register you as a grant applicant and send an acknowledgement letter to the email address on your application form.

EVALUATION:

  • Evaluation of fully complete applications (application form must be fully completed with written quotes attached, information seminar must be already attended or future date booked) will be conducted by the Evaluations and Approvals Committee of LEO Tipperary, based on the following criteria: Project potential | Value added potential | Export potential | Job creation potential | Financial sustainability | Benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • If your application is successful, you will receive an email* containing a Letter of Offer, outlining the amount you have been approved for, and all relevant terms and conditions. From the date on the Letter of Offer, you will have 6 months to complete your website, after which time you must submit all required documentation (i.e. invoices, receipts, proof of payment, Tax Clearance Certificate etc. as outlined in your Letter of Offer) in order to claim your grant.
*Please note that all correspondence is by email, using the email address that you provide on your application form. It is important that you check your junk /spam folder soon after your submit your application as your letter of acknowledgment may go to your junk folder. Once you move this to your inbox  / mark as "not junk", your email account should recognise that any future correspondence from us is safe to deliver to your inbox. If your application is successful, your Letter of Offer will be sent to you by email in the weeks after your application is submitted.

View further information on the Trading Online Voucher Scheme

 Apply here

Points to Note:

  • Successful grant recipients will pay their web developer in full, under whatever terms and conditions discussed. When the website is complete and you have paid in full, you then send in the required claim documents to the LEO, who will process these documents and instruct Tipperary County Council's Accounts Department to pay the grant directly into your bank account in their next payment run. It is imperative that you submit all the required documents, as outlined in the grant claim form that you receive with your Letter of Offer.
  • Your Letter of Offer states the maximum amount that LEO Tipperary will award to you to complete your website; this amount is calculated based on the predicted eligible cost information that you submitted in your application form, i.e. the quote from the web developer you have chosen to work with. However, your grant is paid based on the actual eligible costs - i.e. when the website is complete, if the actual costs that you pay are less than those predicted in your quote, your grant will be 50% of the actual costs. (to a maximum amount of €2,500)
  • Photography and advertising can be included in the Trading Online Voucher Scheme but they are not eligible for 50% funding - if you intend to include these costs in your application, it is advisable to speak to the Information Webinar tutor or LEO staff first, so that you are clear on how much can be awarded towards these costs. 
  • VAT is not an eligible cost; in simple terms this means that if you pay €1,000 + VAT for your website, the grant paid to you by the LEO would be €500. It is essential that your web developer supplies invoices that clearly show VAT, even if there is 0% VAT charged.

CLAIMING YOUR GRANT:

When you have paid your web developer in full and your website is fully complete, you can claim your grant from the Local Enterprise Office by sending them the following documents:

  • Your Tax Clearance Cert - a grant cannot be paid unless you supply this evidence of your tax compliance
  • All invoices from your supplier(s), clearly showing the VAT breakdown, even if it is 0%
  • All proof of payment - i.e. your bank statement that clearly shows the payment going from your account to your supplier(s), whether by EFT or cheque
  • Receipt(s) from your supplier(s)
  • Certificate / declaration from your supplier(s) as included in your Letter of Offer
  • Summary of the work complete and how it will impact on your business

All of the above documentation is required in order to process your grant claim. Failure to supply any one of the above will result in your payment being delayed.

View / download the complete Trading Online Voucher Scheme application form here