Local Enterprise Office Waterford– business supports in the fight against COVID-19

While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a wave of extraordinary challenges to businesses Local Enterprise Office is working in tandem with the Irish Government and state agencies, to support individuals and businesses affected by the crisis and to help them get back to work safely.

The network of Local Enterprise Offices has introduced support services such as specialist mentoring and online trading vouchers to help businesses on the road to recovery.

Local Enterprise Office Waterford moved the majority ofits training programmes,workshops and networking online, making them free and as accessible as possible for those working remotely.  A dedicated mentor panel was also established to provide free expert advice and guidance in the areas of HR, IT and finance and is available to any local business, regardless of its scale or sector, which needs assistance in accessing support.

Local businesses in Waterford can apply for a Trading Online Voucher of up to €2,500, with co-funding of 90% from Local Enterprise Office Waterford.The voucher can be used to help add payment options to websites, along with subscriptions to low-cost online retailing platform solutions, boost sales and help gain exposure in new markets.

A substantial reduction in interest rates on Microfinance Ireland loans was also announced, bringing the rate down to 4.5%, where applications are made through Local Enterprise Office Waterford.  COVID-19 Business Loans of up to €50,000 are available from Microfinance Ireland with no repayments and no interest charged in the first six months, for eligible businesses that employ less than 10 people.

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Waterford said, that the introduction of new support packages and the significant step-up in existing packages are designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on small to medium size enterprises.

“Our first priority was the introduction of support schemes to help businesses make informed decisions on the immediate measures needed to continue to trade, manage cashflow and protect staff.”

“For many business owners there is huge relief in knowing that they are not alone and a virtual consultation with one of our IT, HR or finance mentors can signpost them towards the agency support packages that are available, pertaining to own particular situation.”

“A further expansion of some of the key support packages, such as the Trading Online Voucher, gives businesses the option of going online.  With the closure of all non-essential bricks-and-mortar stores and restrictions in movement, consumers are turning to online, so now is the time to embrace this digital world and innovate your business to succeed.”

The Trading online voucher (TOV) takes the form of matched funding where you can now claim up to 90% (maximum amount payable €2,500) of qualifying spend on developing an ecommerce website for your business.  If your business has availed of a Trading Online Voucher in the past, you can now reapply for a second voucher to upgrade your site.

Richie added, “In addition, if your business needs access to finance, applying for microfinance loans through Local Enterprise Office Waterford will secure the lowest available rate and you will get valuable assistance in the application process and free one-to-one mentoring along the way.”

Now that there is a gradual easing of restrictions, many businesses are making preparations to return to work safely and implement measures to keep their customers and staff safe. Local Enterprise Office Waterford is offering free consultations with a Health and Safety mentor to advise on the Government’s Return to Work Safely protocols, which will be crucial in continuing the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

To find out more about the supports available from Local Enterprise Office Waterford to help your business respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, call 0761 102 905  

Local Enterprise Office Waterford – helping your business on the road to recovery