In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, establishing a robust online presence is essential for the success and growth of any business. Recognizing the significance of this digital transformation, the Government of Ireland has introduced the Trading Online Voucher Scheme as part of the National Digital Strategy.
This transformative initiative aims to empower small businesses by providing them with financial assistance of up to €2,500, coupled with valuable training and advice, to help them harness the potential of online trading, boost sales, and access new markets. By participating in this groundbreaking scheme, businesses can significantly reduce the financial burden associated with developing their online trading capacity, making it an affordable and accessible investment for small enterprises throughout the country.
The Benefits of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme offers an array of advantages for small businesses seeking to establish or enhance their online presence. One of its key benefits is the financial assistance it provides, with grants of up to €2,500 available. This funding, when matched with a co-funding contribution of 50% from the business, substantially alleviates the financial strain associated with developing an e-commerce website or implementing digital marketing strategies.
However, the scheme’s benefits extend beyond financial support. Participating businesses also gain access to invaluable training and guidance from their local enterprise office, playing a pivotal role in delivering this initiative. The comprehensive training sessions cover diverse topics, including website development, digital marketing, social media for business, and search engine optimization.
Equipping businesses with essential knowledge and skills empowers them to make informed decisions about their online trading options and select strategies tailored to their unique needs.
Expanding Online Capabilities
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme not only supports businesses in establishing an online presence but also fosters growth and innovation in their digital operations. Companies that have previously received a voucher are eligible to apply for a second voucher to implement necessary upgrades. This enables businesses to stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape and enhance their customers’ online experience.
The grant can be utilized in various impactful ways, such as integrating payment facilities or booking systems into the website, developing customer-centric applications, or subscribing to low-cost online retail platform solutions. These valuable resources empower businesses to quickly establish a robust online retailing presence, expanding their reach to a broader customer base and driving significant sales growth.
To qualify for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, businesses must meet specific criteria set by the scheme administrators. The vouchers primarily target businesses with limited or no e-commerce presence, comprising 10 or fewer employees and a turnover of less than €2 million. Additionally, the applicant business must have a clear record of trading for a minimum of 6 months. Crucially, the applicant business must be located within the jurisdiction of the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) to whom they submit their application.
Businesses that have previously received the Trading Online Voucher can also apply for a second voucher. However, it is essential to complete the final claim for the first voucher before seeking the second one. This ensures that businesses fully utilize the benefits of the initial grant before availing additional support.
How to Apply
Applying for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is a straightforward process, designed to facilitate ease and accessibility for businesses. To get started, businesses need to contact their local enterprise office, which will guide them through the application procedure. The LEOs play a crucial role in accepting and reviewing applications from businesses within their jurisdiction.
The application process typically involves providing essential information about the business, including its trading history, current e-commerce presence (if any), and the desired areas of improvement. The LEOs meticulously review the applications, carefully assessing their viability based on the business’s potential to leverage online trading and the proposed strategies for improvement. Once approved, businesses receive their voucher, unlocking a world of opportunities to enhance their digital presence and transform their online capabilities.
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is a game-changing initiative designed to empower small businesses in Ireland and drive their success in the digital age. With unparalleled financial assistance, expert training, and invaluable guidance provided by the scheme, businesses can embrace the transformative power of online trading and elevate their online presence to unprecedented heights.
This visionary scheme not only promotes economic growth and resilience but also positions Irish businesses at the forefront of the digital revolution. As entrepreneurs and enterprises across the country embrace the possibilities offered by the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, they embark on a journey of innovation, growth, and enhanced customer experiences in the dynamic world of e-commerce. By capitalizing on this unique opportunity, Irish businesses can pave the way for a prosperous and thriving future in the ever-expanding digital landscape.
FROM THE LEO OWN WEBPAGE
The Trading Online Grant (TOV) Scheme assists small businesses to trade online. Eligible businesses can apply for a voucher to invest in developing their eCommerce capability, of up to €2,500.
- TOV match-funding is 50%
- LEO will only accept online TOV applications following attendance at a mandatory information webinar. Further instructions are below.
- If you have previously availed of the Trading Online Grant Scheme, you can reapply to further improve your online trading capability.
- 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).
- Limited or no e-commerce presence
- no more than 10 employees;
- less than €2m in turnover;
- be trading for at least 6 months and
- be located in Fingal
- Ineligible categories of businesses. Please read and confirm if you are excluded from applying
- 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 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 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 web pages)
- 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 online trading activity
What the vouchers cannot be used for
- Development of brochure websites (i.e websites with no e-commerce facility)
- Purchase of non-internet-related software
- Anything other than online trading-related activity