The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE) has opened applications for a further round of the Online Retail Scheme, which offers 80% funding for eligible projects up to a maximum grant of €40,000.

The scheme was originally announced last year “in response to the Covid-19 crisis and the urgent need for retail companies to achieve a step change in online capability”. Applicant companies must have 10 or more full-time employees. Qualifiying projects must have a minimum budget of €12,500 (grant of €10,000). The scheme is administered by Entperprise Ireland and the terms and conditions are outlined on their site.

“The purpose of this fund is to enable Irish-owned retailers to enhance their digital capability and to develop a more competitive online offer that will enable an increase in their customer base and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace, both online and offline.

“Typical elements involved in developing a sophisticated and transactional online presence include research, consultancy costs for strategy development, implementation and training.”

The latest call for applications opened on 4 May and will close on Tuesday 25 May at 12pm.

“Due to a high level of interest strict adherence will be given to the deadline for receipt of applications together with statutory accounts.”

Enterprise Ireland works to promote employment in companies that export, but the scheme does not require applicants to be already engaged in international trade. However, the evaluation scoring criteria for applications assigns a 20% weighting for “Ambition to internationalise the business”.

Trading Online Vouchers

Smaller, domestic businesses with up to 10 employees can apply to their Local Enterprise Office (LEO) for a Trading Online Voucher. TOVs offer “financial assistance of up to €2,500 with co-funding of 50% from the business along with training and advice to help your business trade online”. Previous applicants may apply for a second TOV, provided they have submitted their final claim for their first voucher. 

The LEOs are also providing a range of training and information events to help SMEs meet the twin challenges of Covid 19 and Brexit.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

SMEs in the Gaeltacht can avail of the Online Trading Scheme 2021, operated by Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tá maoiniú €150,000 fógartha don Scéim Trádála ar Líne 2021.

The Údarás scheme is similar to Trading Online Vouchers, with similar conditions. However while some education, arts and social enterprises are ineligible for TOV support, these will be considered on an exceptional basis under the Gaeltacht scheme.

“Application will be accepted, on an exceptional basis in the 2021 scheme, from Gaeltacht firms in the education, community education, language education and arts firms as they are central to Údarás na Gaeltachta’s development programme.

“Applications will be accepted, on an exceptional basis in the 2021 scheme, from Gaeltacht social enterprises and from firms from the Gaeltacht community development sector (including those with a charitable status) as long as the application has a commercial basis.”

Prospective applicants in these sectors are advised to contact their local Údarás na Gaeltachta office to confirm eligibility, in advance of making an application.

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