Scheme to get SMEs trading online receives €14.2m funding boost

9 Jun 2020

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Following a surge in demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme for SMEs will be expanded.

The Government has announced an expansion of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme following “unprecedented demand” from businesses seeking to get online quickly due to restrictions put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme will receive an additional €14.2m in funding after Local Enterprise Offices said they had received three years’ worth of applications in three months. This comes after a previous expansion of the scheme in early April, and brings the total budget to almost €20m in 2020.

Under the scheme, SMEs and start-ups with 1o employees or less can claim up to €5,000 in two grants worth €2,500 each. This can be put towards training and advice to help businesses trade online, and facilitates subscriptions to low-cost online retailing platform solutions.

Included in the additional funding allocated for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is an allocation of €600,000 for Údarás na Gaeltachta to deliver the scheme in Gaeltacht areas.

7,700 vouchers this year

Speaking of the new funding, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “There has been unprecedented demand for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme since the outbreak of Covid-19.

“Online sales have been a lifeline to many SMEs during Covid-19 and we have seen major success stories of small businesses actually increasing their sales during the pandemic due to their online platform. We want to make sure that continues.”

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton, TD, added: “With this additional funding we will be able to provide approximately 7,700 vouchers this year to small businesses, compared to 1,200 last year.

“This funding will provide crucial support in these very challenging times. It will also ensure that enterprises are building the capacity now which will see them well positioned to take advantage of the digital transformation into the future, as more and more consumers take their business online.”

At the end of April, the Government also launched a €2m scheme to help retailers in Ireland with a physical store and more than 10 employees to boost their digital presence.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic