The Government wants to help more small businesses in Ireland develop their online capabilities over the coming year.
As Irish consumers turn further towards online shopping, the Government has announced it now has increased the resources available, including funding for small businesses to help improve their e-commerce capabilities.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD, and Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development Sean Canney, TD, today (10 January) said thousands more businesses can apply for supports.
Funding and support
A further 1,000 small/micro-businesses can apply for funding, with training resources allocated for 2,000 small companies. The supports fall under the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, which was established in 2014 under the National Digital Strategy.
Since it began, more than 5,000 businesses have received funding and 12,000 have benefited from training opportunities. Grant assistance of up to €2,500 is available, subject to match funding.
Are you eligible?
To qualify for the scheme, a business must have no more than 1o employees, less than €2m in turnover and be trading for at least 12 months. Interested companies must also be located in the region of the Local Enterprise Office to which they are applying.
According to Government figures, businesses that participated in the scheme reported a 20pc average increase in sales, with an 80pc spike in sales leads. After the scheme, three out of five businesses began exporting for the first time.
Keeping up with digital change
Bruton said: “There is a digital revolution taking place which is transforming how businesses are interacting with their customers. We must support small businesses in keeping pace with this rapidly changing environment.
“Irish consumers spent approximately €7.8bn online in 2018, with this figure expected to exceed €10bn by 2020. It is of critical importance that small Irish businesses are well positioned to take a share of this market.
“The Trading Online Voucher Scheme provides much-needed support in this regard and I am delighted that at least 3,000 small businesses will avail of it in 2019.”
His comments were echoed by Canney, who said: “Small/micro-business is the heart of the Irish economy. We need to ensure that those businesses are equipped to deal with the technological changes which are happening.
“This support scheme is vital to allow small business adapt to the changes and increase further productive growth and job creation.”