LEO (Local Enterprise Office) have made a big announcement for all SME’s:
Grow your business online with help through the Government’s National Digital Strategy. The expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme is designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets. Participating in this scheme can make the process of trading online much easier for you.
It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 with co-funding of 10% from the business* along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Cutting the cost of developing your online trading capacity by up to 90% can make this investment very affordable for many small businesses out there.*
Making informed decisions is vital for all business, so the free help and training provided by your local enterprise office in the delivery of this scheme puts you in a position to decide what is best for your business. The training sessions cover various topics, including developing a website, digital marketing, social media for business and search engine optimisation. The information provided is impartial and will help you decide on what trading online options, are right for your business.
Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
Funding can be used towards adding payment facilities or booking systems to your website or developing new apps for your customers. The voucher can also be used towards subscriptions to low cost online retail platform solutions, to help companies quickly establish a retailing presence online.
We can summarise the above content:
- Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 90% of eligible expenditure (Net of VAT), whichever is the lesser
- 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).
The vouchers are targeted at businesses with the following profile:-
- Limited Online Trading presence
- Less than 10 employees
- Turnover less than €2m
- Applicant business must be trading for at least 6 months
- Business must be located in the catchment area of a LEO that is participating in this scheme
- 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 this scheme
- ‘Not for Profit’ and social entrepreneurship applicants until 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 with employees in excess of 10 people
- 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 webpages)
- Development of a digital marketing strategy
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity
What the vouchers cannot be used for
- Development of brochure websites
- Purchase of non-internet related software
- Anything other than online trading related activity