The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in association with the Local Enterprise Office recently announcement a new initiative as part of the National Digital Strategy to help incentivise small businesses in Ireland to enhance their e-commerce and digital marketing capabilities.

What is the scheme about?

The Online Trading Vouchers scheme will see as many as 1,000 vouchers being made available for small business that meet specific criteria at selected Local Enterprise Offices (LEO’s) regions across the country including Cork City and County. The Government has allocated €5 million towards the scheme and will make grants of up to €2,500 available to small businesses located in the selected pilot areas of:

  • Dublin City & County
  • Cork City & County
  • Kerry
  • Louth
  • Sligo
  • Waterford

Is my business eligible?

The Online Trading Vouchers scheme is explicitly aimed at small Irish businesses that that currently have a limited e-commerce/digital marketing presence. The small businesses that wish to apply for this grant need to meet the following criteria:

  • less than 10 employees
  • turnover less than €2 million
  • registered and trading for a minimum of 12 months
  • located in one of the selected pilots areas (see above)

Not all projects meeting these criteria will qualify such as those with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, "not for profit" organisations, trade associations and company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce.

The South Cork Local Enterprise Office has recently opened for applications  for the new Trading Online Voucher scheme and say that the reaction has proven extremely positive. Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Local Enterprise stated that:

“Demand from small local businesses to participate has been high and, within days of making our first two pre-application training programmes available, almost 300 businesses had registered. The scheme is allowing the team here in South Cork to engage with a wider range of companies than ever before. Trading online is not only a big opportunity for small businesses; it is more and more becoming an essential part of business strategy. With a little help and some financial support we can ensure that these businesses benefit as a result."

What can we use the vouchers for?

The Online Trading Vouchers can be used for the development or enhancement of an e-commerce website which might include implementing online payments or booking systems. Other uses of the voucher include:

  • purchase of internet related software
  • online advertising/Pay Per Click advertising (PPC)
  • development of an app
  • implementation of a digital marketing strategy
  • consultation with ICT experts for early adopters of online strategy
  • training/skills development to establish and manage an online trading strategy

Is there anything we can't use the vouchers for?

The Online Trading Vouchers are for use exclusively with online business activity and cannot be used for the following:

  • development of brochure style websites
  • purchase of non-internet related software
  • any business activity other than online trading

How can Granite Digital help?

As one of Ireland's leading digital marketing companies, Granite Digital can offer a broad spectrum of skills to meet the online requirements of Irish businesses since 2008. From cutting edge and innovative web design to a proven track record in the development and management of digital marketing and SEO strategies; Granite Digital will help small businesses extract the most from their budget to help enhance their online trading ability and, more importantly, grow their business!

Granite Digital have successfully worked with numerous Irish businesses to enhance their online presence and e-commerce capability, these include:

How does my business qualify?

For eligible businesses to qualify for the voucher, a representative must attend of the information seminars hosted by the Local Enterprise Office which will not only provide all the necessary details as to how to apply but also how best to maximise the added value from the Online Trading Voucher scheme.

The next step...

Organise to get you or a representative from your business to attend one of the information sessions at your LEO.

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