Irish Business Owners: Did you know you could be eligible for a grant to trade online for up to €2,500?
How to Get a Website Grant in Ireland
For many Irish businesses, the question is not whether to trade online, it’s how to start. The Whizz.ie experts are here to break it down for you:
What is the name of the grant?
The official name for the grant is the ‘Trading Online Voucher’ (TOV) and it’s administered by the Local Enterprise Office.
Why does this ‘Trading Online Voucher’ (A.K.A. ‘TOV’ / ‘Online Grant’) exist?
Irish consumers spend around €850,000 per hour, 24 hours a day online. Trends show that more and more people are spending online and it’s estimated that only 30% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in e-Commerce sales. For businesses employing less than ten people this percentage could be even lower. It is now believed that of all the online purchases made in Ireland that 70% of these are done in overseas markets. There is now an urgency to ensure that businesses recognise that this is happening and that they are encouraged and supported to correctly respond to this digital reality.
In order to support this goal, the National Digital Strategy aims to get more businesses trading online. To this end, the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment (DCCAE) launched a Trading Online Voucher Scheme and teamed up with the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) to deliver this to Irish businesses. A limited number of vouchers are now available to eligible businesses. Those wishing to avail of a voucher, must attend an obligatory Information seminar. At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the Trading Online Voucher.
What is a Trading Online Voucher?
A Trading Online Voucher (TOV) is a financial incentive for small businesses with no more than 10 employees, less than €2m turnover and who have been trading for at least 6 months. This Trading Online Voucher (TOV) is designed to stimulate the applicant business to develop their online trading presence. The voucher is administered through your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and takes the form of matched funding where the maximum amount payable will be €2,500 or 50% of the eligible cost (whichever is the lesser), exclusive of VAT.
What criteria do I have to meet to be eligible for the Trading Online Voucher?
- Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (exclusive 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)
How does my business qualify for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme?
To qualify for the scheme, businesses must have:
- no more than 10 employees;
- less than €2m in turnover;
- be trading for at least 6 months and
- be located in the region of the local enterprise office to whom they are applying
What the Voucher can be used for?
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- IT consultation
- Implementing Online payments or booking system;
- 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)
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy i.e. Social media marketing
- Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity
How do I apply?
The application process for the Trading Online Vouchers will be a competitive process. The first port of call for any small business thinking of developing their trading online capacity is to contact their Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and ask them for more information about how to apply for the Trading Online Voucher scheme.
To see an example of the form they ask you to complete, please click here, however please note this is a 2018 form so they may have an updated form by the time you’re reading this, so please only use that form to get an idea of what could be asked. Always contact your Local Enterprise Office for the most up to date form and information.
How can Whizz.ie help?
When submitting your application form to the LEO, you will need to provide 3 Supplier quotes to them. Please feel free to get in touch with us to discuss your requirements and we can provide you with a Supplier quote.
Things to consider when asking Suppliers for quotes:
- Be wary of any Supplier who provides you with a quote if they do not know all your requirements. You wouldn’t buy food / clothes / or even a house without knowing exactly what you’re going to get for that money.
- Cheaper is not always best
- First impressions count
- When planning your website, we strongly recommend that you don’t just focus on how your website looks. You should think about how it will work… You should want to be found for the keywords relating to your business. This is called SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. It’s no good if only the people that know the exact name of your website find you. You want to be found for what you do, so you want to appear in the Search results for certain key words and key phrases relating to your business.
- Take a look at other sites that sell the products / services that you wish to sell online to help formulate what you like and what you don’t. Let’s say you want to sell olive oil… A pro tip is to look up ‘buy olive oil New York’ or ‘buy olive oil Sydney’… so you can see what businesses like yours do to compete in highly competitive areas. You can be sure if they’ve appeared high in the search results, they have invested in SEO to be up there. They didn’t just focus on the Design of their site.
- Jot down your favourite sites and decide what you like and what you don’t like about their look and feel; and how they work. It’s probably best to do that on a Desktop so you can see their sites properly. Pay attention to what they put in their menu, the layout of their site, the way they describe themselves, can you spot the keywords that you searched for on the page etc. Doing that research will give you a good plan of what you’d like your site to eventually look like and how you’d like it to function. Also you’ll get an idea of what designs you like too.
Best of luck with all the research and please feel free to contact us if you have any queries. We’d be happy to help.