Last Updated on 14th April 2020 to reflect the most recent changes as a result of COVID-19 for getting a Website Grant in Ireland.
Irish Business Owners: Did you know you could be eligible for a grant to trade online for up to €2,500?
Up until the beginning of April 2020, your LEO only funded 50% and you had to fund the remaining 50%. This has now been dramatically changed! If you’re eligible, the LEO will pay 90% of your costs and you only need to pay 10%! If you applied for a Trading Online Voucher in the past, you are now entitled to apply for a SECOND voucher to improve what you already have.
Under the Government’s National Digital Strategy, the expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets. There is up to €2,500 available through the Local Enterprise Offices with co-funding of 10% from the business*. (*For applications received from April 7th 2020 until September 30th 2020.) Up until now, businesses were required to add 50% of the cost of the website, whereas now you may be eligible to just add 10%. This is an amazing opportunity not to be missed.
If you have already availed of the Trading Online Grant Scheme, you can reapply (as of 8th April 2020), to further improve your online trading capability. 10% of funding is to be contributed by the applicant business.
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.
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.
Will we be eligible for the Grant?
We can’t speak on behalf of your Local Enterprise Office as they differ all around the country, but here is a link on the Eligibility Criteria that we found on the Dublin LEO website. It might give you an indication of what they are looking for, however, please note this may differ depending on where you live.
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.
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.