Small businesses in Ireland can apply for digital vouchers to improve their online trading.
They can apply for one voucher each, up to a value of €2,500 (matched funding).
The Online Trading Vouchers are available under the Government’s National Digital Strategy, and are delivered through Local Enterprise Offices.
70% of online purchases lost to foreign markets
There’s been a huge increase in online spending, but only about 23% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in e-commerce sales. An estimated 70% of online purchases are lost to foreign markets.
The National Digital Strategy aims to get a further 2,000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015.
Vouchers are available to a maximum of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure, whichever is the lesser. The closing date for the current round of applications is Friday, 26th June 2015.
Who is eligible for an Online Trading Voucher?
Businesses are eligible if they have:
- limited online trading presence
- fewer than 10 employees
- turnover below €2 million
Applicants must be registered and trading for a minimum of 12 months.
How can you use the voucher?
You can use the voucher support to:
- develop or upgrade an e-commerce website – for example, implement online payments or a booking system
- buy Internet-related software or online advertising
- develop an app
- implement a digital marketing strategy
- consult with ICT experts if you are an early-stage adopter of an online strategy, and develop training/skills development in order to establish and manage an online trading activity
You cannot use a voucher to:
- develop a brochure website
- buy non-Internet-related software
In other words, you can’t use it for anything other than activity related to online trading.
€21 billion market by 2017
Digital trade in Ireland is growing at around 16% each year, and the digital economy in Ireland is expected to expand to €21 billion by 2017. Yet almost 80% of Irish SMEs are not trading online.
The voucher scheme offers small businesses a great opportunity to get active in this flourishing market of online sales.
International research indicates that SMEs that adopt online trading grow twice as fast and export twice as much as their offline competitors.
To find out more about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme and to apply, go to your Local Enterprise Office, which you can find at https://www.localenterprise.ie
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