The past few months have been challenging for many small businesses across Ireland. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen some businesses having to adapt so that they can continue making money, whereas others have had to stop trading and running altogether. Although the pandemic has had a lot of negative effects, there is now a voucher scheme that some small businesses can apply for so that they can start to increase their online revenue. Any small business that has less than ten members of staff can apply for the Online Trading Voucher by contacting their Local Enterprise Office.
What exactly is the Online Trading Voucher?
The Online Trading Voucher scheme is a grant that you can use to help build your business, introduce an e-commerce website or increase the amount of traffic that you have on your current website. You can use your voucher to fund the addition of payment facilities to your website or to help develop an app that your customers can use. There is also the chance to use your grant at many digital agencies that will be able to help improve various things about your business, including increasing your Google rankings, digital marketing, social media presence, video work and photography, and website design. It gives you the chance to choose the thing that will help your business the most.
Is my business eligible?
To be eligible for the voucher scheme, your business will need to fit into the following criteria:
- Your business should have no, or a limited, e-commerce online presence
- Your business must have been trading for at least six months
- You must have ten employees or less
- You must turnover less than €2 million
- Previous voucher recipients may also apply for a second voucher
If your business has had a grant before, you may still be eligible for the Covid-19 Online Trading Voucher Scheme. The scheme has increased from €500 to a maximum of €2500 and from 50% grant aid to 90% grant aid.
How do you apply?
To apply, you need to do a few things. You first need to plan and work out what would be the best for your business. You can get advice from your local enterprise office, as they will be able to advise you on the things that you need to focus on to develop your online trading capacity. There are also digital agencies that will be able to advise you. By making an informed decision, you will be able to do what is best for your business.
Once you have chosen the plan that you want, as part of your application for the voucher scheme, you will need to complete a short online course. This can be arranged and set up by your local office and will take you around two hours to complete.
Your application also needs to be accompanied by three written or email quotes from three different suppliers. If you need assistance with your application to increase your chances of being approved, listen to advice that is given to you.
If your application is successful, you will then have nine months to complete the work that you set out in your application. Learn more.
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