Amazingly, we read an article today in the Irish Times that claimed the vast majority of Irish SME’s are still not aware of the technology and business grants available to them today. One such grant is the extremely valuable Online Trading Voucher scheme from the Local Enterprise Offices.
This online trading voucher scheme is in place to assist small to medium enterprises in Ireland to develop their e-commerce websites and create a digital strategy for their business. Or, in the words of the LEO’s themselves the scheme exists “…to support small Irish businesses to enhance their online trading presence. The objective of the scheme is to help small businesses grow their sales, exports and ultimately jobs.“
These Online Trading Vouchers are available up to the value of €2,500 (50% of eligible costs up to the maximum of €2,500). The maximum project cost is therefore €5,000 (€2,500 your own costs and then €2,500 in online trading vouchers). The project total can go above and beyond €5,000, but the voucher maximum is €2,500.
According to the above article, referencing a recent study, the amount of companies availing of the online trading voucher scheme rose from just 1% – 4% over the past year. However, in line with the findings of the IE Digital Health Index last year, 1 in 4 SME’s say that they are spending more on digital advertising now than in the past.
The grants are there folks, and the online trading voucher has created fantastic results for many SME’s looking to grow their business online, including many of our own clients. Companies who’ve availed of the grant have seen an 85% increase in customer inquiries. Just to give you a quick recap on what you can use the vouchers for:
Vouchers can be used for:
- development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- Internet related software
- online advertising – a Google AdWords campaign, for example
- development of an app
- implementation of a digital marketing strategy – this is a big grey area and has to be discussed with your Local Enterprise Office.
- consultation with ICT experts
- training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an online trading activity
Vouchers cannot be used for:
- Developing a brochure website, or expanding your existing one without ecommerce being an aspect
- Purchase of non-internet related software
- Anything other than online trading related activity
There’s an election coming up and, while we’re hopeful any incoming or returning government will continue this vital scheme for SME’s, there is no guarantee. So get it while the getting is good. There are lots of deadlines coming up around the country. Get the info below: