Find Out if Your Business is Eligible for a €2500 Trading Online Voucher!
If you haven’t already heard about Ireland’s Trading Online Voucher Scheme then you are in for good news. Your business may be eligible for a grant of up to €2500 from your Local Enterprise Office to develop and promote your e-commerce capabilities.
The Scheme, which is part of the National Digital Strategy, is designed to support small and medium enterprises to trade online by providing financial assistance, training and advice. It’s all about getting traditional businesses to take advantage of the opportunities provided by today’s digital environment.
Sound’s good, right? The results so far certainly indicate so. A 2016 Report by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources titled ‘Impacts of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme‘ conducted a survey of 800 participant companies. It found that:
- 21% was the average increase in sales
- 84% experienced an increase in customer enquiries
- 73% said that the new online business was additional and did not displace existing sales
- growing businesses expect to recruit on average 1.4 more employees
- 3 out of 5 businesses began to export, and
- 89% said that the trading online component of their business will become more important in the next six months.
Over 2,000 Irish businesses have already successfully applied to the Trading Online Scheme and it continues to be rolled out nationwide in 2017. Perhaps this is the year for your business to get online or – if you already have a business website – to grow your business by successfully trading online?
We have put together some essential FAQs to help you figure out if the Trading Online Voucher Scheme can help your business. The very first thing you need to know is whether or not your business qualifies for the scheme.
Is My Business Eligible for an Online Trading Voucher?
Applications to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme are assessed within a competitive process. There are a limited number of vouchers available through each Local Enterprise Office. Key eligibility criteria include:
- Limited Online Trading presence
- Less than 10 employees
- Turnover less than €2m
- Applicant business must be registered and trading for at least 12 months
***As a counter to who is eligible, it should be mentioned here that companies who work predominantly within the IT industries do not qualify for online trading vouchers. The aim is to help traditional business sectors to trade online, so if web design and digital marketing skills are already available in-house there is deemed to be no barriers to entry.
If it sounds like your business fits the bill then happy days! What you need to know know is how the Trading Online Voucher Scheme works and how you can apply.
What does the Trading Online Voucher cover?
One of the best things about the Trading Online Scheme is the fact that it can be used to pay for a broad range of activities required to grow your business online. Yes the Online Voucher can cover web design costs, but it can also help to pay for digital marketing. After all, there is little point in building or improving your business website if no one is coming to visit it. So you can claim the voucher against costs associated with Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click Advertising, Social Media Marketing and so on. On top of this you can claim against digital marketing training or consultancy to make sure you implement the right online trading strategy for your business. Purchase of software that will help internet trading, promotion and monitoring is also eligible.
What Conditions are Attached to the Trading Online Voucher?
The most important thing to know is that the Trading Online Voucher does not cover the full cost of your web project spend.
- Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (Exclusive of VAT), whichever is the lesser
This means that if your project costs €5,000 or anything higher you may b entitled to €2,500. If the total cost of your trading online upgrade costs €3,000 you will be eligible for max 50% of this i.e. €1,500.
Other important terms to note are as follows:
- Voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense. In other words, your Trading Online Voucher can not be back dated against previous expenditure.
- Brochure Websites don’t count. E-Commerce is key to Trading Online Projects. The words ‘trading online’ say it all – think booking systems, online shops, online sales terminals etc.
- Own labour is not an eligible expense. Even if you are a digital marketing whizz you can not bill for your time in providing this service against your Trading Online Voucher.
- Only Third party costs will be considered. So you need to engage a Web Design and Digital Marketing Company like CONKER to manage your project. Hands up to the cheeky plug!
- All third party/supplier invoices must contain proper business details (e.g. Tax and Business Registration details).
How Do I Apply for an Online Trading Voucher?
The Scheme is run through Ireland’s network of Local Enterprise Offices. To apply for a trading online voucher you should :
- Complete the Trading Online Voucher Application Form.
- And Submit it to Your Local Enterprise Office.
It is compulsory for potential applicants to attend their local Trading Online Voucher information event which will asses eligibility criteria for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme and help to determine where monies are best spent for your business.
Have a Question about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme that is not answered here? Simply pop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help and appreciate the opportunity to make our content better.