Standard Online Trading Voucher Scheme
In Ireland Local Enterprise Offices or LEO, have been helping Irish SME to start selling there products and services online now for a number of years. Up until April 2020 this consisted of granting funding up to 50% of the project total to a maxim of €2,500. (More information on that program can be found here).
In March 2020, not just our small island of Ireland, but the whole world was sent into an unprecedented spiral as the COVID19 Virus, which had its origins in Wuhan in China in 2019, was declared a Global Pandemic. The net effect of this was the measured and controlled shut down of all but essential services, businesses closed en masse overnight, some unfortunately shutting their doors for the last time.
Time to Pivot
For businesses who can pivot to start selling their products and services online this period now presents an opportunity to build an ecommerce website for a fraction of the cost that it once would have cost.
On average most E-commerce websites cost approximately €4,000, (some smaller solutions may cost less, and larger solution may cost more) prior to the COVD19 increase in the scheme the cost to the website owner after they received the voucher would have been 50% of this, so €2,000. With the extension of this scheme to now cover 90% of the project total, the website owner can now claim the full amount of €2,500, meaning the cost now to the website owner is just €1,500.
The Special COVID19 Online Trading Voucher Application Form, goes into great detail about what the voucher is, such as who can apply for it, what it can be used for (and what it can’t) and how to apply.
“New Covid-19 Trading Online Voucher Scheme
In response to Covid-19, the Irish Government announced changes to the Trading Online Vouchers to help small Irish businesses. Funding available under this Scheme has now increased from €2.3 million to €5.6 million.
The following changes will also apply to the Scheme:
- Requirements for co-funding in respect of applications received is reduced from 50% to 10%
- Business who have availed of a Voucher under the original Scheme can also apply for a second voucher up to €2500, if they find themselves needing to upgrade their existing ecommerce capability. This second voucher will also have a requirement for co-funding of 10%
- Drawdown of payments for new vouchers is now in two instalments (rather than in one instalment, as before)…
This new Scheme is valid until 30th September 2020. ”
Am I Eligible for a LEO Online Trading Voucher?
If your business meets the following criteria then it may be eligible to apply for the Online Trading voucher.
- Limited Online Trading presence;
- 10 or less employees;
- Turnover less than €2m;
- Applicant business must be trading for at least 6 months;
- Business must be located in the area covered by this phase of the scheme i.e. within the remit of the participating LEOs.
Previous voucher recipients may apply for a second voucher
*applicant business must provide clear proof of trading for a minimum of 6 months to their Local Enterprise Office
Information seminars will be made available online or by conference call to prospective applicants to support them in their application process and it will be a condition of applying for the vouchers that applicants participate in one of these seminars. At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the voucher.
The scheme is only open to businesses that have a product or service that they can sell online, as such it cannot be claimed against the building of a brochure or catalogue website. It is possible that the voucher could be used against an online booking website (for example a health spa) or for a site that sells gift vouchers. The one imperative is that a transaction needs to be completed online with full payment made through the website.
Time to get a move on
The LEO Trading Online Voucher is available for businesses in any industry and the good news is it’s not too late to get a grant application in to access this funding, however as it is a competitive application it is better to get your application in sooner rather than later.
With increased demand for this schemes, We recommend to get in touch with us as soon as possible.