Is your small business availing of all of the different grants and support schemes it has available to it? You may be so caught up in running your business that you don’t take the time to look. On such support available is the Trading Online Voucher from your Local Enterprise Office.
Trading online can significantly increase your revenue and increase your customer base. According to statistics from the CRO, approximately 5-6% of all retail sales for Irish companies was transacted online in January and February 2022.
More and more of our business is done online, but it can be costly to optimise the e-commerce side of your business. Especially if you don’t have any expertise inhouse, the cost of IT services can be very high. The Trading Online Voucher can help you bridge the cost.
Small businesses can get their hands funding on up to a maximum of €2,500 or 50% of the costs (Excl VAT) of enhancements made to your website, mobile app or digital strategy – whichever is lower.
There is a Local Enterprise Office in each county in Ireland, when applying you need to go through your local office. Each office will have its own budgets and resources so even if you meet all of the eligibility that does not guarantee that you will secure the funding.
Who is Eligible to Apply to For a Trading Online Voucher?
Here is a list of eligibility criteria that you need to meet before you can apply for a Trading Online Voucher:
|1.||Your small business has limited of no online presence|
|2.||You employ a maximum of 10 people|
|3.||Your business has an annual turnover of less than €2m|
|4.||Your business should be operational and trading for at lease 6 months|
|5.||You must apply through your local LEO office and that office must be participating in the scheme|
|6.||Before your application you must have attended a Trading Online Voucher Information webinar|
Your local LEO will guide you through what you need to know about the application process on your mandatory online seminar. This will be your first step for applying so you should contact your local office to see when the next event is on.
Even if you have successfully applied for a voucher before you can apply again for a second voucher if you remain eligible and additional upgrades are needed to boost your online presence.
What Can and Can’t the Trading Online Voucher be Used For?
|WHAT THE VOUCHER CAN BE USED FOR||WHAT THE VOUCHER CAN’T BE USED FOR|
|Consultations with an IT specialist||Development of Brochure Websites|
|Developing a mobile app||Improving non-ecommerce aspects of your business|
|Significantly upgrading your e-commerce website||Purchase of non online trade related software|
|Purchasing online advertising (within certain limits -30% of costs)|
|Adding payment solutions to your website|
|Adding a booking system to your website|
|Developing/Implementing a digital marketing strategy|
|Subscriptions that help you improve your online retailing reach|
|Professional Photography for website (max 80% of total costs)|
Eligible expenditure cannot have been made before the approval of the Trading Online Voucher and all expenditure made subsequent to receiving the approval must be vouched with supporting invoices.
Similarly, the cost of your own labour will not qualify as an eligible expense. It must come from third party suppliers.
How to Check Other Financial Supports Your Small Business May Be Eligible For?
Gov.ie have a very useful tool that can help you figure out if you may be eligible for other financial for your small business.
It will ask you a few details about your business such as:
- The company location
- The industry/sector your are in
- Number of employees
- Business Structure (Sole Trade, Partnership, Ltd Company)
- Stage of your business (Start-up, Established Business, or Fast Growing Company with Global Reach)
- If you are exporting or not
It will then filter all of the potential supports that are applicable for your business.
You can find this tool here.
When your business is new, you may feel reluctant to invest up to as much as €2,500 in your website and that is understandable as you will want to keep costs as low as possible until you know your business can sustain itself. It may make more sense to wait until you are more established to try and avail of the voucher.
But if a cost-benefit analysis shows you that the investment can lead your business growing at a much faster rate then it may be worth the risk.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice.