Enterprise Board Online Trading Voucher Scheme
Great news for small to medium enterprises!!!
You may have heard an announcement in the recent budget 2014 that the Government is providing grants of up to €2,500 for digital marketing services, whether that means upgrading your website, working on your digital strategy or launching a social media campaign. The initial roll-out begins now for the first 25 SMEs who apply and get approved in the central dublin area. For those businesses not in the dublin city council catchment area this scheme will be rolled out to other areas of the country in 2014.
“Recognising the growing importance of the digital economy, Minister Rabbitte announced that he was setting aside €5m in 2014 to assist in the rollout of a national trading-online voucher scheme, aimed at getting 2,000 small Irish businesses trading online.” http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Press+Releases/2013/Statement+on+Budget+2014.htm
Applications opened on October 21st 2013 and the deadline for the first round of 25 businesses is November 15th. So this is a great opportunity to grow your business online through 2013 and 2014.
If you’re eligible for the grant Enhance is happy to support you in the application process so definitely get in touch!!! The application form can be a little daunting. To be successful it is very important to be both clear and concise about what you want to spend the voucher on and that you are receiving good value.
- Employ fewer than 10 people
- Turnover of less than €2 million
- Sole traders, partnerships or limited companies (does not include not-for-profit organisations or Chamber groups).
- Business must be trading, so have made at least one sale
- Registered and based in Dublin City Council area:
Full specifications & criteria are available here.
Further Roll-out of Online Trading Vouchers
From conversations with Dublin City Enterprise Board Enhance has gathered that the plan is to roll the Online Trading Voucher Scheme out to the rest of the County Enterprise Boards in January 2014, but this may change as the scheme is being monitored by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, who are providing the funding. We will post here when new information comes in so check back in early January for updates on the countryside roll-out.
The second call for Dublin city applications is February 2nd, so our best guess is that select county enterprise boards around Ireland will be taking applications on this date as well.
What the Online Trading Vouchers can be used for
- IT consultation
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- Implementing Online payments or booking systems
- Purchase of Internet related software
- Purchase of online advertising
- Developing an app
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy i.e. Social media marketing
- Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy
- Training/ skills development specifically to establish and manage an online trading activity
As you can see, the trading voucher can be used for enhancing your business online by exploring different avenues in digital marketing like Adwords, search engine optimisation, social media marketing or additional website features like booking systems. Enhance can provide guidance on the most appropriate use of the grant for your business.
What the Online Trading Vouchers cannot be used for:
- Businesses that are not already trading
- Development of brochure websites
- Purchase of non-internet related software
- Anything other than online trading related activity
How the Scheme Works
If your business is eligible, complete and return the application form to the Dublin City Enterprise Board, before the deadline (noon November 15th). Out of 25 vouchers in 2013 4 applications have been accepted. So our recommendation is to apply as soon as possible, don’t wait for the deadline.
- All applications will be reviewed by an evaluation committee
- If your application is successful, your business will be issued with an Online Trading Voucher.
- Service provider (third party web agency) will issue their invoice to the Dublin City Enterprise Board for payment (up to a maximum of either 50% of the total costs or €2,500, net of VAT).
- Those who are approved for an online voucher are required to attend a morning training session on who to use and get the best value for money from the voucher on 27th November 2013.
Again, Enhance are available to support you in this process, so please get in touch.
Only Apply if your business address is registered within the Dublin City Council Catchment Area.
To speak to Enhance call:
(01) 851 2800
- or your Account Manager
To review the full specifications: Click Here
By Ciaran Carroll