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Failure to leverage the Internet can cost your business valuable opportunities. It means missing out on the €850,000 Irish consumers spend online every hour.
Not having a website or the ability to sell online can also prevent your company from staying relevant and competitive. Having an online store or presence is an integral component of a future-ready business.
In Ireland, around 67% of consumers think that companies without a website are outdated.
Irish consumers (48%) visit brick-and-mortar stores only for everyday essentials like food, toiletries and groceries. Majority of them purchase clothing, electronics and luxuries from e-commerce sites outside the country
Clearly, more people prefer buying things online, and this is expected to become the norm in the coming years.
Businesses that are able to trade via the Internet and build a rich online presence as early as now are going to have the advantage when brick-and-mortar stores eventually become obsolete.
Admittedly, for many small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), investing in digital assets– having an e-commerce site, doing SEO and Internet-related strategies – is not a priority.
While 69% of Irish SMEs have websites, these mainly function as digital business cards. Moreover, only 23% of SMEs are capable of trading online.
There are several reasons why Irish SMEs do not prioritise building a robust online presence, and having limited resources is one of them.
Trading Online Voucher Scheme – What Is It?
The voucher serves as a financial incentive that is meant to encourage SMEs to build an e-commerce website or enhance their capability to sell or process transactions online. The voucher is available through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO).
Under this scheme, qualified small and micro enterprises can apply for a grant amounting to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure, whichever is lesser. Essentially, this means that your business is just going to fund 10% of the total cost of making your company capable of trading online or implementing an online marketing strategy.
Aside from financial assistance, training and mentoring are provided to help business owners like you successfully trade online.
The vouchers are mainly for small businesses which meet the following criteria:
- Have 10 or less employees
- Limited or no e-commerce presence
- Turnover of less than €2 million
- Applicant business must be trading for at least 6 Months
- Business must be located in the area covered by the LEO to whom they make their application, i.e. LEOs cannot accept applications from businesses located outside their jurisdiction.
Where Can You Use the Trading Online Voucher?
Whilst the scheme is primarily meant to help SMEs do business online, it doesn’t mean that it can only be used to finance the development of an e-commerce website or implementing online payment systems.
You can also use the voucher to develop and implement an SEO & online marketing strategy.
Remember, nowadays, having an e-commerce website is not enough. Your site or brand must also be visible online (i.e., rank high on organic search results) if you want to reach more clients and dominate the digital landscape.
Aside from those mentioned above, the voucher can also be used for:
- IT consultation
- Buying Internet-related software
- Developing an app
- Training or skills development on establishing and managing online trading activity
- Subscriptions to low cost online retail platform solutions
- Purchasing of online advertising
- Purchasing of professional photography
Expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme
Just recently, the scheme has been expanded as part of the Government’s effort to support SMEs during the COVID-19 crisis.
Businesses that have previously benefitted from the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, or those that received a voucher, can apply for a second voucher to enhance their e-commerce capability.
The second voucher offers an incentive of up to €2,500 with a co-funding of 50% from the business.
To learn more about the requirements and conditions, visit the Local Enterprise Office website.
How to Apply for LEO Voucher?
Below is a guide on the application process:
- Contact the Local Enterprise Office that has jurisdiction over your business to find out if you are eligible.
- Complete a TOV seminar, if you haven’t attended one in the past 9 months before applying.
- Print and read the application form and guidelines.
- Give us a call for a free 15-minute consultation. We’ll discuss how we can help you with your SEO and online marketing strategy.
- Should you decide to proceed, we’ll send you a quotation.
- Submit your application form and other requirements to your Local Enterprise Office.
- Wait for a notification from your LEO if your application is approved or not.
Call 089 466 2000 or 01 960 9023 to get your free SEO consultation today – or fill out our Quick Quote form at the bottom of this page.
Trading Online Voucher Scheme – Summary
How can you as an SME boost your online business in these uncertain times – with quality SEO and possibly a LEO online trading voucher worth up to €2,500 or 90% of the cost of getting your business visible online.
The LEO Trading Online Voucher Scheme offers small businesses the opportunity to develop their website or online marketing strategy by availing of vouchers.
Who is eligible?
The vouchers are targeted at businesses with the following profile:
- Limited or no e-commerce 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 the LEO to whom they make their application i.e. LEOs cannot accept applications from businesses located outside their jurisdiction.
Full details can be found here: https://www.localenterprise.ie/Discover-Business-Supports/Trading-Online-Voucher-Scheme/
So what is the process?
- Check with your Local Enterprise Office that you are eligible
- You may be asked to complete an online course – normal duration is 2 hours
- Ask us for a quotation
- We will spend 15 minutes on the phone (no obligation from you to work with us)
- We will send you a quotation
- Confirm with your LEO office that they are happy to fund the work
- Boost your business with 3R
Are you applying for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme? We can be your partner in developing and implementing an effective SEO or online marketing strategy? Call 089 466 2000 or 01 960 9023 to get your free SEO consultation today – or fill out our Quick Quote form below.