Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English today launched a new round of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme. Under this call €5 million will be made available to help Irish businesses to upgrade their websites and improve their competitiveness in online retail.
Outlining the importance of the Scheme, the Minister said, “Over the last year, survival for many Irish retailers has been dependent on having an online presence. It continues to be a top priority for retailers to evolve these channels and take advantage of the new and existing local, national and international opportunities that exist through selling online. As Minister, I am determined to support the ambition to expand beyond the physical shop and this Scheme offers retailers the vital financial support to do just that. It is important for the future of retail here that in-store shopping is complemented by an improved online offering so that innovative local businesses can secure a greater share of the overall online retail spend by Irish consumers.”
The Scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and is targeted at Irish-based retailers with a physical store and a pre-existing online presence. The grant can be used to fund fees for service providers to develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training, and to enhance the retailer’s website and related systems.
Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland, said: “The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is boosting retail businesses throughout Ireland with more than two thirds of grants going to companies outside Dublin. Irish retailers are keenly aware of the opportunities that exist in the online space with many specifically targeting the Eurozone post-Brexit and taking advantage of the potential that lies in a global customer base.
It is important that eligible retailers applying for the Scheme plan appropriately and examine their current and potential online presence in order to put forward strong business cases. Enterprise Ireland has published a number of helpful resources online and we have a dedicated retail team who can answer any other questions you have around the application process.”
The Scheme aims to continue to address the urgent need for retail companies to achieve a step change in online capability to achieve business continuity, and to lay foundations for future recovery and growth.
Minister English concluded, “To date, some 370 companies have received funding under the Online Retail Scheme to the value of €12.8 million. I and my colleagues across Government will continue to keep the range of business support measures under review as the country moves towards a post pandemic, jobs-led economic recovery, including new initiatives to support the retail sector.”
The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme opens for applications on Tuesday, 4 May 2021 and closes at 12 noon on Tuesday, 25 May 2021. Find further information and how to apply here.
Notes for Editor:
The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is open to eligible Irish-owned retail enterprises that had 10 or more employees on or before 29 February 2020 (or have grown to this level since then) and have the potential to sustain or create jobs, generate growth in online transactions and with an ambition to internationalise their business in the future.
This competitive call has a budget of €5m which will be funded from the Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. Successful applicants will receive a grant ranging from €10,000 to a maximum of €40,000 - covering up to 80% of project costs.
The Department launched a pilot online retail scheme in late 2018 under which funding of almost €900k was approved for 40 retailers during 2019. There have also been two previous calls under the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme. In the first call 185 retailers were funded to a total of €6.6m, while 145 retailers received a total of €5.3m under the second call.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.
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