If you want to create an online presence for your business but you’re worried about the cost, this blog will show you a couple of ways for you to finance your online venture with a little help from Ireland’s website development grants.
Currently, there are two website development grants available in Ireland:
- The Local Enterprise Office – Online Trading Voucher
- The Social Welfare TAT Grant
Let’s cover both in more detail.
1. The Local Enterprise Office – Online Trading Voucher
Simply put, the Online Trading Voucher grant is an initiative of the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) under the National Digital Strategy administered by the Local Enterprise Office. The grant aims to basically encourage more small businesses to trade online.
Eligible businesses receive up to €2,500 or up to 90% of the project cost to develop their e-commerce capacity.
Although this might feel like a Covid19-induced response, the scheme has been going for a while. The grant has been beneficial to over 4,000 businesses since its launch in 2014, according to government figures.
Plus, as per the Action Plan For Jobs 2018 report, businesses awarded the grant saw their lead generation increase by a staggering 81%, while sales increased by 21%.
It has also opened the door for companies to start exporting, with up to 60% of the businesses starting exporting for the first time.
With this grant, you can deploy a fully integrated eCommerce system that guarantees healthy conversion rates as well as:
- IT consultations
- Developing or upgrading your business website
- Purchasing internet-related software
- Developing multi-platform web pages or an app for the business
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy such as social media marketing and/or SEO
That said, the approval for the grant must be gained first before incurring any expenses. It is important to note that only third-party costs will be considered and own labour is not an eligible expense under the program. You will also need to have the proper business details on the supplier invoices including Tax and Business Registration details.
Who Can Apply for the Trading Online Voucher?
Before we cover eligibility, let’s make it clear that companies that receive state funding submit high-quality applications to the boards. Applications that propose the best business opportunities are obviously top of the list for state funding. So for instance, in relation to start-up business grants, the ability to create employment in your local area is highly regarded. For Enterprise Ireland grants, the potential to develop into export sales is essential. You really need to keep in mind the objective of the grant you are applying for!
The good news is, that even businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
Funding can be used towards adding payment facilities or booking systems to your website or developing new apps for your business. The voucher can also be used towards subscriptions to low-cost online retail platform solutions, to help companies quickly establish a retail presence online.
For businesses applying for the grant for the first time, the following eligibility criteria must be met:
- The business must have no online presence or sub-optimal online presence.
- The business must have a maximum of 10 employees. SOLE TRADERS are welcome to apply!
- Turnover is less than €2m per year.
- The business should have been in operation for at least 6 months.
- And the business must be in the same locality as the Local Enterprise Office where the application will be made.
Projects that are not eligible:
- Seminars and conferences.
- Projects that go against public policy.
- Duplicate projects which are qualified for assistance from other State Agencies of EU-funded Operational Programmes.
- Deadweight projects that can proceed without the grant.
- Importation and distribution projects.
- Development of brochure websites.
The Application Process
- The first step is to get in touch with us so that we can guide you on the process ahead. We have included a form below for you to use.
2. You will then have to attend an online seminar by your Local Enterprise Office before completing an application form.
3. The application should be accompanied by a quotation from us for the website project, and from your side, it should include reasons for the choice of web developers you’ve settled on. The reasons should focus on the return on investment. The Local Enterprise Office is more interested in ROI than in price relevancy so you have no obligation to go for low-quality web development services
Is your business eligible for a Local Enterprise TOV eCommerce Grant of up to €2,500? Just send us the details below to find out:
2. The Social Welfare TAT Grant
If you are in the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme, then you can apply for the TAT (Technical Assistance and Training) grant to help with the cost of setting up your business. Social Welfare will award your business a grant of up to €2500, of which you can use up to €500 for website development and related services. The website development costs will be paid directly to the supplier. The grant is enough to get your business started on establishing its online presence as you build it up. You can get in touch with your job facilitator for more information related to this grant.