The Government will pay you to get your business online?
Seems too good to be true? And yet oh cynical reader it DOES seem to be true. July 1st saw the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte T.D launch the Online Trading Voucher Scheme.
What is that I hear you ask?
Well, it simply means that the Government are offering vouchers worth €2500 each to enable small Irish businesses enhance their online trading presence. You can use the vouchers for such enhancements as
- the development or upgrade of an e-commerce website such as implementing online payments or booking systems
- purchase of internet related software
- online advertising
- development of an app
- implementation of a digital marketing strategy
- consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy
training/skills development speciﬁcally to establish and manage an online trading activity
However the vouchers cannot be used for
– Development of brochure websites
– Purchase of non-internet related software
– Anything other than online trading related activity
So who qualifies?
Well if your business has a limited online trading presence; employs less 10 people; has a turnover less than €2million; you are registered and trading for minimum of 12 months and your business is located in one of the pilot areas under this phase of the scheme, then you are eligible and encouraged to apply.
1000 of the vouchers will be available through the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) between now and the end of 2014 with more on offer next year.
There are some businesses that are not eligible however and they include those with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, ‘’not for proﬁt’’ organisations, trade associations and company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce.
Well if you are then you must attend one of the information seminars which will provide all the details as to how to apply but also how to best use and gain value from the voucher to support your online trading. More information is available at your local enterprise office. Don’t forget according to European Commission research companies which develop a meaningful online trading presence grow twice as fast, export twice as much and employ twice as many people.