Laois businesses should apply for funding under the new round of the Online Retail Scheme, a Fine Gael Councillor has said.
Councillor Conor Bergin was speaking after Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English launched a new round of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme worth €5million, to help Irish businesses to upgrade their websites and improve their competitiveness in online retail.
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.
Successful applicants will receive a grant ranging from €10,000 to a maximum of €40,000 – covering up to 80% of project costs.
Cllr Bergin said: “When the pandemic hit, many Irish retailers adapted quickly to develop their online presence, showing ingenuity that helped them survive.
“It was great for Irish consumers to know that when they went online, they had local options instead of just the large international retailers.
“Government was keen to assist this from the beginning, launching the Online Retail Scheme to help businesses develop and improve their offering beyond the physical shop.
“It’s not just for businesses who are online only; we want to support bricks and clicks. It is important for the future of retail here that in-store shopping is complemented by an improved online offering to help businesses benefit from the increasing number of Irish people shopping online.
“The Online Retail Scheme has really assisted businesses right around the country. Enterprise Ireland have confirmed 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.
“Laois businesses that had 10 or more employees on or before 29 February 2020 (or have grown to this level since then) should apply for the fund.
“Enterprise Ireland has published a number of helpful resources online and have a dedicated retail team who can answer any other questions you have around the application process.”
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 click here.