The Irish Government through the National Digital Strategy aims to get a further 2,000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015. To this end, the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) has launched an Online Trading Voucher Programme and has teamed up with the Local Enterprise Offices to deliver this to Irish business.
- Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (Net of VAT), whichever is the lesser;
- Voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense;
- Own labour is not an eligible expense;
- Third party costs only will be considered;
- All third party/supplier invoices must contain proper business details (e.g. Tax and Business Registration details).
The vouchers are targeted at businesses with the following profile:
- Limited online trading presence;
- Less than 10 employees;
- Turnover less than €2m;
- Applicant business must be registered and trading for at least 12 months;
- Business must be located in one of the pilot areas under this phase of the scheme.
- Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, “not for profit” organisations, trade associations and company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce are not eligible to participate in the innovation voucher initiative;
- Professional services specialising in IT type services who are already capable of trading online using existing in-house systems;
- Conferences and Seminars;
- Projects which are contrary to public policy;
- Duplication of support for projects which would be eligible for assistance from other State Agencies of EU funded Operational Programmes;
- Projects with employees in excess of 10 people;
- Projects deemed to be capable of proceeding in any event without scheme assistance i.e. deadweight;
- Projects essentially comprising importation and distribution.
What the vouchers can be used for
- Implementing Online payments or booking systems;
- Purchase of Internet related software;
- Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 30% of approved Voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase);
- Developing an app (or multiplatform webpages);
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy e.g. Social media marketing;
- Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy;
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity.
What the vouchers cannot be used for
- Development of brochure websites;
- Purchase of non-internet related software;
- Anything other than online trading related activity.
Information seminars will be available over the next few weeks and it will be a condition of applying for the vouchers that applicants attend one of these seminars. At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the voucher.
If this is of interest to your business why not book your place. Contact your Local Enterprise Office to find out when the information seminars run in your area. To find your local office see www.localenterprise.ie.
How can we help?
Up to now we have seen insufficient emphasis from the Irish Government on strategy, marketing and ecommerce. The concept of ‘build it and they will come’ is not the reality given the highly competitive nature of ecommerce heading into 2015. Your website is only one component of an overall digital marketing plan. We believe this innitaive will allow companies to focus on key marketing elements and should therefore help to provide both focus and clarity for small business owners.
The Right People
Having your digital marketing developed by an IT specialist or a graphic designer may not be the optimum way to develop your online business. Whilst technology and design are important for any online marketing initiative , an overall marketing plan that integrates web initaitives as part of a bigger picture online/offline strategic marketing plan is required.
The WS365 team consists of designers, programmers as well as marketing personnel. This team is headed up by digital marketing specialists with years of experience across a wide range of businesses.
Get in touch today and we can explore some options for your business. Contact the team by phone on 071 931 1510, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org