Local businesses are being urged to avail of a scheme aimed at helping them to trade online by Minister Denis Naughten.
“Irish consumers spend €850,000 an hour online, 24 hours a day, every day yet while many small businesses have a web presence, less than one in four is actually trading online,” stated Minister Naughten. “With nearly 90% of Irish consumers using the internet to research and buy products and services, not having a trading online presence is a missed opportunity.
“The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is a Government initiative which I am leading as Minister for Communications to assist small businesses, many of whom we see operating locally in this area, to trade online,” added Minister Naughten.
The Scheme is operated through the national network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices and offers a financial incentive of up to €2,500 (subject to matching funding), along with training, mentoring and networking support.
Over 2,000 small businesses have benefitted so far and the benefits include: expert advice and peer-to-peer support; halve the cost developing your online trade capacity [50% grant available, up to a maximum €2,500]; increase sales by on average 20%; boost sales leads by over 80% and increase business exports.
Fergal Cormican of Cormicans School & Art Supplies, Roscommon Town, explained the value of the scheme: “We first heard about the trading online voucher through LEO Roscommon. The scheme was very accessible and we found participating to be a very smooth process from start to finish. Our focus was to enhance our existing website using search engine optimisation in order to increase traffic to our website and generate new customers.
“Participating in the Trading Online Voucher Scheme was very beneficial for our business and has resulted in an increase in our online sales. We’ve increased our customer base and are now serving customers all over the country, for instance in Donegal, Cork, Kerry and Dublin and have even had international sales in Dubai and the US.”
If your business has 10 or fewer employees and less than €2m in revenue as well as little or no capacity to trade online, contact your Local Enterprise Office to find out how the Scheme could help your business.