A major expansion of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme will help small and micro enterprises within local communities to promote their business online.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser this week, local Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan, encouraged all suitable small businesses to apply for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme to help meet the ongoing challenges stemming from the COVID-19 crisis.
“The expansion of this scheme is most welcome news for small businesses in our local communities. Under the Scheme, small businesses can claim up to €5,000 in two grants worth €2,500 each. The Scheme also facilitates subscriptions to low-cost online retailing platform solutions to quickly establish a retailing presence online.
“Local Enterprise Offices received three years worth of applications in three months following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ireland and following a previous expansion of the Scheme in early April, total additional funding for the Scheme is now almost €20m.
“The Scheme is an essential part of our COVID-19 support for small businesses and it is vital that we continue to make it available for enterprises to meet the ongoing trading challenges.
“Numerous small businesses in Westmeath have already benefited from funding under the scheme. The additional funding announced in recent days will mean that total funding for the scheme has been increased by almost 1000 percent,” Cllr. Dolan reflected.
The Fine Gael Councillor noted that “now, more than ever” local enterprises are reliant upon their online capabilities to interact with customers on a regular basis.
“This funding will provide crucial support in these very challenging times. It will also ensure that enterprises are building the capacity now which will see them well positioned to take advantage of the digital transformation into the future, as more and more consumers take their business online.
“The ability to trade online has become more and more valuable as we move through the phases of reopening the economy, particularly as we face into a period of reduced capacity on shop floors.
“A quality online presence compliments your existing bricks and mortar business and allows you to advertise and trade to a much wider customer base.
“Online sales have been a lifeline to many SMEs during COVID-19 and we have seen major success stories of small businesses actually increasing their sales during the pandemic due to their online platform. We want to make sure that continues.
“Businesses and companies that remain offline are missing out, not only on the opportunity to pivot their business model in tackling the current challenges, but also in being part of Ireland’s future digital economy.”
“I would like to commend Ministers Heather Humphreys and Richard Bruton, on their strong commitment to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme and to supporting the increasing demand from small enterprises to develop or upgrade their online presence,” Cllr. Dolan concluded.