Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, is urging Irish based retail businesses in Westmeath to enhance their online capability and presence in order to exploit new opportunities to increase turnover, to expand and to sell internationally.
The Minister has launched a new round of the Online Retail Scheme which supports ambitious Irish based retailers looking to grow and improve sales online and to strengthen their ecommerce capabilities.
The Scheme provides direct financial support to retail companies to develop a more competitive online business offering to complement their in-store offering. It is administered by Enterprise Ireland and there is €9.3m available in this round of funding.
Minister English outlined the potential of online trading.
"I want Irish based retailers to have every chance of competing for online sales that are currently going outside the country. There is no reason why Irish businesses cannot successfully compete for home sales as well as international sales. The Government is also determined to support more business owners to enhance their online capabilities and presence to exploit opportunities in existing and new markets.
"The transition to online shopping was accelerated over the last two years and consumers retail habits have changed significantly. Many now make purchases anytime, anywhere, anyplace at the tip of their fingers or with the click of a mouse. It makes sound business sense to have an omnichannel approach to selling in order to cater for these new demands and to be competitive in the market.
"Almost all previous recipients of funding in this Scheme noted an increase in online sales, many in international markets and the vast majority have hired additional employees to manage their increase in online sales," Minister English stated.
In order to be eligible for this funding, applicant companies must have 10 or more full-time employees and an existing online presence. Salary costs of an internal project champion can be partially covered by this support. This person can be any employee who has the support of the management to take on this responsibility, and will work with an external service provider on the project.
Previous applicants of the Online Retail Scheme who were unsuccessful will be eligible to reapply under this call with a modified proposal. Applicants who were successful in previous calls are also eligible to re-apply under this round of the scheme, once they propose a project that is clearly different from their previous applications.
The Online Retail Scheme is open for applications now and closes on Wednesday, June 1, at 12pm (noon ).
Find further information and how to apply at www.enterprise-ireland.com/retail