Michael Ring TD has stated that Mayo retail businesses should apply for a new round of funding to expand their online offering and presence to customers at home and abroad. Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English this week launched a new round of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, worth €9.3m, to help Irish businesses to upgrade their websites and improve their competitiveness in online retail. Deputy Michael Ring said: "Many Irish companies have successfully made the digital transition in recent years and developed their online capability to sell their goods and services online. Consumer habits have also changed in recent years and it was great for them to know that that when they went online, they had local options instead of just the large international retailers, particularly when the pandemic occurred. Government was keen to help businesses adapt to and embrace this change, and the Online Retail Scheme was launched to help them develop and improve their offering beyond the physical shop. There have been over 500 successful approvals under the Online Retail Scheme, which includes many businesses here in Mayo. Past applicants have included many retailers selling jewellery, fashion, sports, homeware, furniture, healthcare, hardware, electrical goods and equipment. Businesses are rightly preparing for the future and growing their presence so that they can attract and cater for different types of shoppers.” The scheme is administered by Enterprise Ireland and there is €9.3m available in this round of funding, which is open for applications and closes on June 1. In order to be eligible for this funding, applicant companies must have 10 or more full-time employees in a physical store and an existing online presence. This is to support the clicks and bricks for Irish retailers. The transition to online shopping was accelerated over the last two years and consumers' retail habits have changed significantly. 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."
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