Retailers can apply for grants of between €10,000 and €40,000 to fund the development of digital strategies and boost e-commerce offerings.
Today (20 August), Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English, TD, announced the launch of a new €5.5m Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme.
The scheme, which is part of the Government’s July stimulus package, will be administered by Enterprise Ireland to support retail businesses as they look to enhance their digital capability, drive online sales and grow their customer bases.
The scheme targets indigenous retailers with a pre-existing online presence and aims to accelerate online offerings in response to domestic and international consumer demand.
Successful applicants will receive a grant for up to 80pc of project costs, ranging from €10,000 to a maximum of €40,000.
“The Government has been listening to retailers across the country and it is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to make it an urgent priority for businesses to accelerate the growth of their online offering,” English said.
“For many retailers, developing their online sales channel for consumers has been a long-term goal prior to the pandemic. As minister, I am determined to support that ambition and assist our retailers to increase their digital presence and boost online sales, allowing them to target new and existing customers and shoppers in the online space.”
English added that he has seen the positive impact that previous Online Retail Scheme grants have made on businesses around Ireland.
‘Boosting retail business throughout Ireland’
During the last call of the scheme, 183 retailers were awarded an average of €35,500 each. Funding is available to retailers across a range of sectors including healthcare, jewellery, fashion, sports, homeware, furniture, electrical goods and equipment.
Stephen Creaner, executive director at Enterprise Ireland, said: “This scheme is boosting retail businesses throughout Ireland.
“The last funding round saw more than two-thirds of grants going to companies outside of Dublin. It is an important measure as the retail sector throughout Ireland looks to reopen and provide a safe and secure shopping environment for customers, both in store and online.”
The Great Outdoors adventure shop in Dublin, where English made the announcement today, was previously provided with an Online Retail Scheme grant.
Derek Moody, owner and director of the business, said: “The opportunities this scheme presented to our business have been eye-opening. Prior to applying to the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, online business was already very important to Great Outdoors.
“However, we were at a stage where significant investment was required to take the business to the next level. This opportunity came at exactly the right moment and, as a result, we are much further ahead with our projected timeline for online development.”
Moody described the application process as “incredibly straight forward” and noted that the company has been able to hire two new employees for its online team as a result of the progress it made with the grant.