The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) has updated the online trading voucher to help businesses get online and get back to work post COVID-19.
This report is to outline what it is, how it works and how Raising The Bar Media can help you avail of this valuable resource and get online.
What is the online trading voucher?
The online trading voucher is a grant scheme set out by the Local Enterprise Office and available to assist small business to trade online and enable the transaction of online sales.
It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 with co-funding of 10% from the business* along with training and advice to help your business trade online.
If you are a small business that has been trading for a minimum of six months with less than ten employees, the following report outlines the Online Trading Voucher in depth.
Is the Online Trading Voucher New?
I am always surprised at how many business owners I talk to that haven’t heard of the Online Trading Voucher before.
The Online Trading Voucher itself has been up and running for about five years now (I believe) but has become more relevant as we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown as it has been, expanded to help businesses recover and emerge stronger from the before mentioned pandemic.
What Has Changed?
The new expanded version of the voucher is currently available and running from April 7th 2020 until September 30th 2020 with the main differences being –
- Businesses that have already availed of the voucher can apply for a second voucher (where upgrades are required)
- IT now offers €2500 with co-funding of 10% from the business where it used to require a 50% co-funding
Am I Eligible?
The following eligibility criteria are set out for the voucher:
- Business with limited or no e-commerce presence
- Businesses with ten or less employees
- Businesses with less than €2m turnover
- Applicant business must be trading for at least six months
- Business must be located in the area covered by the LEO to whom they make their application i.e. LEOs cannot accept applications from businesses located outside their jurisdiction.
And yes sole traders who fall under the above criteria can also apply.
If you are still unsure if you qualify or would like more advice, please contact me directly.
What Can The Voucher be Used For?
- IT consultation
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- Implementing Online payments or booking system;
- Purchase of Internet-related software
- Photography and Videography (this purchase cannot make up any more than 80% of approved Voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase)
- Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 30% of approved Voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase)
- Developing an app (or multiplatform webpages)
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy i.e. Social media marketing
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an online trading activity
What the voucher Cannot be used for?
- Website hosting
- Development of brochure websites
- Purchase of non-internet related software
- Anything other than online trading related activity
Other Points to Note
You will need to get three quotes for your online trading project from three different online service providers
- Each quote needs to be from a reputable trading business
- You and your web service provider will need a tax clearance certificate
- When submitting your application, you chose which provider you want to work with
- All quotes must be submitted with the application
- You and your provider will both need to attend the online trading voucher seminar (lasts 2 hrs)
- You have four months from approval date to use your voucher
- Do not start work or transfer funds until you have applied and recieved approval of the Online Trading Voucher
Online Trading Voucher Process
Just to give you an outline of a time line/process to follow when applying
- Establish if you qualify for the voucher
- Establish the scope of the project and exactly what you need
- Approach three providers and get three itemised quotes
- Apply for the voucher using the online applictaion from the Local Enterprise office who cover your area
- Attend an Online Trading Voucher online training seminar
- Wait for verification of acceptance of the voucher scheme
- On acceptance give your chosen service provider the green light to comence work.
- All work needs to be finished and paid in full by you with proof before you can draw down on the voucher
We Are Here to Help
For a lot of sole traders and small businesses this process may seem daunting and knowing what you need or even the lingo or terms needed to articulate what you need can be frustrating but here at Raising The Bar Media we are here to help you every step of the way.
We will not only quote for your project but offer a FREE one to one consultation to sit down and go through exactly what you want and need.
To avail of this all you need to do is reach out and we can start the process straight away.