Online trading a lifeline for business

This week’s announcement that the Trading Online Voucher Scheme has received additional funding, has been welcomed, as businesses continue to explore and expand their online options during what has been a largely difficult trading period due to the Covid pandemic.

Businesses can apply for the voucher scheme through their Local Enterprise Office (LEO), with small businesses able to claim up to €5,000 in two grants, worth €2,500 each. A

virtual tsunami of applications for the period from mid March to early June of this year, due largely to the outbreak of Covid-19, saw a staggering 3,962 applications for the scheme.

Compare this to 1,218 applications for the scheme for the whole of 2019.

The scheme, which also facilitates subscriptions to low-cost online retailing platform solutions to quickly establish a retailing presence online, will be expanded by a further €14.2m, with total additional funding for the scheme approaching €20m in 2020.

Strong uptake

Speaking following Monday’s funding announcement by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber Ireland said, “Today’s announcement by Minister Humphreys and Minister Bruton that an additional €14.2 million will be committed to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is very welcome.”

“There has been very strong uptake of this Scheme over the past months as businesses across Cork have changed their retail channels and increased their online trade. We have been advocating strongly for this increased funding as online purchasing has proven to be a lifeline for both the businesses and the customers during the public health restrictions. Local traders have had to find new ways to serve and connect with their customers through these extremely challenging times.”

“As we enter Phase Two of reopening the economy and society, online trade will continue to play a vital role in how many businesses operate. Financial support for businesses will need to remain strong, focused and functional as we progress through the next phases if we are to prevent further damage to our economy.”