9 May 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard is encouraging retail businesses in Cork to apply for newly available funding to support them to enhance their digital capability. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD has announced that applications are now open for the new Enterprise Ireland €2 million Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme.
Senator Lombard said: “Small and medium retail businesses are crucial to getting our country through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I applaud all the retailers that have adapted to the restrictions and are staying open despite the challenges, and I thank all the retail staff as well as suppliers, distribution centres and logistics operations, who are working so hard to ensure everyone can still get the food and goods they need at this difficult time.
“The COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme is designed to help retailers to enhance their digital capability, which is so important for any retail business trying to keep going during this time. Developing an online offering helps businesses stay competitive during the COVID-19 crisis and will greatly assist them with the recovery from this crisis.
“This Scheme is complementary to the €2,500 Trading Online Vouchers provided through the Local Enterprise Offices for companies with less than 10 employees.
“The funding is open to retailers with a physical store and employing 10 or more people, so I encourage local retailers here in Cork to apply. Successful applicants will receive financial support of up to 80% of eligible project costs, with funding ranging from €10,000 to €40,000.
“Retailers who wish to apply for the Covid 19 Online Retail Scheme should go to enterprise-ireland.com/retail. The online application will remain open until 3pm on Wednesday, 27 May 2020. All the information on the scheme and details on how to apply are available on that website. People can also email email@example.com for more information”, Senator Lombard concluded.
The €2 million fund, which builds on two previous successful calls of the pilot Online Retail Scheme, is operated and administered by Enterprise Ireland. It is targeted at indigenous retailers with a pre-existing online presence to accelerate their online offerings to respond to both domestic and international consumer demand. The grant can be used to fund fees for service providers, develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training and enhance the retailer’s website.
Announcing the Scheme, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys said: “As Chair of the Retail Consultation Forum, I understand the serious impact of Covid-19 on the retail sector. By introducing the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, I want to support indigenous Irish retailers to sustain their business through the crisis and into the future.
“It is one of two online trading schemes that has received additional funding to support firms in this difficult period.
“Online trading will stand to your company for years to come. It will boost your revenue and make your business more resilient, and I would strongly encourage all retailers not already trading online to get online.”