MINISTER of State for Business, Employment and Retail at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Damien English TD, has announced the successful applicants approved for funding through the second call of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, which is administered by Enterprise Ireland.
145 retailers have been approved €5.3M in funding as part of the scheme, which is targeted at retailers who already have an online presence to strengthen their online offering and enable them to reach a wider customer base.
The scheme, which was announced in the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus package, received 204 applications. 70% of the successful applicants are located outside Dublin with 102 retailers from these regions approved for funding.
Under this Covid-19 competitive call, the successful applicants will receive funding ranging from €16,000 to €40,000 to strengthen their online offering. The average grant value is €36,700 and covers up to 80% of project costs.
Minister Damien English TD said: “I was very pleased by the positive response from the Irish retail sector to the second call for applications under the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme as Government continues to help Irish businesses deal with the impact of the pandemic.
“The economic value of operating in the e-commerce space and its convenience for customers has come to the fore in 2020 and this scheme aims to help companies improve and maximise digital sales prospects.
“We know that consumers are keen to support their local retailers, even when shopping online, and these grants will help businesses to really maximise the opportunities in the e-commerce market.
“Of course, this market is not limited by geography and physical location and we know that Irish businesses with strong online resources also have their eyes on the international marketplace.
“The government continues to focus on helping businesses to get back on track in the coming months and as more of our workplaces and businesses can reopen in the coming weeks, in line with public health guidelines, we will do everything we can to support retailers in creating safe shopping spaces, in store and online, for customers and staff.”
Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland added: “The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme has proven to be a very attractive scheme for retailers and it’s clear that Irish businesses are keenly aware of the growing e-commerce opportunities both at home and abroad for online retail. They also understand the necessity of operating an updated and efficient online sales platform that complements their physical stores.
“Grants through this scheme are being used by retailers to upgrade their systems to improve their digital presence and to become more competitive in the virtual marketplace.
“This is helping to broaden their customer base and grow sales with some companies reporting that they are recruiting extra staff as result.
“Ultimately, retailers who are investing in their online presence now are also strengthening their offering to help deal with the uncertainty and challenges that lie ahead.”
Supporting the Irish retail sector to embed a more sophisticated online trading (e-tailing) strategy in its business model can contribute to the continued viability of a cohort of retail companies affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and help position them for recovery.
Applicant companies must be an Irish-owned retail enterprise that had 10 or more employees on or before February 29 and has the potential to sustain or create jobs, generate growth in online transactions and with an ambition to internationalise their business in future.
Cork companies receiving grants include: Future Forests Ltd; Hanley’s Garden Sheds Ltd; John Atkins & Co. Ltd; Keanes Jewellers; KETA Products Ltd; Meadows & Byrne Ltd; Murphy and O’Connor Unltd Company; O’Connor Pharmacy (Cork) Ltd; Queenpharm Ltd; South Link Road Pharmacy Ltd; Sullivan’s Quay Health Co Ltd; The Edge Sports Ltd; Vibes & Scribes Ltd; Tynestyle Trading Ltd t/a Here’s Health and Butlers (Chemists) Ltd.