As a digital marketer and a website designer in Mullingar, Westmeath, I think this grant is amazing for SME’s that are looking to trade online for the first time or to upgrade.

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Fair play to the government that took a proactive approach by increasing the Trading Online Voucher from covering 50% of the cost to 90% to help business trade online during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Under this grant, an eligible business may apply for funding to a maximum value of €2,500 or 90% of eligible expenditure (exclusive of VAT), whichever is the lesser.

Some of the business owners that I speak to assume that the Trading Online Voucher is all about an eCommerce site and selling products. But there is much more to it than that as let’s say that you are offer face to face consultations you can do these online and get paid for them in advance all within your website which is classed as trading online.

What type of businesses are eligible for the Trading Online Voucher?

  • Businesses that have limited or no e-commerce presence
  • Businesses with less than 10 staff
  • Businesses with turnover less than €2m
  • Businesses that have been trading for at least 6 months
  • Businesses must be located in the area covered by their Local Enterprise Office.

What type of expenses are covered in the Trading Online Voucher?

  • Building a new e-commerce website
  • Upgrading your current eCommerce website
  • Converting your current website so that it can trade online
  • Implementing online booking systems such as appointment schedulers
  • Implementing online payment platforms
  • The cost of Internet-related software
  • Developing an app
  • A digital marketing strategy
  • Implementing the digital marketing strategy including SEO
  • Training to manage an online trading activity
  • Subscriptions (excluding transaction costs) to low cost online retail tools
    Online advertising such as Facebook ads (up to 30% of all other approved costs)
  • Photography (up to 80% of all other approved voucher costs)
  • IT consultations

This is how it works once your business has been approved

Let’s say that that you want a bit of everything or need some advice on where to spend this grant to be the most effective, just get in touch with me by booking a video or phone call here and I will point you in the right direction in a non-salesy way.

Gleeson Digital can do everything apart from building you an app, but we can recommend some really good Irish app developers.

So let me put this into perspective.

First, you need to get in touch with your Local Enterprise Office. For those of you that are in Westmeath, you will need to contact the Local Enterprise Office Westmeath that is located in Mullingar. You can email them here localenterprise@westmeathcoco.ie.

Then you will have register with your Local Enterprise Office to attend a webinar that will explain everything that you need to know in detail and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.

You will need to get 3 quotations and you can pick whichever website designer or digital marketing agency that you choose. You don’t have to opt for the cheapest one.

So let’s say that you want a new website, need a digital marketing strategy, some Facebook ads and some photography that costs €2,800 + VAT which comes to €3,444.

You will have to pay your web designer or digital marketing agency first and then the Local Enterprise Office will reimburse you in a matter of weeks. But please note that you will have to provide proof that you have paid in the form of a screenshot of your bank statement.

€3,444 you pay
€2,500 the Local Enterprise Office will reimburse you
€   944 net cost

Other information that you need to know

  • Claims can be made in either 1 or 2 instalments for completed work
  • Expenditure on the various project components can only be claimed once
  • All third party/suppliers must be bonafide businesses that can provide details of their tax registration and provide an up to date tax clearance certificate
  • Applications must be accompanied by quotations from 3 local suppliers.

Final thoughts

The first round of this grant that was launched in April was valid for 9 months and the latest round is only valid for 4 months.

So reading between the lines you can see that this grant will be phased out so you need to act fast as funding may run out or the grant may well get cancelled as the pandemic comes to an end. It will then revert back from 90% to 50%.

This a great opportunity to give your whole online presence an overhaul so don’t miss out by assuming that it doesn’t apply to your business.

So if you want independent advice on the best way to allocate the Trading Online Voucher for your business in the form of website design, digital marketing strategy, photography, SEO etc. you can book a free consultation with me here.

For example, if you already have a WordPress website you might not need to pay for a whole new website. It may be possible for us to allocate your budget wisely by simply adding an online store to your existing site so that you can allocate some money to driving the right type of traffic to your website using SEO or Facebook ads.

– Gary

Gary Gleeson

Gary is a website designer & digital marketing strategist. He holds a 2019 BSc Degree in Digital Technology & Design (Distinction)

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