€5k to improve your digital marketing and online sales (Local Enterprise Office grant)

€5k to improve you digital marketing and online sales (Local Enterprise Office grant)

So, you know getting the word out about your new product/service is essential for generating leads, but you’re worried about spending too much of your limited budget on marketing at this early stage… sound about right?

It’s a dilemma all entrepreneurs must reckon with when trying to grow their business. If no one knows about you, no one will buy from you, but marketing requires investment, so what are you to do? It’s being able to help SMEs tackle teething problems such as this which makes the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) such a fantastic support for entrepreneurs trying to find their feet. The financial assistance this state agency provides is what helps startups in Ireland survive and thrive. If you’re hoping to stir up some noise around your business, you should strongly consider applying for this amazing grant so you can put €5,000 straight into your marketing budget!

Apply for a Trading Online Voucher from your Local Enterprise Office

What is a Trading Online Voucher and what can it do for your SME?

Trading Online Voucher gives a grant of €2,500 to small businesses

The purpose of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is to help small businesses get set up online and trade successfully online. 94% of all adults have shopped online in the past 3 months start successfully trading. There is no doubt that local businesses could be taking a much bigger slice of the pie if they prioritised their online presence!

According to An Post, support for domestic Irish eCommerce businesses is particularly high as more than half (52%) orders placed online come from shoppers in Ireland, while 1 in 3 (29%) are placed by shoppers in the UK. The majority of Irish SME’s eCommerce sales are in Ireland (50%), while 25% are to Northern Ireland and the remaining 25% of sales are to the UK and other European countries.

As a part of the National Digital Strategy, the Trading Online Voucher is designed to help small businesses be more successful online. As they say on the LEO website, “Cutting the cost of developing your online trading capacity by up to 50% can make this investment very affordable for many small businesses out there.” Each voucher (you can potentially have two) is co-funded by 50%, so you need to already have a budget of €2,500 for the LEO can match it.

Thousands of SMEs have already taken advantage of this grant and. You are required by the LEO to attend an information event as well as submit an application which will be evaluated by a specific set of criteria: eligibility for the scheme, value-added potential, export potential, job creation potential, financial sustainability. We work with SMEs who are applying for the LEO Trading Online Voucher and provide them with marketing advice, so they are fully prepared for the application and evaluation process.

You can apply for the voucher twice, bringing the value to €5,000

Another fantastic thing about this voucher is that you can actually apply for it twice! Once you’ve been successful in your application and completed your project (including paying your suppliers and receiving your reimbursement), you can do the whol thing again. That’s a total of €5,000 available to put into your digital marketing plan and executition.

Are you eligible to apply for the Trading Online Voucher scheme?

The criteria for small businesses looking to apply for this grant is very lenient and shouldn’t be a problem for any young business in need of financial support. To fit the profile your business must have a limited online trading presence and must be trading for at least 6 months. The grant is aimed at SMEs, so you must have 10 employees or less and a turnover which is less than €2 million. Your business must also be located in an area covered by the scheme which they describe on the LEO website as “being within the remit of the participating LEOs”.

Who cannot apply for this Local Enterprise Office grant?

This grant is not aimed at semi-state bodies, trade associations or company representation bodies. Not-for-profits are not eligible unless they operate in a commercial domain. The LEO is happy to provide you with business advice and this includes helping you decide what would be the best way to invest the grant, therefore it does not make sense for professional service companies who already have expertise in this area to apply and, therefore, they are ineligible. The same is true for any company assessed by the LEO as being capable of growing without the assistance of the scheme and this would include businesses which are already availing of similar financial support from a state body. The grant can also not be used for conferences or seminars or any projects deemed contrary to their public policy.

What can each €2,500 Trading Online Voucher be used for?

A lot, actually! Let’s have a look at exactly what the LEO says the Trading Online Voucher can be used for so you can begin to see how this will fit into your marketing strategy:

  • IT consultation
  • Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
  • Implementing online payments or booking systems
  • Purchase of Internet-related software
  • 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)
  • Development of a digital marketing strategy
  • Implementing a digital marketing strategy
  • Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an online trading activity

from localenterprise.ie

As you can see, it is a pretty all-encompassing list. The only projects they definitely say you cannot use the voucher for is for the building of brochure websites, the buying of non-internet related software and “anything other than online related activity”.

Watch their video over at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYjZh1ENCB0 (We don’t embed videos to protect your privacy. If you click on the link, a new browser tab will open YouTube, where your activity is tracked by Google as a means of compiling and maintaining your multifaceted user profile. Such profiles can be used to, for example, target you with advertising.)

What will spend your voucher on?

If you take a quick look at our services page, you’ll see we provide marketing services in areas such as social media, paid advertising, content creation, website management, SEO, reporting, and marketing consultancy. We have the expertise to help you determine what marketing activities will serve your specific type of business best and how to make your €5,000 or €10,000 budget get results. We take pride in helping local enterprises find their footing in the world of marketing and consider your success as our success too.

Thinking about growing your business by embracing online trading? Get in contact with us today to find out what our marketing services can do for you.