How to get the most from Online Trading Vouchers
There is a relatively under utilised scheme on offer through Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) called the Online Trading Vouchers Scheme. The scheme aims to encourage small businesses in Ireland to develop their digital presence. As a business looking to utilise the internet and make use of the opportunities it offers this scheme is an amazing opportunity. That said most small businesses don’t have the time to fill in one more application or fear the thoughts of having to redesign the website (if they have one) remembering the last time and all the hassle that involved.
Fortunately there is a way to have your cake and eat it. You’ll need to invest some time but the rewards will be ten fold and with the right web agency you’ll have none of the head aches you remembered from the last time! The Online Trading Vouchers scheme can work for you! The award is for 50% of allowed costs up to €2,500 so you can get a lot of ‘bang’ for your buck.
So first off, who’s eligible?
- Based in the locality of the LEO offering the voucher (Louth/ Meath/ Fingal etc)
- Have a limited online trading presence
- Employ less than 10 people
- Annual turnover of less than €2m
- Registered and trading for at least 12 months
What the vouchers cover:
- IT consultation
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- Implementation of online payments or booking systems
- Purchase of internet-related software
- Purchase of online advertising ( this purchase cannot make up more than 30% of approved Voucher costs & can only be drawn down in one payment phase )
- Developing an app or multi-platform webpages
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy, i.e., Social Media Marketing
- Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an online trading activity
To apply you need to contact your local LEO to get the ball rolling. Once you have made contact they will give you a form that needs to be filled in. Aside from the general aspects of form filling (contact details, cro number etc) the form comes down to a few free text areas that you’ll need to populate. They’re only 150 words each so no thesis writing needed.
- About your business now (brief overview of what you make / sell / do)
- Objective of Project. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, you just need to set out what you hope to do with your new online presence. Options here are:
- Greater access to international / local markets
- Diversification to other markets (eg we are B2B but we want to start offering B2C)
- Better Customer Service (We want to offer customers the ability to interact real-time and send queries)
- New Leads (Use LinkedIn and Content Marketing to bring customers to you)
- Why will you stand out online? USP’s of your products, our widgets are better quality, we’re very appealing to “x” niche market due to our expertise in “x”
- Target Market – who will be your customer. This can be generic but in reality the riches are in the niches online. Identifying a specific customer base is much more usable.
- Listing of competitors (List some competitor sites you have found, don’t list all in your locality as last thing you want to show is that you’re going to be taking business from another local business!)
- Project Scope – What will be done, this should be based on what you’ve targeted above and you will have gotten 3 quotes from web agencies for the project so expect to just summarise what they’ve said will happen.
- Expansion Potential – What will getting online offer, be realistic!
Sounds a lot but it’s not, if you’ve sat down with a web agency you’ll have all these answers already. Bear in mind you’ll need 3 quotes for the work and the agency will need to be a tax cleared etc before the grant can be paid.
Interested in having Nebula help out with the application or guide you in what to do? Just contact us in Drogheda (don’t ask us how we got an 01 number!) 01-6877144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.