How to Get a Grant in Ireland to Set up a Website for your Business

According to Local Enterprise Office Ireland, 70% of all online purchases made in the country are done in markets outside of Ireland. By being a small country, it is said to be more difficult to reach the market, but since Ireland is such a high tech country, it is expected that a higher percentage of Irish consumers spend more within the country's online businesses. Another statistics is a bit worrying: according to this same institution, only 23% of small businesses in Ireland are exploring the huge potential of setting up a website for their business. It's surprising to face this numbers when you take into consideration that this tiny country hosts Internet giants like Facebook and Google.

Interestingly, this extremely high rate of oversea purchase made by the Irish doesn't seem to be observed in other countries with a social and financial reality similar to Ireland. In fact, other English speaking countries are doing pretty well with their national online markets. In the UK, for example, 93 percent of adults who had bought online in the year of 2017 had done so from online sellers in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. You may argue that this is a result of the UK being a massive market, but if you look at the Kiwis, for example, they're doing pretty well. Only 34 percent of the total amount New Zealanders spend shopping online is spent overseas, according to Nielsen. Let's just clarify that both Ireland and New Zealand are pretty similar nations; their population is of 4.8million inhabitants and their GDP and HDI are also comparable.

Ireland, however, which is such a massive hub of technology should be dealing better with its national e-commerce business. Thinking of that, the government has decided to fund entitled merchants with a website development grant: The Local Enterprise Office - Online Trading Voucher. This program is apparently quite easy to get and there is not harm in trying if you are eligible. Let's just put this straight; there is a lot of potential in Ireland for e-commerce. The economy is warmed up, Irish people do have a huge purchase power and are willing to spend money. It could be you luring these sales into the Irish economy, right?

The Local Enterprise Office admits “there is a critical need to encourage small Irish businesses to develop their digital presence to avoid missed opportunities.” Together with the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR), the Local Enterprise Office has come to the idea of a grant scheme, as part of the National Digital Strategy.

These institutions have then created the Trading Online Voucher. This grant is an once-off voucher in the total value of €2,500 or 50% of total eligible expenditure. To be eligible for this attempting voucher, however, you have to have a small business, and we present now the eligibility criteria, as seen on Local Enterprise Office's website.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Vouchers will be available to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (Exclusive of VAT), whichever is the lesser.
  • Voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense.
  • Own labour is not an eligible expense.
  • Only third-party costs will be considered.
  • All third party/supplier invoices must contain proper business details (e.g. Tax and Business Registration details).

Eligible Projects

  • Limited Online Trading presence.
  • Less than 10 employees.
  • Turnover less than €2m.
  • Applicant business must be registered and must have been trading for at least 12 months.

Ineligible Projects

  • Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, “not for profit” organisations, trade associations and company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce are not eligible to participate in the innovation voucher initiative.
  • Professional services specialising in IT type services who are already capable of trading online using existing in-house systems.
  • Conferences and Seminars.
  • Projects which are contrary to public policy.
  • Duplication of support for projects which would be eligible for assistance from other State Agencies of EU funded Operational Programmes.
  • Projects with employees in excess of 10 people.
  • Projects deemed to be capable of proceeding in any event without scheme assistance i.e. deadweight.
  • Projects essentially comprising importation and distribution.

What the Vouchers CAN be used for

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 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 on-line trading activity.

What the vouchers CANNOT be used for

Development of brochure websites.

Purchase of non-internet related software.

Anything other than online trading related activity.

How To Apply

Simply click this link and read the information on how to apply for the voucher. Best of luck!