The first call of the Enterprise Ireland Online Retail Scheme opens for applications on Wednesday, 24 October. The new €1.25 million fund is targeted at online retailers to encourage acceleration of their online offerings. It will remain open for six weeks, closing to applications at 3.00pm on Wednesday, 5 December 2018.
The fund, which was launched by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD in September, is an initiative of the Government of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland and will provide up to €25,000 in funding to up to 25 retailers, amounting to €625,000 in this first call. The purpose is to support online retailers to enhance their online sales capabilities to increase competitiveness and subsequently scale their businesses in international markets.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD said: “The retail sector is lucrative and highly competitive, and it is important that we encourage its sustained growth by providing the mechanisms with which retailers can actively develop wider offerings online. My Department is committed to delivering the objectives of Ireland’s enterprise strategy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed which aims to support the creation and sustainability of quality jobs across Ireland, and to increase Irish businesses’ trading capabilities in response to external challenges like Brexit. Aligned with this, the Online Retail Scheme is intended to enable Irish retailers to effectively compete with international companies to expand their reach overseas and develop a wider customer base.”
The scheme is a pilot initiative developed in response to the current challenges around online capability within the retail sector. The fund will provide grants between €10,000 and €25,000 on a match fund basis with the specific purpose of enhancing digital capability. The total fund size is €1.25m and areas for funding include research, strategy development, implementation and training.
Stephen Hughes, Head of Consumer, Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting Irish companies to realize their global ambition by providing the mentoring and financial support necessary to scale in international markets. Ireland’s retail sector is a primary contributor to our economy, both nationally and at a regional level but it is under significant pressure, particularly from international competitors with the digital means to extend their reach to Irish consumers. By delivering the Online Retail Scheme, we intend to support Irish retailers to innovate and through innovation, to increase their competitiveness and enhance their online presence.”
The Online Retail Scheme is open to applications from retail SMEs with 20 – 249 employees (FTEs) based across the island of Ireland, and who have a retail outlet.
Stephen Hughes said: “Regional development is a significant pillar of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy and we understand the role played by retail SMEs in regional communities. To this end, once the fund criteria is met, at least half of the total number of funds will be awarded to Irish retail businesses based outside of Dublin.”