Trading online is a very important route for retail businesses to grow and improve their business in the current crisis and will be an important element in their recovery over the longer term. The Local Enterprise Offices continue to offer the very successful Trading Online Voucher Scheme which offers financial assistance in the form of a Voucher of up to €2,500 in order to procure expert consultancy advice on trading on-line including website management and is delivered along with training and advice to help business trade online.
My Department also funds, through Enterprise Ireland, the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme in response to the COVID-19 crisis for companies which are indigenous retailers, employing 10 or more people, have an existing online presence (e.g. website or social media), and have a retail outlet through which they derive the majority of their revenue.
185 retailers were funded under the Call One of the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme, with a total of €6.6 million awarded. 145 retailers were funded under Call Two the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme, with a total of €5.3m awarded.
The Report of the SME Taskforce "SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Plan" which was published last month sets out a wide range of recommendations with long-term strategic relevance for SMEs and entrepreneurs. The recommendations in the Report include measures to support the digitalisation of small and medium businesses. The Report's recommendations will be reviewed and taken forward, as appropriate, by a Ministerial-led SME and Entrepreneurship Implementation Group over the coming months, including those related to the uptake of competitive digital transformation schemes.