Thursday, 25 October 2018

Ceisteanna (208)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

208. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount allocated to the retail online scheme in 2019. [44497/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Retail is the largest private sector employer in the country, and supports jobs in every city, town and village in the country. Digitalisation has increased the scope for competition in the sector, and online retailing has grown rapidly in Ireland.

As Chair of the Retail Consultation Forum I am committed to supporting the needs of the retail sector in developing their online capability and enhancing their competitiveness. In 2017, data from the CSO showed that while 66% of Irish enterprises in the Wholesale and Retail Sector reported having a website or homepage, only 28% were able to facilitate online ordering. All businesses, regardless of size or sector, in today’s competitive environment must ensure to build their digital online capability.

The Retail Consultation Forum enables key issues affecting the retail sector to be discussed, with a view to identifying practical actions which could be taken by Government, or by industry itself, to support sustainable job growth in the sector. The new pilot Online Retail Scheme, administered by Enterprise Ireland for my Department, is a result of the work of the Forum's Working Group on the Digital Economy. My Department has worked closely with the Forum over the past two years to develop this scheme in line with the needs of the sector.

The pilot Scheme was launched in September with a fund of up to €625,000, which was later doubled to €1.25m as part of Budget 2019. The Online Retail Scheme will support retail businesses of 20 employees or more who are ready to strategically grow their online capability, under the areas of research, strategy development, implementation and training. The first call under the Scheme which will provide funding of up to €625,000 opened on the 24th October. The amount allocated to the scheme in 2019 is €1.25m.

The full details of the Scheme are published on the Enterprise Ireland website.