Looking for an Ecommerce Website Grant?

If you’re planning to build a website and it’s going to have some ecommerce involved, then check out the Online Trading Voucher Scheme from your Local Enterprise Office (LEO). You can get 50% of the cost of the site up to a maximum of €2,500 excluding VAT. So, if you want to make a website with a pay an invoice form or selling a small number of products, your €5k + VAT site could only cost you half that. Here’s the link to the application form and information from Laois LEO, but it’s the same for all LEOs across the country.

There are some conditions.

The business must have:

– Limited Online Trading presence;

– 10 or less employees;

– Turnover less than €2m;

– Applicant business must be trading for at least 12 months;

– Business must be located in the area covered by this phase of the scheme i.e. within the remit of the participating LEOs.

Here’s how it works:

The voucher is a financial incentive to small businesses to develop or enhance their ability to trade online. Under the scheme a qualifying business may apply for matched funding to a maximum value of €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure (exclusive of VAT), whichever is the lesser. Following approval of their application, a successful applicant can engage suppliers and upon completion of the work, submit a request for payment to the LEO in line with the terms and conditions of their voucher.

Information seminars will be available to prospective applicants to support them in their application process and it will be a condition of applying for the vouchers that applicants attend one of these seminars. At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the voucher.

The application process for the vouchers will be a competitive process.

What projects are ineligible for the scheme?

– Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, trade associations and company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce are not eligible to participate in the scheme;

– “Not for profit” and social entrepreneurship applicants unless they operate in a commercial domain;

– 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 otherState 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 can you spend the money on?

– 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 multiplatform webpages);

– Development of a digital marketing strategy;

– Implementing a digital marketing strategy;

– Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an online trading activity.

What can you not spend the money on?

– Development of brochure websites; (no ecommerce on the site)

– Purchase of non-internet related software like PhotoShop or anti-virus software;

– Anything other than online trading related activity.

Are there terms and conditions?– Voucher approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense;

– Own labour is not an eligible expense;

– Third party costs only will be considered;

– All third party/supplier invoices must contain proper business details (e.g. tax or business registration details or proof that the supplier is a registered business in the territory in which the supplier is located).

OK, so what’s the voucher application and drawdown process?

– Read the terms & conditions;

– If satisfied you are eligible and wish to apply register to attend an information event;

– Attend information session;

– Submit copy of completed and signed application form in hard copy to your local LEO;

– Soft copy of completed application to be supplied by email to your local LEO.

Evaluation

– Evaluation of applications will be conducted by each LEO who will make recommendations for approval;

– An evaluation committee will assess the applications and make recommendations for approval;

– A competitive process will be put in place to assist with selection process. Selection of successful applicant will be based on the following criteria:

  •  Eligibility for scheme;
  • Value added potential;
  • Export potential;
  • Job creation potential;
  • Financial Sustainability.

– Record decisions and report to the Local Enterprise Office approvals committee;

– As part of the application process, applicants will be required to attend aninformation session on how to use and get the best value for money from the voucher.

What next?

– If your application is successful, a letter of offer will be sent to you for you to forward to your preferred supplier.

– The voucher is a letter of offer which is sent to the successful applicant;

– Letter of offer signed, accepted and returned;

– Successful applicant has four months to complete the work as per their application.

And then?

Payment will be made directly to the successful applicant upon satisfactory receipt of the following:

– Applicant and supplier(s) sign declaration on the voucher and submit to Local Enterprise Office (LEO);

– Applicant submits:

  • copy of their Company Registration Office (CRO) registration;
  • an up to date tax clearance certificate ;
  • the original invoice from the supplier(s), with supplier(s) CRO or Tax Registration or VAT details (or proof supplier is a registered business in the territory in which the supplier is located) when submitting claim for payment;
  • Bank statement(s) showing proof of payment from the client company to supplier(s).
  • Declaration of project completion by supplier(s);

– All work must be completed and paid for prior to claim.

Payments will only be made with relation to approved expenses which form part of this application form.
All successful applicants agree that they will allow reference be made to them in case study materials, which may be used to promote the voucher scheme more widely.

Is there any follow up?

By accepting a Trading Online Voucher, successful applicants agree to report on online trading from participation in the scheme, again in 6 months and at annual intervals up to three years thereafter. Reporting will include: jobs (new or reallocated), increased turnover, exports and/or domestic market expansion, reduced costs and expected follow on investment. This may be conducted by Local Enterprise Offices, Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment or approved independent evaluators.

Suppliers will be required to report on the impact of their products and services supplied to the applicant business.

– Reporting will include how their product or service enabled trading online, improved business performance, reduced cost, opened markets etc.

Contact hello@modus.ie or call 1890 202107 for more information.

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