Minister Damien English at the Online Retail Scheme launch at Navan Hire and Hardware
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, is urging Irish based retail businesses in Louth to enhance their online capability and presence in order to exploit new opportunities to increase turnover, to expand and to sell internationally.
The Minister has launched a new round of the Online Retail Scheme which supports ambitious Irish based retailers looking to grow and improve sales online and to strengthen their ecommerce capabilities.
The Scheme provides direct financial support to retail companies to develop a more competitive online business offering to complement their in-store offering. It is administered by Enterprise Ireland and there is €9.3m available in this round of funding.
Minister English outlined the potential of online trading, saying:
“I want Irish based retailers to have every chance of competing for online sales that are currently going outside the country. There is no reason why Irish businesses cannot successfully compete for home sales as well as international sales.
"The Government is also determined to support more business owners to enhance their online capabilities and presence to exploit opportunities in existing and new markets.
“The transition to online shopping was accelerated over the last two years and consumers retail habits have changed significantly. Many now make purchases anytime, anywhere, anyplace at the tip of their fingers or with the click of a mouse.
"It makes sound business sense to have an omnichannel approach to selling in order to cater for these new demands and to be competitive in the market.
“Almost all previous recipients of funding in this Scheme noted an increase in online sales, many in international markets and the vast majority have hired additional employees to manage their increase in online sales.”
In order to be eligible for this funding, applicant companies must have 10 or more full-time employees and an existing online presence.
Salary costs of an internal project champion can be partially covered by this support.
This person can be any employee who has the support of the management to take on this responsibility, and will work with an external service provider on the project.
Previous applicants of the Online Retail Scheme who were unsuccessful will be eligible to reapply under this call with a modified proposal.
Applicants who were successful in previous calls are also eligible to re-apply under this round of the scheme, once they propose a project that is clearly different from their previous applications.
Jenny Melia, Manager of Technology & Services, Enterprise Ireland, said:
“There have been over 500 successful approvals under the Online Retail Scheme. Companies applying for funding are future-proofing their business as they will be able to cater for multiple different shoppers.
“We are encouraging applicants to show us clear objectives for their digital projects, and we want them to demonstrate the impact these changes would have on their business. We are also encouraging applicant companies to assign an Internal Project Champion amongst their team, as this is an investment for them to build the in-house digital capabilities of employees.”
Minister English concluded:
“The success of the Scheme is evident from the broad spectrum of retailers right across the country who have received funding to date to make the digital transition. Successful applicants in the past include retailers in jewellery, fashion, sports, homeware, furniture, healthcare, hardware, electrical goods and equipment.”
Carroll’s Hallmark store, along with the Giftme.ie website, is a family run business based in Louth, which operates a number of greeting card and gift stores for almost 50 years. Carroll’s Hallmark successfully applied for an Online Retail Scheme grant in a previous call and David Carroll, the owner of Carroll’s Hallmark and Giftme.ie, said:
“This scheme offered us access to expertise and reassurance required to formalise a roadmap for our online offering to improve and expand our digital capabilities. The support we have received from the Online Retail Scheme means that we now have a steady stream of revenue coming in online which compliments our bricks and mortar stores and gives our customers another option to shop with us. This in turn, has given us a much stronger brand presence in our sector.”
McKenna Man sells casual and formal menswear and has shops across the northeast in Dundalk, Drogheda and Navan. McKenna Man successfully applied for an Online Retail Scheme grant in a previous call and Conor McKenna, Director of McKenna Man, said:
“The impact of the Online Retail Scheme on the business has been very significant and hugely positive. McKenna Man, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, has built a built a strong digital presence and ecommerce offering, with online sales now being a very significant element of our business model and its overall revenue. We’d strongly encourage any business that is interested in improving or expanding their online presence to consider applying for this scheme.”
The Online Retail Scheme is open for applications now and closes on Wednesday, 1 June 2022 at 12pm (noon). Find further information and how to apply at www.enterprise-ireland.com/retail.
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