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Government launches €2m Covid-19 scheme to get retailers online

The Government is seeking applications for a new scheme to help boost the online presence of retail businesses affected by Covid-19.

Launched on the 30th April by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is now seeking applications from small retail companies looking to boost their digital presence.

The €2m fund will be open to retailers in Ireland with a physical store and employing more than 10 people. Successful applicants will receive financial support of up to 80pc of eligible project costs, with funding ranging from €10,000 to €40,000.

Operated by Enterprise Ireland, the fund is targeted at national retailers with a pre-existing online presence to accelerate their online offerings to respond to both domestic and international consumer demand. The funding can be used for service provider fees, developing a digital strategy or enhancing the retailer’s website.

The Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is complementary to the €2,500 Trading Online Vouchers provided through the Local Enterprise Offices for companies with less than 10 employees.

‘Exceptional pressure on the sector’

The Government said that applications for the scheme will remain open until 3pm on Wednesday 27 May 2020.

“By introducing the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, I want to support indigenous Irish retailers to sustain their business through the crisis and into the future,” Humphreys said.

“It is one of two online trading schemes that has received additional funding to support firms in this difficult period. Online trading will stand to your company for years to come. It will boost your revenue and make your business more resilient, and I would strongly encourage all retailers not already trading online to get online.”

Stephen Hughes, head of consumer retail at Enterprise Ireland, said the Covid-19 emergency has “put exceptional pressure on the sector in Ireland”.

He added that the funding will “help support retailers who have found they will have to rapidly adapt their approach to meet an increase in consumer demand and enable online ordering and delivery to meet the new reality of home working and physical distancing restrictions”.

The scheme was first announced by Humphreys earlier this month, as part of the €1bn worth of supports planned for Irish SMEs affected by Covid-19. Other schemes include the €180m Sustaining Enterprise Fund to assist companies in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors.

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