Minister Damien English launches new €5.5 million COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme

Minister Damien English launches new €5.5 million COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, today launched a new €5.5 million COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme as announced in the government’s July Jobs Stimulus package.

The new fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland, on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and will support retail businesses to enhance their digital capability, drive online sales and grow their customer base.

Targeted at indigenous retailers with a pre-existing online presence, this fund will accelerate their online offerings to respond to both domestic and international consumer demand.

The grant can be used to fund fees for service providers, to develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training, and to enhance the retailer’s website and related systems.

Successful applicants will receive a grant of up to 80% of project costs, with these grants ranging from €10,000 to a maximum of €40,000.

Speaking at the launch of the new scheme in Great Outdoors in Dublin, Minister English said:

“The government has been listening to retailers across the country and it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make it an urgent priority for businesses to accelerate the growth of their online offering. For many retailers, developing their online sales channel for consumers has been a long-term goal prior to the pandemic.

“As Minister, I am determined to support that ambition and assist our retailers to increase their digital presence and boost online sales allowing them to target new and existing customers and shoppers in the online space.

“I know the difference grants such as these are making in hundreds of businesses throughout the country. Retailers are seizing the opportunity to significantly enhance their online shopfronts and complement their traditional presence. The increased customers and revenue make an important contribution to the bottom line. It also provides consumers with more opportunities to support local businesses in their community, even when shopping online.”

Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland, said: 

“Enterprise Ireland was pleased to see additional funding for the Online Retail Scheme announced as part of the July Jobs Stimulus package. At the beginning of July, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment announced funding for 185 companies under the previous COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme. To see significant funding provided so rapidly again for this successful initiative will be warmly welcomed in the sector.

“This scheme is boosting retail businesses throughout Ireland. The last funding round saw more than two thirds of grants going to companies outside Dublin. It is an important measure as the retail sector throughout Ireland looks to reopen and provide a safe and secure shopping environment for customers, both in store and online.”

Great Outdoors successfully applied for an Online Retail Scheme grant in a previous call. Derek Moody, Owner and Director at Great Outdoors, said:

“The opportunities this scheme presented to our business have been eye opening. Prior to applying to the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme, online business was already very important to Great Outdoors. However, we were at a stage where significant investment was required to take the business to the next level. This opportunity came at exactly the right moment and, as a result, we are much further ahead with our projected timeline for online development.

“The application process was incredibly straight forward and we are now working with a superior platform, we have developed our skillset and we are exploring new markets. We have also recruited two new staff members for the online team.”

The COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme opens for applications on Monday, 31 August 2020 and closes at 3pm on Monday, 28 September 2020. Find further information and how to apply here.