Cork businesses are being urged to take their slice of Ireland’s €4 billion online sales market through the launch of the Online Trading Voucher Programme. The scheme is being rolled out by the local enterprise offices in Cork City and County and offers small businesses funding to the value of €2,500 up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total cost to develop and improve their online trading presence.
With the trend ever increasing towards online spending and digital trade in Ireland growing at a rate of 16 per cent per annum, there is an urgent need for more businesses to engage in e-commerce sales. It is believed 70 per cent of online sales purchases made in Ireland are done in overseas markets.
According to Michael Hanley, Head of the Local Enterprise Office, Cork North and West, the initiative offers businesses an unmissable opportunity to engage in the hugely powerful market of online sales. “With the digital economy in Ireland set to grow to €21 billion by 2017, firms can no longer ignore the internet,” he stated. “Trading online offers a major opportunity to Cork retailers and SMEs, at a time when growth in these sectors is badly needed.
“Irish consumers currently spend about €4bn per year online, but only a quarter of that goes to Irish businesses, and only 23pc of Irish SMEs are trading online. International research shows that SMEs who adopt online trading grow twice as fast and export twice as much as their offline competitors.
“Our role as Local Enterprise Offices is to assist and support the micro-business community and this scheme is just one of the many initiatives offered.”
To apply for the funding, applicants must attend one of the upcoming Information Seminars to learn how to get the best value and use of the voucher.
The Online Trading Voucher Programme is supported by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources through the National Digital Strategy which aims to get a further 2,000 businesses trading online by the end of 2015. The initiative is targeted at businesses that are trading for over 12 months and have a limited online trading presence; less than 10 employees and a turnover less than €2 million.
The voucher can be used for the development or upgrade of an e-commerce website such as implementing online payments or booking systems. Other usage includes; purchase of Internet related software, online advertising, development of an app, implementation of a digital marketing strategy, training/skills development to establish and manage an online trading activity.
Information Seminars will be held on Friday, July, 25, 9.30am – 1.30pm, Mallow GAA Complex, Mallow; Wednesday, July 30, 9.30am – 1.30pm, Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery.
For more information or to apply for the Online Trading Voucher Programme call (023) 8834700 or visit www.localenterprise.ie/corknorthandwest.