Irish retailers can apply for grants to help grow online sales
Enterprise Ireland scheme will support up to 25 companies with export potential
Retail scheme: Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys at a conference in February. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
A €625,000 pilot scheme to help Irish retailers export more goods through their online shops has been launched by the Government and will be run by Enterprise Ireland.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys announced the scheme at a meeting of the Retail Consultation Forum, a grouping of retail industry and public sector bodies chaired by the Minister.
It will provide at least 25 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the retail sector with grants of €10,000-€25,000 to help improve their online capabilities and compete better internationally.
“Many retailers face increasing international competition on their doorstep and need to enhance their competitiveness,” the Minister said.
At least half of the total number of grants awarded will be reserved for retail SMEs with their headquarters outside Dublin.
The grants can be used for research, consultation, implementation and training costs and will be made on a matching funds basis. This means a grant of €25,000 will be awarded only if the company is also investing €25,000 in its online trading strategy.
To apply, the retail companies must be Irish-owned with the potential to create jobs, generate sales growth and export. They must also have an existing online presence and employ at least 20 people in the Republic.
Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon said the organisation anticipated “a good response” to the pilot scheme from eligible retailers. “There is a strong need for Irish retailers to innovate through digitalisation,” she said.
Lorraine Higgins, chief executive of industry body Retail Excellence Ireland, welcomed the scheme.
“This is a hugely welcome development and a sea change in policy as the export potential of Irish retailers is now being recognised. Having an online sales channel is critical given the boundaryless nature of the industry and this pilot will certainly enhance the sales capacity of the successful applicants.”
She said the organisation looked forward to seeing the scheme expanded in the longer term.