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Boost Your Business with the Trading Online Voucher in Ireland

trading online voucher

Having a strong online presence is essential in the success of any business. Small business owners in Ireland now have an incredible opportunity to enhance their online trading capabilities through the Trading Online Voucher (TOV) scheme. This government-funded initiative is designed to assist micro-enterprises in developing their website and digital strategy. In this post, we’re exploring why small business owners in Ireland should avail of the Trading Online Voucher and how it can benefit their business.

Understanding the Trading Online Voucher Scheme

The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is a financial assistance program that provides grants of up to €2500 to eligible small businesses to develop their online trading capabilities. The scheme aims to help businesses enhance their digital presence, expand their customer reach, and increase sales through online channels.

To be eligible for the Trading Online Voucher, businesses must meet certain criteria. These include having a limited online trading presence, employing less than 10 people, and having a turnover of less than €2 million. Additionally, businesses must have been trading for at least 6 months and be located in the catchment area of a Local Enterprise Office they are applying to.

The Benefits of Availing of the Trading Online Voucher

Availing the Trading Online Voucher offers numerous benefits for small business owners in Ireland, including:

1. Financial Assistance

One of the primary benefits of the Trading Online Voucher is the financial assistance it provides. With grants of up to €2500, small businesses can invest in developing their website, implementing online payment systems, purchasing internet-related software, and even online advertising. This financial support makes it more affordable for businesses to enhance their online trading capabilities.

2. Expert Consultation

Through the Trading Online Voucher scheme, small business owners have access to expert consultation services. These services can help businesses develop or upgrade their e-commerce website, implement online booking systems, and even develop mobile applications or multiplatform webpages. With the guidance of these experts, businesses can ensure that their online presence aligns with industry best practices and attracts their target audience.

3. Digital Marketing Strategy Development

A digital marketing strategy is the foundation for successful marketing. The Trading Online Voucher allows businesses to invest in the development and implementation of a robust digital marketing strategy. This includes activities such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and online advertising. By leveraging these strategies, businesses can increase their visibility online, attract more customers, and ultimately boost sales.

4. Training and Skills Development

Small business owners often face challenges when it comes to managing online trading activities. The Trading Online Voucher scheme addresses this issue by providing training and skills development opportunities. As part of your TOV, you can arrange digital training in areas such as web design or social media as part of your project to enhance your online presence.

5. Reach New Markets

Expanding into new markets is a key objective for many small businesses. By availing of the Trading Online Voucher, businesses can leverage digital platforms to reach new customers both locally and globally. With an enhanced online presence, businesses can overcome geographical limitations and tap into new markets they may not have been able to access through traditional brick-and-mortar operations.

Eligibility Criteria for the Trading Online Voucher

To avail of the Trading Online Voucher, businesses must meet specific eligibility criteria. These criteria ensure that the scheme is targeted towards micro-enterprises that can benefit the most from enhanced online trading capabilities. Here are the key eligibility criteria:

  • Limited online trading presence
  • Less than 10 employees
  • Turnover less than €2 million
  • Minimum trading period of 6 months
  • Located within the catchment area of a participating Local Enterprise Office (LEO)
  • Exclusions based on NACE codes (The NACE code of a business is checked via CRO registration)

Businesses need to review the eligibility criteria thoroughly before applying for the voucher.

Ineligible Businesses and Exclusions

While the Trading Online Voucher scheme offers great opportunities for small businesses, certain types of businesses are ineligible or excluded from participating in the scheme. These include:

  1. Companies with charitable status or commercial semi-state companies
  2. Trade associations or company representation bodies
  3. Chambers of Commerce
  4. Professional services specializing in IT services already capable of trading online using existing in-house systems
  5. Businesses involved in activities contrary to public policy or that pose reputational risks (e.g., gambling or adult entertainment)
  6. Businesses involved in the sale of tobacco products, cannabis-based products not authorized as medicines or other prohibited products
  7. Duplicate support projects that are already eligible for assistance from State Agencies or EU-funded Operational Programmes
  8. Projects that are essentially comprised of importation or distribution activities

Businesses need to ensure that they fall within the eligible categories before applying for the Trading Online Voucher.

How to Apply for the Trading Online Voucher

Applying for the Trading Online Voucher involves a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Attend the Trading Online Voucher Information Webinar: Small business owners who wish to avail of the voucher must attend an obligatory Trading Online Voucher Information webinar. During this webinar, attendees will learn about the purpose of the scheme, how to make the best use of it, and how to get value from their application.
  2. Submit an Application Form: Only individuals who have attended the webinar and meet the eligibility criteria will be sent an application form to apply for the voucher.

It’s essential to keep in mind that there is a deadline for submitting the application form after attending the webinar. Businesses must apply for the voucher within six months of attending the webinar.

You Can Apply For A Second Voucher!

If you have already availed of a Trading Online Voucher it’s important to note that you can apply for a second, ideal if you have used the first for your website and now need support with SEO or Strategy.

The Trading Online Voucher scheme presents an incredible opportunity for small business owners in Ireland to enhance their online trading capabilities. By availing of this grant, businesses can receive financial assistance, expert consultation, and training to develop their website and digital strategy effectively.

With an improved online presence, businesses can reach new markets, increase sales, and stay competitive in today’s digital landscape. If you’re a small business owner in Ireland looking to boost your business’s online trading capabilities, don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity provided by the Trading Online Voucher scheme.

At The Marketing Shop, we can assist you with your Trading Online Voucher and have worked with lots of clients who have been successful in their applications in areas including Digital Strategy, Social Media, and WordPress Web Design. Schedule a call here or pop an email to debbie@themarketingshop.ie to start making a difference in your business.