Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Trading Online Voucher Scheme

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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769. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount allocated to LEOs for the trading online voucher scheme; if the scheme is close to capacity in counties Longford and Westmeath; if further funding will be allocated should there be more demand for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10664/20]

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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770. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will consider allocating additional funding to the trading online voucher scheme in counties Sligo and Leitrim in view of the unprecedented levels of interest for funding from small and microbusinesses in particular due to Covid-19 and a move to online trading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10677/20]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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771. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to resume the trading online voucher scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10782/20]

Steven Matthews (Wicklow, Green Party)
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772. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to instances within local enterprise offices by which local businesses have been informed that the funding for the trading online voucher scheme has dried up and businesses that meet all the criteria have been unable to access the scheme. [10791/20]

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
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773. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he plans to reinstate the small business website design grant of €2,500 in view of the fact the local enterprise offices stopped accepting applications on 15 May 2020. [10792/20]

Photo of Jennifer Murnane O'ConnorJennifer Murnane O'Connor (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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774. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the online trading voucher scheme has been cancelled (details supplied). [10815/20]

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin Bay South, Sinn Fein)
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775. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if there a shortage of funds for the trading online voucher; the funding allocated to the scheme; the amount allocated to each local enterprise board nationally for the scheme; and the reason so many persons are being refused funding through the scheme. [10992/20]

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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776. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to provide sufficient funds to the local enterprise boards and Údarás na Gaeltachta to meet all the qualifying demands for the trading online voucher scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11254/20]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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778. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the trading online voucher of €2,500 is still available in each local enterprise office nationally; if additional funding will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11493/20]

Photo of Bríd SmithBríd Smith (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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791. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the funding allocated and available for the online voucher trading scheme for small businesses; his plans to increase available funding; if his attention has been drawn to problems in Dublin City Council areas with administering the scheme with businesses being refused or told the scheme is oversubscribed after they have completed the application process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10879/20]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 769 to 776, inclusive, 778 and 791 together.

The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is funded by my Department and delivered nationwide in partnership with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Enterprise Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices and Údarás na Gaeltachta. The Scheme offers skills training, mentoring and a grant of up to €2,500 to help small and micro-businesses to develop their ecommerce capability.

New flexibilities to the Scheme were introduced on 8 April 2020 including reducing the requirement for co-funding from 50% to 10% and allowing businesses to apply for a second voucher of up to €2,500 where they have successfully utilised their first one. In addition funding for the Scheme was increased from €2.3m to €5.6m. There has been a positive response to these changes and significant uptake of the Scheme.

On 8 June further funding of €14.2m, including an allocation of €0.6m for Údarás na Gaeltachta, was announced for the Scheme bringing the total funding allocation in 2020 to €19.8m.

My Department continues to engage with the respective departments and agencies regarding demand for the Scheme.

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