Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Trading Online Voucher Scheme
246. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will report on the operation and eligibility criteria of the 2020 trading online voucher scheme; the breakdown of the allocation and number of recipients by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44198/20]
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is managed by my Department and delivered nationwide in partnership with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Enterprise Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and Údarás na Gaeltachta. The Scheme offers advice and peer-to-peer support and a grant of up to €2,500 to help small and micro-businesses to develop their ecommerce capability. To be eligible to apply under the Scheme an applicant business must have a limited online trading presence; 10 or less employees; turnover of less than €2m;and must be trading for at least 6 months.
The Scheme was launched nationally in mid-2014. By end 2019, some 6,400 small and micro businesses had completed, or were in the process of completing their trading online projects. In addition, 19,000 or so business owners-managers had benefitted from advice and peer-to-peer support through their participation in the information seminars delivered by the LEOs under the Scheme.
In response to Covid-19, funding for the Scheme in 2020 was increased from €2.3m to €39.8m, and new flexibilities were introduced including reducing the requirement for co-funding and allowing businesses to apply for a second voucher where they have successfully utilised their first one.
The table below outlines the number of applications received and applications approved under the Scheme by the LEOs over the period 1 January to 9 December 2020, and value of such approvals.
Trading Online Voucher Scheme - 1 January 2020 to 9 December 2020
|LEOs||Applications received||Applications Approved||Value of Approvals |
Responsibility for the Scheme will transfer from my Department to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment at the end of the month.