The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment has proposed a further call for Online Retail Scheme applications, aiming to encourage the retail sector in Ireland to develop a more competitive online offer that will enable an increase in their customer base and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace both online and offline.
This is a Competitive Fund which will be administered by Enterprise Ireland with a total fund size of €9.3m.
- Call Open date: Thursday 5th May 2022
- Call Close date: Wednesday 1st June 2022 at 12pm (noon)
Who can apply?
The applicant must be an Irish based retail enterprise that has 10 or more full-time employees and has the potential to sustain or create jobs, generate growth in online transactions and with an ambition to internationalise their business in future. An application must be submitted in the name of a company registered with the Companies Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application. The business must also:
- have an existing online presence (e.g. website or social media)
- have a retail store and derive the majority of company revenue from retailing products directly to individual consumers:
- Where a company provides both products and services, the applicant must provide a breakdown of sales revenue showing that products account for more than 50% of total revenue for a recent trading period, which may be up to the call close date
- Where a company has a mixture of business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) operations, the applicant must provide a breakdown of sales revenue showing that sales from B2C activities account for more than 50% of total revenue for a recent trading period, which may be up to the call close date
- employ at least 10 employees in the Republic of Ireland on a full-time equivalent basis in the latest accounting period or has grown to this level since that date (up to the date of current call)
Successful applicants from previous calls are eligible to re-apply under this call, once they have
- substantially completed the project funded,
- proposed a clearly different project to that undertaken under a previous approval.
The Scheme is NOT open to the following – read carefully
- Companies that do not have a physical retail store
- Companies which are currently clients of Enterprise Ireland and are eligible for other funding assistance from Enterprise Ireland
- Projects which do not propose significant additional functionality to the online presence of the applicant company will be considered ineligible
- The minimum project expenditure is €20,000. Applications with expenditure below €20,000 will be considered ineligible. For first time applicants, the grant is calculated at a maximum of 80% of eligible expenditure of up to €80,000. For applicants who were awarded funding in the previous Online Retail scheme calls, the grant is calculated at a maximum of 50% of eligible expenditure of up to €80,000.
- Companies primarily operating a business-to-business (B2B) model
- Companies where the principal business activity is the provision of a service rather than retail of products. Examples typically include, and please note that this list is not exhaustive, mechanics, fitting of tyres, tattoo artists, funeral directors, medical, dental, veterinary, accountancy, legal services, travel agents, grooming and beauty services, hair salons etc.). Where a company provides both products and services, the applicant must provide a breakdown of sales revenue showing that products account for more than 50% of total revenue for a recent trading period which may be up to the call close date.
- Companies where the principal business activity is the provision of financial services and products (e.g. mortgage, insurance brokers etc.)
- Car and vehicle dealerships
- Companies where the principal business activity is the wholesale or re-sale of goods to other businesses or construction trade professionals
- Companies which are primarily marketing or buying groups acting on behalf of retail stores
- Franchisees of retailers for whom the franchisor provides material online assistance. If you are operating under a franchise, please ensure that you provide clarity in your application as to the nature of your relationship with the franchisor i.e. what online and offline help is provided by them
- Companies active in the primary production of agricultural products, fishery and aquaculture
- Companies active in the provision of hospitality and leisure services (e.g. hotels, guest houses, restaurants, coffee shops etc.)
- Companies active in the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages where consumed on the retail premises
- Sole Traders with a business name registered with the Companies Registration Office
- Applications which include or relate to activities that Enterprise Ireland considers as ineligible or as involving an unacceptable reputational risk. Ineligible activities include activities relating to: the gambling sector, including ‘gaming’ (as defined in the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956), adult entertainment, tobacco products and cannabis-based products which are not authorised as medicines;
- Companies which are part of a group structure with the same ultimate ownership may only submit one application for the group
- Applicants who were approved any other State or EU funding for the project for which they are seeking funding
- Companies which have already reached their De Minimis aid limit
Typical elements involved in developing a sophisticated and transactional online presence include:
- In-depth analysis of the company’s current and potential online presence and capabilities, target audience and brand. This research should help the applicant make informed decisions about e.g. optimisation of online marketing channels, web functionality, payment systems specification, catalogue presentation, supply chain management, consolidated inventory systems, order fulfilment and consumer experience.
- Development of a written digital strategy and a roadmap for implementation including resource and business process considerations
- Identifying how the company’s value proposition should be demonstrated online, what aspects should be emphasised and how best to present this to online customers
- Ensuring that the company’s online presence is being fully utilised / optimised to fulfil its overall potential, supporting the overall business strategy
- Consideration of omnichannel offering (including marketplaces and social media).
- Optimising the company’s online presence to ensure domestic and international visibility (e.g. web enhancement and localisation, associated business process enhancements, search engine optimisation etc.)
- Enhancing related “back end” systems (e.g. product presentation, supply chain management, systems integration to improve consumer experience etc.).
- In-house Training and/or consultancy help for knowledge transfer to the team and internal project champion to maintain a robust online retail operation, for example, e-marketing, catalogue management, e-commerce systems etc.
Eligible costs include:
- Salary costs of a company’s Internal Champion who is an individual either at a manager level or supported by the management team in their work on the project with an external service provider. The costs to support the salary of the project champion must not exceed the External Service Provider costs. A maximum of 1 internal champion per company is eligible for salary costs
- Fees of established External Service Provider(s) to develop a digital strategy
- Fees of established External Service Provider(s) to further develop / enhance the company’s transactional website or online presence. The grant must be used to introduce additional functionality and
- Training Course fees are not eligible, however in-house training provided by an External Service Provider to enable a company develop and maintain a robust online retail operation are eligible. This could include training for CMS, eMarketing, catalogue management, e-commerce systems, SEO, etc.
Ineligible costs include:
- Upgrades to existing online channels that would happen anyway or could be considered business as usual
- The purchase of hardware e.g. laptops, studio equipment, cameras, leasing of vehicles, etc
- The purchase of “off the shelf” software package licences or subscriptions e.g. for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Shopify monthly subscription fee, etc
- The funding of online advertising campaigns e.g. pay per click/banner ad campaigns – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc
- Offline marketing costs e.g. brochures, printing, materials for events, models, vehicle signage etc
- External training course fees (unless provided in-house by your chosen External Service Provider)
- Any expenditure incurred prior to the close of the call is not eligible for support.
When is the call closing date?
- 1st June 2022 at 12pm (noon)
Call us today on +35315242100 getting your application ready.