For Oral Answer on : 15/09/2021
Question Number(s): 53 Question Reference(s): 43381/21
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the funding provided under the online retail scheme to date by county; if further funding rounds are being considered as part of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the largest private sector employer, and a key element in providing for the needs of society and indeed other sectors of the economy, it is vital that retail continues to develop capability and remain competitive.
Trading online is a very important route for retail businesses to grow and improve and will be an important element in their recovery over the longer term. I welcome the significant progress made by the retail sector in Ireland to move to online commerce over the past 18 months.
To enable retailers to increase their customer base and build a more resilient business, my Department initially launched a pilot Online Retail Scheme, in 2018.
40 retailers across Ireland were provided €894,636 in funding over two calls of the pilot Scheme, with grants of between €10,000 and €25,000 on a 50 percent match fund basis.
In 2020, my Department launched the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need for retail companies to increase their online capability.
The COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme is helping companies in the indigenous retail sector who have already started an online journey, to enhance and strengthen their existing online presence.
This will help them to respond to both domestic and international consumer demand competitively.
To date the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme has provided funding of €18.2m to 503 retailers under three calls, bringing the total approved to over €19m. I have provided the Deputy with the full amount of Online Retail Scheme funding approvals per county as part of the background to the answer to this PQ.
I am committed to supporting the needs of the retail sector, through the Retail Forum, which I chair, in developing their online capability and enhancing their competitiveness. The Online Retail Schemes to date are being reviewed and it is my intention to open a further round of applications for funding later this year.
The Deputy will also be aware of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme,administered by the Local Enterprise Office network on behalf of my department. This scheme was transferred into my Department at the start of this year and allocated funding of €2.3m to meet 2021 demand.
This included a capital carryover of €10.2m to meet outstanding liabilities from 2020. It offers a voucher of up to €2,500 (50% co-funded by the applicant) to help businesses develop their online trading capability.
It includes training sessions, including developing a website, digital marketing, social media for business and search engine optimisation.
While not exclusively for the retail sector it provides significant assistance to retailers to start to trade online.
Online Retail Scheme Funding Approval per County
|County||Sum of Online Retail Scheme Funding Approvals|
Source: Enterprise Ireland