LOCAL Enterprise Office Kilkenny has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Business Heather Humphreys TD and Minister for Communications and Climate Action Richard Bruton TD of a major expansion of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme to help small and micro enterprises in Kilkenny get online quickly.
The national scheme is being expanded by €14.2m after the 31 Local Enterprise Offices received three years’ worth of applications in three months following the outbreak of Covid-19 in Ireland.
Following a previous expansion of the scheme in early April, total additional funding for the scheme is now almost €20m in 2020.
The Kilkenny Enterprise Office received a record number of applications from local businesses for the Trading Online Voucher scheme over the last three months.
It is expected that the funding boost will enable more local businesses to benefit over the coming months.
Minister Humphreys told The Kilkenny Observer: “There has been unprecedented demand for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme since the outbreak of Coid-19.
“To put this into perspective, in 2019, there were 1,218 applications; this year, between mid-March and early-June, there were 3,962.
“The scheme is an essential part of our Covid-19 business supports for small businesses, and it is vital that we continue to make it available for enterprises to meet the ongoing trading challenges.
“Thousands of small businesses have already benefited from funding under the scheme. The additional funding will mean that total funding for the scheme has been increased by almost 1000%.”
Welcoming the announcement, Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny said:
“We have received a record number of applications for the Trading Online Voucher scheme in Kilkenny, some of which we are still processing due to unprecedented demand.
“This additional funding will enable even more local businesses to transform digitally, through accepting payments or bookings online by offering training for customers remotely or by developing new apps for clients or employees.
“We’re seeing lots of examples from around the county of small businesses starting to sell online for the first time, during the Covid-19 crisis.
“While they may have had a website presence before, thanks to the funding and training under the Trading Online Voucher, they have been able to upgrade their websites and can now sell directly to customers all over the world.”
The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is open to small businesses in most sectors that have been trading for at least six months, employ up to 10 people with a turnover of less than €2 million annually