MINSTER for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys has announced a major expansion of supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including an expansion of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme and a reduction in the interest rate for Microfinance Ireland loans.
The minister announced the expansion of the €2,500 Trading Online Voucher Scheme through Local Enterprise Offices, for businesses employing up to 10 people.
In agreement with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton, an additional €3.3m is being provided to the scheme bringing the total available nationally to €5.6m. Local businesses in County Kilkenny that previously benefited from the Trading Online Voucher Scheme can, from today, apply for a second voucher of up to €2,500, with co-funding of 10%.
The voucher can be used to help add payment or booking systems to websites, along with subscriptions to low-cost online retailing platform solutions.
Less than 10 people
A substantial reduction in interest rates on Microfinance Ireland loans was also announced, bringing the rate down to 4.5% where applications are made through Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny.
COVID-19 Business Loans of up to €50,000 are available from Microfinance Ireland with no repayments and no interest charged in the first six months, for eligible businesses that employ less than 10 people.
Welcoming the expansion of business supports, Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny in Kilkenny County Council said:
“For many local businesses, the options for trading are very limited as a result of COVID-19. However, there are a lot of opportunities in online selling and by accessing this Trading Online Voucher scheme, small businesses can develop a sustainable strategy for increasing sales.”
She added: “If your business needs access to finance, applying for microfinance loans through Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny will secure the lowest available rate and you will get valuable assistance in the application process and free one-to-one mentoring along the way.”
Meanwhile, The Business Continuity Voucher, worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy support, is another new measure available for businesses through Local Enterprise Offices.
“It is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies.
“The goal is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.
In addition, Local Enterprise Offices have also moved the majority of training programmes, workshops and networking online, making them as accessible as possible for those working remotely.
These programmes are free and are available to book on the Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny website www.localenterprise.ie/kilkenny
More details about small business supports available through Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny can be found at LocalEnterprise.ie/Kilkenny, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 056-7752662.
A guide to Local Enterprise Office supports can be found at LocalEnterprise.ie/Response, along with details of Enterprise Ireland supports.