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Web Design Limerick | Branding Design Limerick | Amy Mc Design



May 21, 2024
Grants | Hiring a designer | Trading Online Voucher | Website Design

Trading Online Voucher: The perfect grant for your small business website

Trading Online Voucher

*Exciting Trading Online Voucher updates announced May 2024*

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has announced exciting updates to the Trading Online Voucher.

These include:

  • Widening the eligibility for the Trading Online Voucher
  • Extending it to all sectors up to 50 employees
  • Modernise eligible expenditure
  • Doubling the grant to €5,000

These measures are really exciting and mean so many more business will be able to avail of the grant. You can see the full details of the governments new supports for small business here.

*No date for these changes to be implemented has been announced yet.*

So for now the below criteria is what you will have to fill to avail of the voucher. If you are a bigger company, watch this space as you may be able to apply for it in the coming months once these changes have been implemented.



 

*Information below based on current criteria, as the above updates have not been implemented yet*

What is the Trading Online Voucher?

The Trading Online Voucher is grant was set up to help small businesses, you guessed it, trade more online. It’s designed to help these businesses reach new audiences and opportunities in ways they may have not been doing before.

In financial terms, you will get up to €2,500 or 50% of what you spend on the design and development your website. In other words if you spend €5,000 on your website you will get €2,500 back. If you spend €3,500 on your website you will get €1,750 back etc. It makes investing in your website a lot more affordable and is especially great if it’s you first time investing in professional web design. This is often a big investment for a small business and any assistance you can get for this investment is going to be a fantastic help.

The process of applying for the grant also offers you support and guidance in navigating hiring a Web Designer. You Local Enterprise Office will give you impartial advice on what to look for in a designer and what to consider for your business, so you can be confident you are making to right decision for your business.

Sometimes when there is a grant available people can rush into getting their website done just to make use of the grant. I don’t advise taking this approach as a website is a huge undertaking. Even though you will be hiring a designer, there is still so much work and time a business owner has to put into the project to get it to reach it’s full potential. So my advice is to learn everything you can from your LEO about the web design process so you are prepared for the hiring process and the project itself.

How do I qualify for the Trading Online Voucher?

This grant might not suit every small business as there are some requirements that you need to met to qualify for it:

  • The website needs to have an e-commerce element (This doesn’t just apply to product based businesses. Serviced based business can have a paid consultation element set up on their site for example)
  • You need to have a limited or non-existent e-commerce presence
  • 10 or less employees (Sole Traders do qualify for the grant as they as count as 1 employee)
  • Turnover of less than €2 million
  • You must be in business for at least 6 months

Some business are excluded from the grant:

  • Estate agents and Auctioneers
  • Companies with charitable status
  • Conference and seminars
  • Financial and Insurance companies

You can see the full list of excluded businesses here.

If you fit the initial requirements and are not one of the excluded businesses, then happy days it looks like you will qualify for that whopping €2,500 of assistance!

 

You can sell products on your site to qualify for the Trading Online Voucher

You can sell products on your site to qualify for the Trading Online Voucher

How do I apply for the Trading Online Voucher?

Now that you’re sure you qualify for the grant, it’s time to apply for it.

1. Attend your Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher Seminar

First of all you will attend the Trading Online Voucher Seminar held by the LEO in your area. These seminars are usually online, but recently there can be some seminar in person. You will see whether it’s online or in person when you book your place.

These seminars is where you will get advice from your LEO on the whole process. They will explain how to apply for the grant, how to get the most out of the grant for your business and how to choose a Web Designer to work with.

Book your place in the next seminar in your area:

  • Limerick – Wed 29th May 2024 – Book Here
  • Clare – Mon 20th May 2024 – Book Here
  • Tipperary – Thurs 30th May 2024 – Book Here
  • Cork City – Mon 27th May 2024 – Book Here
  • Cork North & West – Tues 11th June 2024 – Book Here
  • Waterford – Thurs 23rd May 2024 – Book Here

If your area isn’t mentioned above, search for your Local Enterprise Office and their next seminar here.
Then navigate to “Training & Events” and then “Online Bookings”. Here you will find the link to book their next seminar.

2. Get 3 quotes from 3 suppliers

Part of the process of applying will be getting 3 quotes from 3 different suppliers. This is recommend by the Local Enterprise Office to make sure that businesses spend time researching different designers. This makes sure that the businesses find the designer who is perfect for them and the project they have in mind. What LEO are trying to avoid is you rushing into working with someone without doing any due diligence. They don’t want people who have been approved for the grant coming back to them mid project and expressing that they are unhappy with their choice. So all in all, it’s is definitely good practice to throughly research possible designers and get quotes from at least 3 of them.

3. Choose who you want to work with

Although LEO require 3 quotes from 3 different suppliers for your application, you get to choose who you work with out of these 3. So you don’t need to worry about be forced into working with someone that isn’t your choice. You also don’t have to go with the cheapest quote out of the 3, you can decide wchoose the highest quote if that’s the best choice for your business.

All LEO want you to do is research people properly so you will be happy with your choice for the project. And also that you you will choice a designer who you will have a positive long-term business relationship with. It’s really important to remember that you will probably have a relationship with your designer for the life of your website. So you want this relationship to be a positive one. If you want to learn more about the Business-Owner/Web Designer relationship, check out this post. In it I talk through 8 things the WordPress Web designer you hire should have. It;s also a useful read if you want to using a different website platform.

4. Fill out and submit your application form

Once you’ve attend the seminar, obtained 3 quotes and chosen the designer you are going to work with, it’s time to fill out the application form.

You will learn what questions you will have to answer in the application during the TOV seminar.
They usually cover the following:

  • Basic questions about your business
  • What you plan to use the voucher for
  • How this will benefit your business
  • Questions about your target market and competitors
  • The breakdown of the costs of the project based on your chosen supplier

This is the point where you submit your 3 quotes and evidence that your business has been trading for at least 6 months. To prove you’ve been operating that long you can submit tax records or business registration documents for example.

Most applications are submitted online through a specific portal or directly by email to your LEO. Again you will learn how your LEO takes applications during the TOV seminar. Once your application is submitted you can expect to wait 1-4 weeks to hear back. You could get approved straight away or they might have questions and ask you to submit more information. No need to worry you can always reach out to your chosen designer at this time if you have any questions. Most designer are experienced with the TOV and can give you a helping hand.

5. Get approved and start the project

If you application gets approved (Yay!) you can contact you designer and let them know that you are now in a position to start the project. When they hear this from you they will likely send you a contract to sign and a deposit invoice to pay. Once these are sorted the project will start and you will be collaborating with your designer for the next few months to create the dream website for your business.

People can book a paid consultation on your site to qualify for the Trading Online Voucher

People can book a paid consultation on your site to qualify for the Trading Online Voucher

Things to remember…

The Trading Online Voucher is a fantastic grant for small businesses looking to up their E-commerce Website game. If you qualify for it and are interested in applying, here are some things to remember:

  • The voucher doesn’t cover VAT charged by your chosen supplier
  • You must attend a TOV seminar in your LEO area
  • You must obtain 3 quotes from 3 different suppliers
  • You must fill out the application form and submit it the way your LEO specifies
  • Once you are approved for the grant you have 6 months to complete your project and drawdown your approved amount. This is important to remember when giving content and feedback to your Web Designer. These are the 2 main things I see delaying projects. So stay on top of the content you have to submit and give feedback as promptly as you can. In doing so your project will get finished with time to spare and you will have no problem drawing down your approved grant amount.

You can also get in touch with me if you have any questions about the grant. I have worked with many business you have successfully applied for it and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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