LEO Online Trading Voucher
Using the internet effectively can increase sales and reduce costs; the objective of this Website Development Assistance is to ensure micro businesses (with 10 or less employees) maximize their potential through the use of the internet, e-business and e-Commerce. As we know, the internet opens up the doors to a whole new set of customers which may be based in any part of the world. It permits the promotion of your services / products to a range of customers which was not possible in the past and this can be achieved at a minimum cost when done right. Micro businesses can use this modern medium to promote their services / products and also to sell them via this online channel.
If your idea is to develop a product or service that will generate employment and even export services / products without displacing any current jobs in your area, you can apply for a grant with a larger monetary value. These grants take a lot more work to apply for and can be considerably slower to process. So for now, you may just want a website grant to get your website off the ground. So what should you do first?
The qualifications necessary varies from LEO to LEO and also the time of the year. So, why don’t you just ask your Local Enterprise Office what they want? Be prepared to go to them weeks in advance, as sometimes applications are entertained only every two months as in some areas they are issued and completed in rounds and batches. To get things started, just make an application to your Local Enterprise Office before any work commences on your website.
Who can apply?
The online trading voucher is open to all businesses with ten or less employees, intends to trade online (provided that the business is located and operates within the area of an Enterprise Office) and whose website has a content management system that can be added to over time. Assistance will include domain registration and the first year’s annual hosting costs as well as online marketing (up to 30% can be spent on things like Google Adwords, PPC and SEO).
You must first attend an information seminar organised by your Local Enterprise Office.
You must then complete an application form which must be accompanied with three quotations for the development of the website and the reasons provided to support the chosen web designer, prior to commencement of site development and any payments made. Grants cannot be retrospective.
Payment of Grant
The grant will be paid once the following conditions are complied with:
- Web site live and inspected;
- Original invoices are submitted at time of claim;
- Proof of payment is provided, which must be in the form of an original bank statement or an online statement that has been stamped by the bank;
- The home page of the website acknowledges the source of funding and accredited in a prominent position. This shall include the European Union logo and your Local Enterprise Office logo.
- The grant must be drawn and fully paid before the completion date as detailed in the Letter of Offer.
What the vouchers can be used for:
- IT consultation
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- Implementing Online payments or booking system;
- Purchase of Internet related software
- Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 30% of approved Voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase)
- Developing an app (or multiplatform webpages)
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy i.e. Social media marketing
- Consultation with ICT experts for early stage adopters of online strategy
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity
Social Welfare Grants
If you would like more information about grants available to you and your business or would like to discuss any of the points that you have read about here, please do not hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to help.
The Technical Assistance and Training (TAT) fund is designed to help people who are in receipt of the Short-Term Back to Work Enterprise Allowance with certain costs involved in starting a business. You do not have an automatic entitlement to TAT but instead the assistance awarded from this fund must be approved by the jobs facilitator in your local social welfare office. Payments from the fund must be made directly to the provider of the service or in other words the company that you decide to help you with your website needs. Your local jobs facilitator or enterprise officer can give you more information on sources of help and funding.