Shop local online reminds Senator as €5m website grant is open for applications

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin is encouraging people to shop locally online in the wake of the news that €5m is to be made available to help businesses upgrade their websites to boost opportunities in online.

The Kildare Senator said that the latest round of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme is open to applications from today.

The grant is available up to a maximum of €40,000 and applications for the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme close at 12 noon on 25 May, 2021.

“It is important to support our local and Kildare businesses by shopping locally with click and collect, or make appointments to shop however many of us have gotten into the habit of buying online during the pandemic, so if you’re going to shop online, try to do so locally,” she said.

The scheme, which will be administered by Enterprise Ireland, is targeted at Irish-based retailers with a physical store and a pre-existing online presence.

It can be used to “develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training, and to enhance the retailer’s website and related systems,” according to the scheme’s terms.

“Over the last year, survival for many Irish and Kildare retailers has been dependent on having an online presence,” Senator O’Loughlin added.

“It continues to be a top priority for retailers to evolve these channels and take advantage of the new and existing local, national and international opportunities that exist through selling online.”

The Senator confirmed that 370 companies had received funding under the Online Retail Scheme to date to the value of €12.8m.

Stephen Creaner, Executive Director with Enterprise Ireland, said two thirds of the grants issued so far had gone to companies outside Dublin. “Irish retailers are keenly aware of the opportunities that exist in the online space with many specifically targeting the Eurozone post-Brexit and taking advantage of the potential that lies in a global customer base,” he said