The following article appeared in the Irish Mirror on June 17th 2020
When the Government announced funding for SMEs through the Local Enterprise Office network there were some associated challenges for small businesses. The Trading Online Voucher covers €2,500 which means many online services and advertising options are out of reach for most of the recipients. The other challenge is that many of the businesses were new to online trading and therefore struggled to decide the best options to get their business online.
“I was on a number of trading online voucher webinars and the questions from SMEs spoke to their lack of experience and confidence choosing the best online options for their businesses. I was really concerned that thousands of businesses availing of the voucher would not make the best use of the funding and I thought we could help.”, said Buymedia CEO, Fergal O’Connor.
Buymedia is an Irish based Enterprise Ireland supported advertising platform developed to help SMEs get a better return from their advertising across all media. Mr. O’Connor reached out to Buymedia’s media partners to ask for their support to help guide SMEs and to double the value of the voucher from €2,500 to €5,000. “The level of support from the media in Ireland has been overwhelming, from local and regional print and radio up to the national press, radio, online publishers and the e-commerce association. It was genuinely heartwarming to get support for SMEs from virtually all the media in Ireland at a time when they need it most.”
The market conditions from Covid-19 has resulted in a sharp increase in companies seeking the governments Trading Online Voucher scheme. “The good news is, the government is serious about eCommerce. Selling online is now an urgent strategy for many businesses reacting to Covid market conditions”, explains Niall Bodkin, head of the eCommerce Association of Ireland. “Demand far exceeds supply. We estimate 10,000 businesses are seeking the Local Enterprise Office grant. It’s important they do not rush and seek professional advice”.
Companies with the Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher grant can avail of the offers and seek the guidance of 150 media companies through Buymedia – who have volunteered to walk them through the process of creating an online business. This is a truly co-operative initiative backed by many business organisations including ISME and Guaranteed Irish.
“Pivoting to online sales gives businesses a bright window of opportunity through these uncertain times and will be an asset to growth when normal business resumes”,
comments Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME.
“We are delighted to see such support being made available to businesses based here in Ireland who support jobs, local communities and the Irish economy. The Pandemic has forced people who procrastinated about e-commerce to go online to survive. Guaranteed Irish has encouraged their SME members to continue to trade and to reach out to Irish companies to help them engage online” adds Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish.
This announcement comes as a significant boost for small businesses across Ireland who may lack resources and funding to move their business online or build out their current e-commerce offering.
For further information or assistance with the scheme visit www.buymedia.ie
Link to full article in the Irish Mirror here – https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/irish-businesses-5000-funding-boost-22205699