Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh has welcomed the introduction on a national basis of the digital voucher scheme to help Donegal businesses trade online.
From the 1st of July 2014, small businesses throughout Ireland can apply to the Government for digital vouchers to help their businesses trade online.
One thousand trading online vouchers will be available for qualifying businesses through the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) between now and the end of 2014 with more on offer next year.
Businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to €2500 as the Government has allocated €5 million for the rollout of the trading online voucher scheme.
The Letetrkenny-based county councillor said “This scheme has been successfully piloted in Dublin City, and six months on, early research into the business outcomes are promising.”
Key findings to date are:
• 7 out of 10 companies said that the voucher application process has already helped them in determining how online trading would fit into their business.
• 70% of companies see more customer inquiries, 55% have had more sales.
• Most companies are primarily trading domestically, but export expectations have increased with business expecting to get 30% of sales from export markets within 6 months. The UK is by far the most important export market initially.
• Business owners and staff are devoting more time to trading online. 60% expect to need to recruit with 12 months.
“These initial indications are positive, and show that the scheme has the potential to help small businesses grow their business, widen their markets and increase their sales and profits, and in the long term hopefully increase local employment opportunities” Cllr. Kavanagh said.
The Local Enterprise Offices were chosen as an ideal partner to deliver the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, as they are focussed on getting business supports directly into the communities where small businesses operate. The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is a new ‘product’ for these new organisations.
The voucher scheme is an initiative under the National Digital Strategy, the digital part of the economy in Ireland is growing at 16% per year – that is just over 5 times the rate of growth of the rest of the economy, so the potential for online trading is obvious.
“It was also announced this week that Letterkenny will be one of 50 towns to benefit from the €450 million deal between ESB and Vodafone to provide high speed broadband over the ESB’s electricity cables, this is more good news for consumers and for the potential growth of digital opportunities in the county, it is hoped that this initiative will be rolled out in the second phase to other towns and villages in the county,” Cllr. Kavanagh concluded.