Local companies should use Trading Online Voucher Scheme

Online firms experience an 85% boost in customer inquiries and a 21% average increase in sales according to new report

I urge Meath and Westmeath businesses to avail of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme. It was launched by the Government in 2014 to boost the number of small firms that exploit the growing digital economy. It offers small businesses a grant of up to €2,500 – subject to matching funding – as well as training, mentoring and networking support to help them develop their online trading capability.

Over 70% of small businesses that have participated in the Government’s Trading Online Voucher Scheme so far expect to recruit more staff, according to a recent survey published by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. On average, the small firms that expect to take on extra workers predict a jobs-dividend of almost 15%. I want to see more Meath and Westmeath businesses being part of this growing commercial and digital revolution.

The report, Growing Small Businesses Through Online Trade, also shows that small firms which start to trade online, or develop their existing online presence, experience an 85% boost in customer inquiries and a 21% average increase in sales.

The digital economy is predicted to grow to some €21 billion by 2020. It is estimated that Irish consumers spend €700,000 online every hour of the day, 365 days a year. Up to 70% of this spend goes to companies based abroad, and fewer than one in four small Irish businesses currently have an online capacity. They are also unable to compete in the international market where it is estimated that over 3 billion people buy online.

The digital economy represents 5% of Ireland’s GDP, a figure that is growing by around 20% a year. This is significantly higher than the overall economic growth rate. The Trading Online Voucher Scheme aims to get 2,000 more small Irish traditional businesses trading online by the end of 2015.

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationally, including in Co. Meath, distribute the vouchers, as well as provide training, mentoring and networking support for the businesses in question. They can be contacted at localenterprise@meathcoco.ie or 046 9078400.

Or if living in Co. Westmeath: localenterprise@westmeathcoco.ie or 044-9338945.

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