Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Fingal has reported the largest increase in Trading Online Vouchers (TOV) applications in the last 2 years, from small businesses planning to invest in their online sales platform. 61 Fingal businesses were awarded €163,000 worth of TOV grants so far in 2019.
Figures released last week by the LEOs as part of International Internet Day have shown the benefits of being online to small businesses in Fingal
Research has shown that a business which establishes an online presence sees a 21% increase in sales and an 84% increase in customer enquiries, on average. The research also highlights that 73% of sales online among small businesses come from new customers, as opposed to existing ones*.
Small companies who set up an online presence are also likely to create new jobs. On average, a small business which begins to sell online will hire 1.4 new employees. Those companies who establish themselves on the internet also increase their opportunities to sell internationally and open their business to new markets. 3 out of 5 businesses who set up an online presence begin to export for the first time.
LEO Fingal is helping more Irish businesses get online through the TOV Scheme, funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment under the National Digital Strategy: Phase 1 (2013). This matched funding scheme gives small businesses access to expert mentoring, training and a €2,500 voucher to set themselves up online. The TOV is open to small Fingal businesses that have a limited or no online trading presence, no more than 10 employees and a turnover of less than €2 million. Applicants must be trading for a minimum of 6 months.
Since the TOV Scheme began in 2014, almost 6,000 small companies in Ireland have been able to grow their business online through the initiative. In addition to this, the LEOs have advised over 22,000 small Irish businesses how to effectively use e-commerce to grow their business. In Fingal, 2019 has seen an increased uptake in the TOV scheme by local businesses, with 61 TOVs worth €163,000 awarded year to date.
Oisín Geoghegan, Chair of the Network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices and Head of Enterprise in Fingal said: “In today’s highly competitive market, it is essential that businesses have a strong online presence and a robust digital strategy. I encourage all Fingal SMEs looking to be part of Ireland’s growing digital economy, to attend the next TOV seminar and take advantage of the opportunity to avail of €2,500 funding towards your online trading platform”
A new call for applications is now underway and an information seminar will be held on Friday 6th of December in the Riasc Centre in Swords. Attendance is free of charge and places can be booked online at: www.localenterprise.ie/Fingal
21% average increase in sales for small businesses who set up online*
84% of those businesses who set up online have an increase in customer enquiries*
73% of online sales were new sales and did not displace existing sales*
Small businesses who establish an online presence employee on average 1.4 additional staff*
3 out of 5 businesses who create an online presence begin to export*
5,875 – Trading Online Vouchers accessed since 2014
17,005 – Attendees at Trading Online Voucher Scheme information sessions since 2014
22,132 – No of businesses advised on trading online by Local Enterprise Offices since 2014