The Trading Online Voucher is a grant to support Irish businesses employing up to 10 people in setting up a website. In April 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was ravaging our economy, Minister Heather Humphreys announced the expansion of the LEO Trading Online Voucher scheme for businesses employing up to 10 people. That period of expansion is now over and the scheme has reverted to 50-50 match funding, with government support of up to a maximum of €2500. In other words, they will match 50% of your costs, up to a maximum of €2500. So, if you spend €4000, you will get €2000 back. If you spend €5000 or above, you will get €2500 back.
At the time of the expanded TOV scheme, I wrote this article providing some useful information regarding the Trading Online Voucher application. Most of this information still stands today (14 January 2023). So, in no particular order, here is what you still need to know:
1. You do not have to work with a web-designer (or other relevant supplier) living in your county or even in Ireland. You can work with any web designer/supplier in the world.
2. You will need to supply three quotes from each of your suppliers (web designers, graphic designers, photographers etc) as part of your application to your LEO.
3. You have six months to get the work done, from the date your LEO confirms that you have been awarded the voucher.
4. You need to pay all your suppliers before you can draw down the voucher money. You will need to submit receipts, bank statements and complete a form for the LEO in order to draw down the money.
5. Since January 1st 2021, the LEO voucher value is still to a maximum of €2500 or 50% of your costs, whichever is lesser.
6. You may apply for a second Trading Online Voucher if your website requires an upgrade such as adding payment facilities or booking systems to your website or developing new apps for your customers.
7. Adding a payment facility is not only relevant to businesses selling physical products. You can sell a service (a consultation for example) or a digital product (online course) and take payment for it online too.
8. The voucher will cover the costs of apps such as Xero or other productivity apps that enable you to trade online (think ConvertKit, Asana, Canva, MailChimp etc).
9. As well as web design, you can include the costs of a new visual identity, custom photography, a digital marketing strategy, video production for your website and even digital advertising (Google ads/Facebook ads etc up to a max of 30% of the overall voucher value). Or maybe you want to integrate a Learning Management System or set up a shop selling physical products.
10. Even if you have a website but it needs upgrading/switching to a new platform or you want to add an online payment option, you can apply for the voucher. You can apply for funding for graphics, photography, video etc at the same time.
11. You must attend a Trading Online Voucher seminar organised by one of the Local Enterprise Offices around the country before you can apply for the voucher. You do not have to attend your own LEO's seminar, you can attend any one around the country. They used to be online but have now reverted to in-person seminars. You must submit your application, however, to your local LEO
12. You need to be in business 6 months to be eligible to apply for the grant.
13. You will get loads of really good information from the seminar!
14. You do get to choose who you want to work with, even if you submit three quotes from three different web-designers. The LEO does not tell you who to work with.
15. Make sure you scope your project fully before applying, so that you can get as much value as possible from your web designer and other suppliers. We are here to help and guide you, so don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call (me!) if you are thinking of applying for the voucher. There are often functionalities or design elements that we can suggest to you that you might not have thought of before.
16. The voucher does not include any VAT that your supplier(s) charge. You will have to pay that (and reclaim it if you are VAT registered, obviously).
That's all I can think of for now!
For official information on the Trading Online Voucher: https://www.localenterprise.ie/Discover-Business-Supports/Trading-Online-Voucher-Scheme-/
I am available for a free 30 minute consultation call on if you would like to talk to me about applying for the Trading Online Voucher, for the first or second time.