The Trading Online Voucher (TOV) scheme provides eligible businesses with financial assistance, in the form of a voucher, worth up to €2,500. The voucher, issued via the local enterprise office in each local authority area, is to help set up or enhance their online activities. The voucher can be used to cover various costs related to establishing an online presence; website development, e-commerce functionality, digital marketing, staff training and other costs.
To qualify for the TOV scheme, businesses must meet certain criteria, outlined below. Generally, the scheme is available to small businesses that have a limited digital presence but, as part of the government’s national digital strategy, a second voucher is now available for business owners who have had one in the past.
What is the Trading Online Voucher Scheme?
The Trading Online Voucher scheme is an initiative designed to assist small businesses in Ireland by helping them establish a strong online presence. In a digital age, having this strong presence is vital for businesses to reach a wider customer base, increase sales, and remain competitive in the marketplace. The TOV scheme, administered by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) throughout the country, aims to assist all types of business trade online.
Through the TOV scheme, eligible businesses can access financial assistance in the form of a voucher worth up to €2,500. This funding can be used to cover various costs associated with establishing or enhancing their digital marketing activities. Whether it’s developing a new website, incorporating e-commerce functionality, or even a digital marketing strategy, the TOV scheme offers invaluable support to businesses on their growth journey.
Your Local Enterprise Office (LEOs) plays the pivotal role in administering the TOV scheme. They provide guidance, support, and expertise to businesses throughout the application process and beyond. The Local Enterprise Office has dedicated business advisors who work closely with applicants, helping them understand the scheme’s requirements, ensuring eligibility, and assisting in the utilization of the Trading Online Voucher scheme to achieve their online goals.
The TOV scheme has already been a game-changer for thousands of small businesses in Ireland, that’s why the government has extended the scheme for businesses to apply for a second Trading Online Voucher. There were a total of 12,946 approvals across Ireland in 2020 to a value of €30,774,904. Between 1st January 2021 and 1st December 2021, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme had a total of 4,306 approvals across Ireland to a value in excess of €9.3 million. It has been a key component in the survival of many small businesses through the pandemic.
Are you Eligible for the TOV Scheme?
To determine if your business is eligible for the Trading Online Voucher scheme, it’s important to understand the criteria set by the Local Enterprise Office (LEOs). There are four key aspects to this;
- Limited Online Presence: The TOV scheme primarily aims to assist businesses with limited online trading capacity. If your business has been relying solely on traditional brick-and-mortar operations, you’re likely to qualify.
- Business Size: The scheme is specifically targeted towards small businesses. Specifically, this refers to businesses with fewer than ten employees.
- Business Turnover: The applicant business must turnover less than 2m per year or less (if your business falls outside of this there are other schemes available, click here for more info…)
- Trading at Least 6 Months: The TOV scheme requires businesses to have been trading for at least six months. That is the date for the final application but there are numerous jobs to do beforehand to get prepared.
How Can I Use the Trading Online Voucher?
Web Design Services
Most businesses will use the Trading Online Voucher to develop a new website, or redevelop their existing website with payment facilities, but this isn’t the only option, and the value can be spread across a number of options.
Digital Marketing Strategy
The perfect place to start for a new business is with a digital marketing strategy. A professional agency will be able to map out a plan, short and medium term, for a retailing presence online.
If you run a small shop, how about employing a professional to photograph your stock. These pictures can be used on your website, social media and other advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 80% of other approved voucher costs).
Kickstart your website traffic or social media profiles using Facebook, Instagram or Google advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 30% of approved voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase).
The voucher can also be used for IT consultation, implementing online payments, booking systems, software purchase, Training/Skills development (specifically to establish online trading activity).
What can't the Voucher be used for?
- Development of brochure websites*
- Purchase of non-internet related software
- Anything other than online trading related activity
*A brochure website is a digital version of a printed brochure. With a brochure website, the goods and services are only displayed, so customers will have to contact the company to place an order.
How to Apply for the Trading Online Voucher
In order to apply for a Trading Online Voucher, you must first attend a half-day Information Seminar on how to use and get the best value for money from the voucher. You’ll need some paperwork ready, business registration details for example.
After attending the information session you should complete and submit the trading online voucher application form. Click here to download the form…
How we can help...
At FutureProof, we understand how significant a strong online presence is for small businesses. We are committed to supporting small businesses in Ireland, and the Trading Online Voucher scheme is the perfect opportunity for businesses to grow.
We can assist you throughout the TOV application process. We have in-depth knowledge of the scheme’s requirements and can guide you in ensuring your eligibility and preparing a strong application. We can help you articulate your business’s online goals, develop a compelling online strategy, and outline how the TOV voucher will contribute to your digital success.
Once your application is approved, we are here to provide you with top-notch web design, and other services that align with the objectives of the scheme. Our services extend beyond web design. We can assist you in implementing a digital marketing strategy and search engine optimisation, we even provide staff training.