The Ministry for the Economy has opened the third call for applications to the COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG) from Invest Northern Ireland. The program will support retailers and wholesalers in Northern Ireland to establish and develop their online presence. Offering 50% funding support on projects with an expenditure from £10,000 to £40,000, businesses can access a maximum grant of £20,000  to enhance their digital offering, build e-commerce capability and increase online sales.

This Digital Selling Capability Grant is part of a wider COVID-19 support package to help eligible businesses progress recovery plans, strengthen supply chains, develop new products and access finance. This is a fantastic opportunity for any wholesalers or retailers who have been considering going online to help grow sales and to mitigate the risks associated with a further lockdown.

Key eligibility criteria for the grant are as follows:

  • NI Based SMEs employing 5 or more full time or equivalent staff.
  • Your business supplies physical products that can be sold online and from a physical retail or wholesale premises in Northern Ireland, accessible to the public.
  • Where your business turnover includes income from sources other than your retail or wholesale premises, more than 50% of your total turnover/sales/revenue must be from your retail/wholesale operation.
  • Online currently accounts for less than 50% of your total sales (over last 12 months)
  • You are not already in receipt of other public funding support for the project
Sound like what you’re looking for? Applications are open for submission until the deadline at 5pm on Friday 15 October 2021. However, we would advise our clients to act quickly on this as we expect it to ‘sell out’ fast.  Call us on 028 3754 9025 or send us an enquiry and we will get back to you.



The ‘Eligible Activities’ listed within the program guidelines are wide ranging. The support can be used to:

  • Carry out best practice research to identify relevant benchmarks.
  • Review current digital marketing capabilities and online sales channels.
  • Develop a digital marketing strategy to maximise online presence.
  • Develop an e-commerce strategy to drive sustainable growth in online sales.
  • Implement an enhanced online e-commerce system or improvements to your existing e-commerce solution for the business.
  • In-house training and knowledge transfer to develop the digital marketing and ecommerce capability of the employees for the business.
  • Improve integration and automation with existing e-commerce systems.

The following activities are NOT covered:

  • Upgrades to existing online channels that would happen anyway or could be considered business as usual.
  • The purchase of computer hardware and equipment, software licences, hosting charges and subscriptions.
  • Pay-per-click or display advertising costs for online advertising on platforms such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, or purchasing mailing or membership lists.
  • Offline marketing costs.
  • External training course fees.
  • Consultancy and/or supplier costs from related parties.

Three key ‘use cases’ that we see at this stage are:

  1. Businesses who currently have no or very limited e-commerce functionality
  2. Businesses who have an established e-commerce function but are not making maximum use of it and have not fully integrated with their back end systems
  3. Businesses who have been impacted by Covid19 and need to start selling more products online to help grow sales and future proof their website


Read the full guidance notes

You can use the online eligibility checker to find out if you can apply for the COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant.

If you have any specific questions about the funding or how we can help with your e-commerce development, please give us a call on 028 37549025 or send an email 
Alternatively, send us a message directly…
Ecommerce Grant