The Ministry for the Economy has launched a COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG) from Invest Northern Ireland. The new program will support retailers and wholesalers in Northern Ireland to establish and develop their online presence. The program offers 50% funding support on projects ranging from £10,000 to £40,000 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 10 – 250 staff
- Your business supplies physical products that can be sold online
- 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
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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 system
Three key ‘use cases’ that we see at this stage are:
- Businesses who currently have no or very limited e-commerce functionality
- 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
- Businesses who are currently on a Magento 1.9 platform (which reached ‘end of life’ in May this year)
Applications are open for submission until the deadline of 7th October. However, we note that the fund is currently capped at £1 Million in funding. With an average funding of £10,000 per business, that would mean there will only be funding available for 100 businesses so we would advise our clients to act quickly on this as we expect it to ‘sell out’ fast.
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 and ask to speak to Sophie or Linda who will be able to help.
Alternatively, send us a message directly…