COVIDiary

COVIDiary-Week-Four

Week 4 – Good News and Business Continuity Voucher

With time a person’s true colours will always show, especially when they are put under pressure” – Take note, because this is the real person you are seeing”

We have encountered so many good deeds by people over the past few weeks. They are going out of their way to offer their time, their help, their homes, whatever they have to offer.
People like Linda at Treat For Nurses at LUH who is getting voluntary €20 vouchers from many local businesses to give as little treats to Front Line Nursing Staff as a small gesture of thanks. She amassed about €10,000.00 in the first week via a simple Facebook personal blog page.

Three hotels in Letterkenny alone offered their entire building to house HSE Front Line staff who are afraid to go home to their families and risk spreading the virus.

Many people are making masks for healthcare workers. The Donegal Clinical Research Academy and Surgeon Mr Michael Sugrue recorded a video to show people how to make effective masks.

Retailers are coming up with ways to allow people shop safely, keeping a distance and avoiding the use of cash. Restaurants are taking orders online and delivering food to the door. Businesses are seeing opportunities to do what they do, but in a new way. Delivery companies are very busy, dropping goods without engaging physically. Oil, milk, vegetables, clothes, carpets, you name it. Trades people are visiting houses and doing their work without meeting customers.

Distilleries are making hand sanitisers, uniform manufacturers are making scrubs including Logo2Go, or Moville Clothing switched from making suits for Clergy to Hospital scrubs. Watson Hire managed to get a large shipment of Sanitisers and then donated it to front line staff. Signage Companies like Sign Worx and  people with 3D printers are making face guards. Many at low cost or no margin at all. Bus and taxi companies are delivering food orders and prescriptions, as are many volunteers from clubs like Letterkennny Rugby Club and the local Lions Club . Teachers and therapists are delivering classes or grinds online, the list goes on and on. People are showing their true colours and there are many to be applauded.

This may not be a new world order, but many people are showing innovative ways of carrying on. In many cases they are being more productive with their time. We all miss the social engagement, but the time saved can lead to quicker turnarounds.

When COVID moves on and we get back to some form of new normal, many of us will continue to meet on Zoom or Skype to save time. Or to transact business in this more efficient way. That will give us the gift of more discretionary time to ourselves.

Cowering away or simply keeping the head down and waiting for it all to blow over, is to squander this precious opportunity to innovate and improve how we work or add value in our communities.

Status at Work for MEANit
We have certainly had a few knocks and challenges, but the vast majority of our own clients are planning for the future. Many are using the time to do the things that had been on the long finger. Some are shooting video at home for their websites and social media channels. That is quite a challenge for most. Some are looking for advice on how to improve various aspects of their business or online presence. And they are being supported by the Local Enterprise Office with their Business Continuity Voucher. This voucher offers up to €2500 in free Professional Expert advice from services such as HR, IT, Marketing, Audio/Visual, Financial or Web experts. For full details see HERE. “The Business Continuity Voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

There is also another LEO Grant worth €2500 to improve an existing website, if you invest 10% co-funding. This is ideal if you want to add a new payment gateway, eCommerce or a booking engine and other functionalities.

Business status
Whilst COVID has totally changed the way we work in MEANit, we are making it work. Spending our days with our families has its advantages. Being together during this crisis is a big plus. Technology is allowing us work away. We are busy supporting our clients and this is such fulfilling work. We are not ‘Front Line’, but we do feel we are making a difference every single day. Our experience and our skills, put us in a wonderful position to be of service. It feels like we have been in training for years to be of service at this time. We are now on a number of Mentoring Panels to offer advice and direction. We are taking the lead in helping our local networks make good use of technology, working together to help businesses in our community.

Good News and there is Good News

Zoom has become the most popular go to tool for online meetings as has JitSi which is possibly more secure. Please do not share sensitive data on Zoom, especially legal or financial firms. You may not want to download the app to your computer. Talk to your IT providers and get advice on the best option for you – make use of the Business Continuity Voucher for this type of expert advice. Call Clare Ryan on 074 911 7034 at ITUS Tech. And your telephones are working fine, so call your customers, talk to them, find out how you can help them. Reach out by email, Whats App, Messenger or text, whatever way you normally communicate, but do stay in touch.

As mentioned above the Local Enterprise Office is offering advice, grants, support and guidance, so please do make contact with them 074 9160735 or info@leo.donegalcoco.ie. The Business Continuity Voucher €2500 grant towards professional 3rd party consultation is wonderful – get financial advice or IT or ICT or HR.
As is the new €2500 online trading grant second round funding for improving your existing website, if you invest 10%. And they still offer up to €2500 grant towards a brand new website through the trading online voucher. You have the time now to take advantage of these offers, so talk to them or us, if we can be of service. Michael’s direct line is 086 2510117 and the office is 074 917 7979.

Enterprise eCommerce Grant

Enterprise eCommerce Grant available to a max of €40,000 or 80% of project costs, minimum of €10,000. This is for any Irish-owned retail enterprise with 10 or more employees before 29th February 2020, with a retail outlet and with an existing online presence of some sort.
Eligible costs include: salary costs and consultancy fees to develop a digital strategy, enhance the company’s website or to provide training for the eCommerce project.
Apply by 3.00 pm on Wednesday 20th May 2020. See full details at https://enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/online-retail/online-retail-scheme/online-retail-scheme.html : Webinar set for this Friday April 17th at 11.00 a.m – register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8504048846458333451 Any questions on the application process, email : retail@enterprise-ireland.com

Next Steps – What to do now
Minister Heather Humphreys made an important statement yesterday outlining a further €180 million of supports for small businesses. Thats a total of about €450 million and a total of €1 billion in liquidity measures.

Read the statement HERE and find out which supports are right for your business. If you had a solid business before COVID these supports should help you get through the stresses of the next few months, to safeguard your business and the jobs you created.

Do talk to your Accountant, the Chamber of Commerce or your Local Enterprise Office. There is a lot of work to do, even if your doors are closed. Aidan Clifford ACCA wrote this “Refreshingly simple explanation of the Covid-19 supports” see HERE.

The Donegal Local Enterprise Office  building is still physically closed to the public, for health reasons, so use the phone or email or post. You may face a wait or delay, but you will get attended to. Many Government services are totally swamped with requests. They are just getting their heads around all the quick fire changes being brought in. But they are processing as fast as they can.

Locally, for SMEs, Clients and Community based initiatives or groups there are new supports available from Donegal Local Development Company.

There is a massive National effort underway from Uachtaráin to Taoiseach through every Government Department to help you stay in business and protect jobs. We all need to have some patience and realise that we are all in this together. Many of the stresses cannot be avoided, but many can be addressed to some degree. For some people their stresses are more urgent than others. Start by talking to someone right now. Get some momentum going.

The Whatsapp group set up by Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce is still providing some great advice and lots of support.

Diary Date – Book Now

Donegal Business Network supported by ETB Donegal is to hold a Zoom Workshop with Jo Collins on April 14th at 11.00 am for one hour in conjunction with Donegal Women in Business Network and Letterkenny Chamber.- ‘Communicating with Customers in a COVID Climate’ Register FREE here.

#stayapartstaywell  #letterkennychamber  #thisbusinessispersonal #COVID19 #SelfIsolationHelp #coronavirus

See COVIDiary Week 5 here when we publish next week.

Business Continuity Voucher explained.
The new Business Continuity Voucher, available through Local Enterprise Offices, is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people.
The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The goal is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.
If your application is successful, a qualified expert will be selected by your Local Enterprise Office to work with you on your business continuity plans. The value of this service is up to a maximum of €2,500.

APPLICATIONS: To apply for a Business Continuity Voucher, please DOWNLOAD the application form here and SAVE IT to your desktop, laptop or tablet computer.

Please type your answers into the spaces provided and remember to SAVE any changes you make.

 When completed, please E-MAIL your application form directly to your Local Enterprise Office, as an attachment to your e-mail.

Your Local Enterprise Office will acknowledge your e-mail. After an assessment has taken place, they will let you know if your application has been successful.
Full details here.

COVIDiary | Week 4

by John Rainey time to read: 8 min
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