COVIDiary

COVIDiary-Week-Five

Week  5– COVID Business Grants Summary

A Summary of some supports available from Government Departments to help businesses to survive COVID period

COVID is here to stay for some time,  however we need to work around it as best we can. We are very busy and the team is working from home. We needed more hardware to ensure we can work efficiently. We also need to change the way we use the office to allow people go back soon. There are supports available for all of these challenges.

There is so much happening that it can be hard to keep on top of which supports are available to help businesses survive in and thrive after the COVID crisis.
This is not a full list of every support that is available. But it covers the main 3 supports being used by our clients, with a short explanation and links to relevant Government websites or Application Forms. Below these we list a few other supports available.

1. Business Continuity Voucher up to €2500

2. Expanded Trading Online Voucher up to €2500

3. Enterprise eCommerce Grant up to €40,000

 

  1. Business Continuity Voucher up to €2500 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. See below for more details.
  2. Expanded Trading Online Voucher up to €2500
    Under the Government’s National Digital Strategy, the expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets. There is up to 90% or €2,500 available through the Local Enterprise Offices with co-funding of 10% from the business*
    Training and further business supports are also provided by Local Enterprise Offices, and businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required – apply before September 30th.  See below for more details.
  3. Enterprise eCommerce Grant up to €40,000
    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. See below for more details.

1. Business Continuity Voucher up to €2500

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.

Oisin Geoghegan of LEO said “For a huge number of small businesses, survival is the over-riding objective at this time so making the right decisions is crucial. There is where the new Business Continuity Voucher can help. The kind of areas that the voucher will help will vary, depending on the needs of each business, but it will include very important measures such as preparing a business case for application to emergency funding, developing a business continuity plan, reducing variable costs, reviewing and exploring supply chain financing options, implementing remote working processes or procedures, and leveraging expertise in HR and ICT.”

APPLICATIONS: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
STEP ONE:
To apply for a Business Continuity Voucher, please DOWNLOAD the application form (see links below) and SAVE IT to your desktop, laptop or tablet computer.

Here’s the application form in Microsoft Word format HERE
Here’s the application form in PDF format HERE  
For the PDF version, please open the application form using Adobe Acrobat or an equivalent PDF reader.

STEP TWO:
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. Every Local Enterprise Office has its own e-mail address and you’ll find these addresses HERE.

STEP THREE:
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. If you’d like to ask questions or discuss your application you can telephone your local LEO office.

2. Expanded Trading Online Voucher up to €2500

Under the Government’s National Digital Strategy, the expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost sales and reach new markets. There is up to €2,500 or 90% available through the Local Enterprise Offices with co-funding of 10% from the business*.

Training and further business supports are also provided by Local Enterprise Offices. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.

Funding can be used towards adding payment facilities or booking systems to your website or  towards subscriptions to low cost online retail platform solutions, to help companies quickly establish a retailing presence online.

What the vouchers can be used for exactly:

  • IT consultation
  • Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
  • Implementing Online payments or booking systems
  • Purchase of Internet related software
  • Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up any more than 30% of approved Voucher costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase)
  • Developing an app (or multiplatform webpages)
  • Development of a digital marketing strategy
  • Implementing a digital marketing strategy
  • Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity

Every Local Enterprise Office has its own e-mail address and you’ll find these addresses HERE. OR talk to us now.

3. 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 Full Time employees before 29th February 2020, with a retail outlet and with an existing online presence of some sort.
Eligible costs include: salary costs up to €200 a day for one person internally and external 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 : Any questions email : retail@enterprise-ireland.com

Further Supports Available

Mentoring

Under the Local Enterprise Office Mentor Programme, clients work with an experienced mentor to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business.

With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities when the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end. Mentoring services are now free of charge.

This is the ideal first step to find out what to do next and how to benefit most from the varied supports available to you. E-mail or telephone your Local Enterprise Office to find out more and you’ll find these HERE.

New COVID -19 Business Loan

*First 6 months – Interest & Repayment Free
*New low rate of 4.5% through the Local Enterprise Offices

The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland (MFI), in partnership with Local Enterprise Offices, is a Government-funded initiative to support small businesses through the current period of uncertainty.

It’s designed for micro-enterprises that are a) having difficulty accessing Bank finance and b) impacted, or may be impacted negatively, by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit.

Loan Features

  • Business Loans of up to €50,000 are available for eligible micro-enterprises (ie businesses with less than 10 employees and up to €2m annual turnover) that are currently trading
  • Loans may be used for working capital and required business changes as a result of COVID-19
  • Loan terms are typically up to 3 years
  • 6 months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period.
  • New low interest rate of 4.5% if submitted through Local Enterprise Office or referred by your Bank and 5.5% if you apply to Microfinance Ireland directly
  • No fees or hidden costs with fixed repayments. No penalty for early repayment
    Capital expenditure, and in exceptional circumstances working capital loans, may be funded up to 5 years. Here’s a link to Frequently Asked Questions about the Loan  HERE.

Next Steps – What to do now

Do talk to your Accountant, the Chamber of Commerce or your Local Enterprise Office about supports. There is a lot of work to do, even if your doors are closed. 

The Donegal Local Enterprise Office  building is still physically closed to the public, for health reasons, so use the phone (074) 916 0735 or email info@leo.donegalcoco.ie 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, in Donegal for SMEs, Clients and Community based initiatives or groups there are new supports available from the Donegal Local Development Company (074) 912 7056.

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

Diary Date – Book Now
To fully appraise companies of the application process and the key issues to be addressed in an application, Enterprise Ireland hosted a Webinar on Friday April 17th. It was recorded and will be available on their website.

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

See COVIDiary Week 6 here when we publish next week.

Status at Work for MEANit
Over the past week dozens of Clients and potential clients have been in touch to request work or get quotes. They are making use of the time they have now to work on projects that were on the long finger. They are getting ready for post COVID.

Most popular items include, adding a dynamic Blog, an eCommerce platform to take payment online for products or services, an Online Booking option for making appointments, a new custom redesign of the Home and/or other pages or Content Creation. Some are requesting help with Newsletters, Mailing lists, SEO Search Engine Optimisation, Google My Business, Linkedin, Facebook, Security, eMail, or adding Case Studies or Portfolios.

There is always a lot to do and now that there is the available time to do it plus the grants available, it appears as if our clients will be taking advantage of the opportunities. There is even a Grant to book time with us to discuss options and do any necessary research required.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Supports

 

Guidance on employer eligibility for Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme can be found HERE.

 

The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme will be operated by Revenue and enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. The scheme is expected to last 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.
The Temporary Wage Subsidy replaces the previous Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme and provides for a significant increase in the €203 per employee payment that previously applied.

A PDF Guide on the operation of the scheme can be found HERE for download. A second Guide on Eligibility can be found HERE.

 Aidan Clifford ACCA wrote this “Refreshingly simple explanation of the Covid-19 supports” see HERE.

Restart Grant and Restart Grant Plus: The Restart Grant Plus provides direct grant aid to businesses with up to 250 employees to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures. The minimum grant is €4,000 and the maximum grant is €25,000. The original grant was from €2000 to €10000.

COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.

Lean Business Continuity Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. Ideal if you do NOT pay rates.