Applications close next week for Covid-19 e-commerce grants

  • A £5,000 grant is available for NI micro-business retailers to improve their online sales presence or invest in e-commerce systems and training.

    If you run any kind of retail store, you've certainly been hit with a significant downturn in footfall this year due to Covid-19. The NI Executive and UK government have been launching various schemes throughout the year to support retail businesses during the pandemic, from rates relief and the furlough scheme to grants for businesses forced to close by lockdown rules.

    Many businesses have adapted partially to closures by exploring e-commerce strategies and launching online sales platforms. If you're a micro-business retailer and have yet to launch an e-commerce strategy or have been struggling to develop your online sales, there's now a £5,000 grant designed specifically to help you.

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    The COVID-19 Micro-business E-commerce Grant offers a maximum grant of £5,000 towards up to 80 per cent of eligible costs, and its goal is to help micro-businesses adjust to restrictions and high-street closures by growing online sales long-term. It's open only to businesses with retail premesis employing fewer than 10 people and which derive most of their turnover from retail customers.

    Eligible activities could include developing an e-commerce strategy from scratch, developing a website to sell your products online, improving your existing website, or investing in digital marketing training and tools for employees. It can also be used to improve your online presence to increase sales (for example, if you sell via a Facebook group), or to contract a specialist to review your current digital marketing and sales pipelines.

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    Applications for the fund have been open since early February and officially closes next week on Friday 12th March at 6pm. A total of £3m was set aside for the fund and applications could end early if all the funds are dispersed, so applicants are advised to apply as early as possible.

    To apply or for more information head over to 

    Source: Invest NI

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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