News & Events

Enterprise Ireland opens first call of €1.25m fund for Irish retailers

New scheme to accelerate retailers’ online offering and increase competitiveness

The first call of the Enterprise Ireland pilot Online Retail Scheme opens for applications today, Wednesday, 24October. The new €1.25m fund is targeted at online retailers to encourage acceleration of their online offerings. It will remain open for six weeks, closing to applications at 3.00pm on Wednesday, 5December 2018.

The scheme, which was launched by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD in September, is an initiative of the Government of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. A total of €625,000 is being made available under this first competitive call under the new scheme, and will award grants ranging from €10,000 to €25,000 to successful retailer applicants.

The purpose is to support online retailers to enhance their online sales capabilities to increase competitiveness and subsequently scale their businesses particularly in international markets.

Minister Humphreys said: “The retail sector plays a huge role in the economic fabric of Ireland. Many retailers are increasingly facing international competition on their own doorstep through the growth of online retailing. It is important therefore that we encourage sustained growth of the retail sector in Ireland by providing the mechanisms with which retailers can actively develop wider offerings online. My Department is committed to delivering the objectives of Ireland’s enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed, which aims to support the creation and sustainability of quality jobs across Ireland, and to increase Irish businesses’ trading capabilities in response to external challenges like Brexit. Aligned with this, the Online Retail Scheme is intended to enable Irish retailers to effectively compete with international companies, expand their reach overseas and develop a wider customer base overall - both at home and abroad.”

The Scheme is a pilot initiative developed in response to challenges currently ongoing in the retail sector in terms of online capability. The fund will provide grants between €10,000 and €25,000 on a match fund basis with the specific purpose of enhancing digital capability. The total fund size is €1.25m and areas for funding include Research, Strategy Development, Implementation and Training.

Commenting, Stephen Hughes, Head of Consumer, Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting Irish companies to realise their global ambition by providing the mentoring and financial support necessary to scale in international markets. Ireland’s retail sector is a primary contributor to our economy, both nationally and at a regional level but it is under significant pressure, particularly from international competitors with the digital means to extend their reach to Irish consumers. By delivering the Online Retail Scheme, we intend to support Irish retailers to innovate and through innovation, to increase their competitiveness and enhance their online presence.”

The Online Retail Scheme is open to applications from retail SMEs with 20 – 249 employees (FTEs) based across the island of Ireland, and who have a retail outlet.

Stephen Hughes said: “In line with national enterprise policy, regional development is a significant pillar of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy and we understand the role played by retail SMEs in regional communities. To this end, once the fund criteria is met, at least half of the total number of funds will be awarded to Irish retail businesses based outside of Dublin.”

Further information on the Scheme and details on how to apply are available at, or interested parties can email


For further information please contact:

Conor O’Donovan, Head of Communications and Marketing, or 087 967 1342

Nicola Corboy, Press and Media Relations, or 086 021 0114

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish State agency that works with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. Enterprise Ireland partners with entrepreneurs, Irish businesses, and the research and investment communities to develop Ireland’s international trade, innovation, leadership and competitiveness.  In this way, we support sustainable economic growth and regional development, and help create and sustain employment in Ireland.

About the new Online Retail Competitive Scheme:

The purpose of this scheme is to support Irish-owned retail SMEs to embed a more sophisticated online trading (e-tailing) strategy in their business model. Applicant companies must be an Irish-owned small or medium sized retail enterprise that has the potential to create jobs, generate growth in sales and internationalise their business.

The business must also:           

  • have an existing online presence (e.g. website or social media)

  • have a retail outlet and derive the majority of revenue from the retail outlet(s)

  • Must employ at least 20 employees in the Republic of Ireland (on a full-time equivalent basis)