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Minister Humphreys announces recipients of new fund for Irish retailers

Irish retailers awarded in scheme to accelerate retailers’ online offering and increase competitiveness

Skibbereen, Co. Cork, 1st March Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today announced the recipients of the first call of the new Online Retail Scheme, which is delivered for the Government by Enterprise Ireland. Eleven retailers were awarded funding as part of the new €1.25m fund, which is targeted at online retailers to strengthen their online offering to enable them to reach a wider customer base.

Minister Humphreys was in Skibbereen to launch a new South-West Regional Enterprise Plan

The scheme recipients were announced by the Minister at CH Marine, a marine supply store based in Skibbereen, and one of the 11 successful recipients under the fund.

The Online Retail Scheme was introduced by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation as part of the ongoing work of the Retail Consultation Forum, which Minister Humphreys chairs. The scheme is administered by Enterprise Ireland, and with a fund of €625,000 available under the first competitive call, provided grant funding ranging from €10,000 to €25,000 was awarded to the successful applicants.

Minister Humphreys said: “The evolution of digital technologies and emerging trends has had a transformative effect on retail today. It is important that the retail sector in Ireland is best positioned to take advantage of the opportunity that this presents and that they have a competitive offering in an international context. Supporting the retail sector is critical to sustaining a robust regional economy, which my Department is committed to, particularly in the context of Brexit and the challenges that lie ahead. I look forward to launching the second competitive call later this year.”

The purpose of the scheme 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 added: “I am delighted to be here in West Cork today where I am launching a new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-West. Schemes like this are an important part of the Government’s effort to ensure that our businesses can remain competitive in a changing world.”

Commenting, Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland said, “It is important that Irish retailers can evolve in order to take advantage of global opportunities, and this Scheme was designed as an effective means for retailers to do that by strengthening their online presence. I am delighted to say that this pilot scheme attracted a high level of interest, particularly from regionally-based companies, which reflects the appetite for innovation among Irish businesses.”

Welcoming the announcement, Bryan Rankin, head of public policy at Retail Excellence said “The Online Retail Scheme is very welcome and will give retailers the resources to respond to external challenges like exporting post-Brexit, weaker consumer confidence and increasing business costs. While many smaller retailers have fantastic products and services that will appeal to international customers, they need to invest in eCommerce platforms and get expert advice. Retail contributes over €7 billion to the Irish economy and sustains 282,000 jobs. We are particularly pleased to see that nine out of the 11 successful recipients are active members of Retail Excellence, and we look forward to the announcement of the Phase 2 funding.”

The 11 retailers awarded funding, who operate in a variety of sectors including, music, traditional Irish produce and giftware, and marine and outdoors equipment are:

Golden Disc Group, Dublin.
Clydaville Investments Limited t/a The Kilkenny Group, Dublin
Inish Health (Muff) Limited, Donegal
House of Ireland, Dublin
Carrolls Irish Gifts, Dublin
Great Outdoors Ltd, Dublin
Arboretum Ltd, Carlow
CH Marine Ltd, Cork
SAOS Ltd,t/a Star Schools Supplies, Dublin
O’Sullivan Safety Ltd, Dublin
Rathwood, Carlow


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)

The Retail Consultation Forum
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation convenes the Retail Consultation Forum and provides it with Secretariat support. The Forum enables key issues affecting the retail sector to be discussed, with a view to identifying practical actions which could be taken by Government, or by industry itself, to support sustainable jobs growth in the sector. The Forum is chaired by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.
For more information please contact or ph: (01) 6312200
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