Business

SME retailers in new opportunity to grow online

Invest NI's latest DSCG scheme is offering a grant of up to £20,000 to help SMEs implement an e-commerce project that will allow them to grow their online presence and increase sales
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A FRESH call for applications has gone out to businesses in the north to tap into a £3 million scheme introduced during the Covid pandemic to help them improve their e-commerce capacity.

Invest NI's Digital Selling and Capability Grant (DSCG) has so far helped 93 retailers and wholesalers to invest in online marketing and e-commerce solutions to grow their businesses.

It was the first Covid-19 recovery scheme launched by Invest NI and attracted 127 applications.

“The scheme is now open for further applications, and we hope this second call will be equally well received,” according to Invest NI chief executive Kevin Holland.

“Many retailer and wholesalers experienced a sudden loss of trade when they were forced to close as a result of Covid.

“Faced with long periods without a physical shop for customers to visit, this scheme has provided vital support to help retailers invest in solutions so they can sell online.”

He added “Open to small and medium sized retailers and wholesalers, those successful in this second round of the scheme will receive a maximum grant of £20,000 to implement a project that will allow them to grow their online presence and increase online sales.”

The scheme is open to small and medium sized retailers and wholesalers with five employees or more.

The grant will support 50 per cent of eligible costs for successful projects.

Full details on the scheme, eligibility and how to apply (the deadline is 5pm on Friday July 9) can be found on https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/dscg-call-2

Samuel Lamont & Sons in Lurgan received support in the first phase of the scheme and used the funding to create a new website to sell its range of textile products and household goods online.

General manager Joe Lamont said: “The development of our new website has opened up new opportunities for our business – for both trade and consumer sales.

“The website is linked to our central stock system so the whole online purchasing process is much more efficient and we are able to manage stock more accurately.

“As well as financial help to develop our new website, we also received support for training on digital marketing which will help us to develop our online marketing strategy and drive more online sales.

“We hope that, in turn, we will be able to create new technology and online roles within the company to build on what we have started thanks to the support via DSCG.”

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