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Enterprise Ireland's Grant Landscape

The COVID-19 crisis has taught us that even though there’s healthy competition in the Irish business community, we’re all united in trying to adapt and survive the country’s biggest economic challenge in living memory.

We all know the Government’s phased easing of restrictions isn’t a simple roadmap to getting back to exactly the way we were before the pandemic. COVID-19 hasn’t just been a pause, but a hard reset that calls for many Irish companies to fundamentally rethink their entire business strategy to survive.

Enterprise Ireland reported in May 2020 that 60% of the companies they engaged with in the first weeks of the crisis felt COVID-19 had a very negative or critical impact on their business. In reality, this figure will eventually be a lot higher, as the economic shockwaves — both nationally and globally — will be felt for years.

There are some positive figures, however. Enterprise Ireland reported a surge in its client companies’ export performance in 2019 — up 8% to €25.6 billion. And the report also showed that last year that exports to the Eurozone region saw record growth of 15% to €5.6bn, while exports to North America increased by 16% to €4.7bn. This shows that Irish companies can prosper through diversification. More than ever, this will be an essential survival strategy.

The State has been proactive in its approach to preserving the long-term survival of Irish businesses. Within the first few weeks of lockdown, Enterprise Ireland had introduced a series of unprecedented grants, with millions of euro to be shared among Irish companies. A wide range of grants are available, with numerous criteria and categories — all under the banner of transformation through enhanced eCommerce, marketing, export development and other digital strategies.

Grants are awarded through a rigorous application process, in which Irish companies are given the opportunity to present a feasible, proactive strategy for survival, post-COVID. Don’t be put off by a seemingly complex application — within a few days or a week you could formulate a winning response that could save your business. Some of the grants have no closing date, with an approval response time of less than 48 hours, so grab the opportunity.

Let Matrix be your guide

Matrix can be your partner in this field, helping you navigate the grant landscape, home in on a scheme that suits your company, and formulate a project that will impress Enterprise Ireland judges and selectors.

Over the years, we have helped dozens of clients secure EI grants, and our Optimise Digital Healthcheck programme with the IE Domain Registry has helped deliver greater online exposure and economic success to hundreds of small businesses nationwide.

We have already helped many companies develop successful proposals in their recent EI Online Retail Scheme applications — demystifying the process and helping them develop tangible long-term goals.

Here we have selected some of the most valuable State grants, with their most attractive features, the criteria for applicants, and how Matrix can help in the process.

With these grants, the Government has already sent a message that Irish businesses don’t need to go it alone — and Matrix can give you a head start.

If you would like Matrix to be your project partner for State funding, or if you’d like to to start a conversation about potentially applying for any of these grants, please email ecommerce@matrixinternet.ie.

These Enterprise Ireland grants could transform your business

Offering:

€10,000-€40,000, with funding to support 80% of a proposed project to develop a sophisticated online presence.

Criteria:

Open to Irish retailers with 10+ employees, with an existing online presence and a goal of creating jobs and expanding through online sales, in Ireland and internationally. Applications are welcome from non-EI clients.

In brief

  • The grant will fund a long-term project (6-9 months) with a digital agency, usually chosen from an approved list of providers (including Matrix).
  • Aimed at companies with an ambition and strategy for sustaining and creating jobs, and ultimately expanding their eCommerce business internationally.
  • Applicants must show a drive for digital innovation — applications won’t be considered for upgrades to existing online channels that would be happening anyway, or funding for ‘off-the-shelf’ software or pay-per-click ads.

Suitable projects

  • Enterprise Ireland will award grants to companies who propose projects that come under any — or all — of the following three categories:
    • Research: In-depth analysis of your company’s current online presence, target audience and brand, which will in turn inform future business strategies and create a path to digital excellence.
    • Strategy development: Developing a roadmap and a strong foundation for maximising your company’s online potential and devising multichannel offerings.
    • Implementation: With a strong foundation in research and strategy in place, a transformative project that will realise these business goals — for example enhanced SEO, improvements to back end systems or a new eCommerce platform.

How Matrix can help

We have 20 years’ experience as a full-service agency, and have worked with hundreds of clients on projects under the above criteria. Matrix has already collaborated with numerous Irish businesses in the first round of Online Retail Scheme applications — and had a 100% success rate, with all of our partner applicants receiving funding in the ORS first round.

When COVID-19 emerged in early 2020 as a threat to Irish business, we quickly developed a dynamic new holistic eCommerce improvement programme called Digital Spark, which will form the basis of these proposed ORS projects, if awarded.

Digital Spark is a dynamic initiative that will ignite your whole business model — from research workshops and strategic planning, to implementing powerful new web functionality. Read more here.

Closing date: The second round of the COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme funding has just been announced, with €5.5 million to be shared among companies who may have missed their chance the first time around. The call open date is Monday, August 31, and the closing date is September 28, at 3pm.

Get all the information and apply here

Offering:

Up to €2,500 grant support for business consultancy and training — from crisis response to developing a long-term strategy for resilience and sustainability.

Criteria:

Open to Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta clients as well as domestically focused companies with 10+ staff in manufacturing or internationally traded service sectors.

In brief:

  • Use the voucher to hire an agency from an approved list of providers (including Matrix)
  • Devised for rapid improvement — support can be spread out over a maximum of six weeks, with a daily spend cap of €900
  • Consultancy service will be delivered online

Suitable projects:

  • Transforming your eCommerce business model (excludes online marketing or developing a new website)
  • Reviewing your business strategy to cope with drastic market changes
  • Transforming your productivity
  • Future-proofing your business through risk assessment and analysis
  • Training your staff in adapting to new health and safety guidelines

How Matrix can help:

We can offer an intensive improvement package that identifies your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and how you can adapt and thrive in this new business landscape. Based on an audit, practical discovery workshops and close collaboration with key stakeholders, we will then formulate a winning digital strategy and a roadmap for success.

Our team will even collaborate with you in the application process, greatly improving your chances of securing the grant. This will ensure we’re already finely tuned to your needs before embarking on the project.

Closing dates

There are no closing dates for this scheme, and grants aren’t awarded by a competitive judging panel. Projects are approved on a case-by-case basis — with a quick approval time of less than 24 hours.

Get all the information and apply here

Offering:

Maximum grant of €35,000 to provide 50% funding to support a digital marketing project focused on developing export potential, and developing the company’s management knowledge and skills.

Criteria:

Open to Irish SMEs and large companies with more than 10 employees, who are also Enterprise Ireland clients.

In brief:

  • Aimed at companies with an existing eCommerce platform and an ambition to enhance their overall digital marketing strategy for international trade.
  • The grant will fund a short- to medium-term project with a consultant, usually chosen from an approved list of providers (including Matrix).
  • Grant will cover specialist consultancy costs in delivering a proposed Business Process Improvement Assignment — with a maximum consultancy rate of €900 per day.

Suitable projects

  • Strategic review of your existing eCommerce model, and in turn developing your company’s future online export strategy.
  • An e-Marketing improvement programme based on practical training in understanding international markets and your competitors.
  • Company-wide upskilling in digital marketing practices, through hands-on training and collaboration with the external consultant.
  • Developing and marketing your own products for export.

How Matrix can help:

We believe in close collaboration rather than top-down training. As a marketing improvement partner we will join your company and get to your core through discovery workshops that include brand refinement, peer audits and ideas for updating content strategy.

We will develop a dynamic, tailored marketing strategy for export, with elements of content marketing, social media marketing and email marketing, as well as innovative inbound marketing techniques.

Even before you become our project partner, we will begin our collaboration on the grant application process itself, so you have a deep insight into our practical methods, while increasing your chances of a successful application.

Closing dates

There are no closing dates for this scheme, and grants aren’t awarded by a competitive judging panel — projects are approved on a case-by-case basis.

Get all the information and apply here

 

Offering:

Grant of up to €35,000 to provide 50% towards the cost of hiring an external consultant to grow your business through strategic innovation.

Criteria: Applicants must be Irish SMEs with 10-249 staff, with international manufacturing or service capabilities.

In brief:

  • Aimed at Irish SMEs with an ambition to enhance their overall digital strategy through through specialist eCommerce or digital transformation consultancy services.
  • The grant will fund a medium- to long-term project with a consultant, usually chosen from an approved list of providers (including Matrix).
  • Grant will cover specialist consultancy costs with a maximum consultancy rate of €900 per day. Consultants can be hired as a coach, mentor, facilitator, analyst or negotiator.

Suitable projects

  • Significant, transformative projects such as a strategic review of separate business functions
  • Implementing new strategic initiatives at corporate or functional level
  • Any transformative strategic project outside of ‘normal’ outsourced consultancy costs such as PR, legal and regular ongoing marketing costs.

How Matrix can help

Since forming in 2000, Matrix has been behind many Irish SME success stories — many of these through devising bespoke strategic improvements. Through working with hundreds of clients, from small businesses to State organisations, we have a track record of creating detailed strategic roadmaps that will fully align with your budget.

From the application process to working on a long-term project, we will always lead by applying strategic thinking in all levels of collaboration.

Closing date

No closing date — companies can apply all year.

Get all the information and apply here

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