Two support schemes, which were introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in a bid to alleviate the pressure on retail and wholesale businesses across Northern Ireland, have helped over 700 businesses according to Economy Minister Gordon Lyons.
Helping Businesses Grow Their Online Presence
The two schemes in question are the Covid-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG) and the Covid-19 Micro-business E-commerce Grant (MBEG), and they were specifically put in place to help businesses grow their online presence, improving their e-commerce and digital marketing skills with the focus on boosting online sales.
Speaking during a visit to Houstons, one of the businesses that received support through DSCG, minister Gordon Lyons is quoted on the 4ni website, saying:
“The pandemic has been a catalyst for an increase in consumer online spending and I am pleased that my Department could provide funding to support businesses across Northern Ireland to mitigate the challenges of Covid-19. Many have used the grants to focus on online strategies for their businesses, develop new e-commerce websites and avail of consultancy services. This has ensured that our local retail sector could react quickly to high street restrictions and grow in new ways.”
The Minister continued: “I’m also pleased to be in Enniskillen today to see first-hand how the scheme has positively impacted local businesses here. Following DSCG support, Houstons has experienced a 400 percent increase in its monthly online sales, particularly in GB and has expanded its team to help it keep up with the increase in demand. This is just one example of the positive impact of my Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan on businesses here.”
Schemes To Equip Retailers To Respond To Business Challenges
In the same article Ethna McNamee, Invest NI’s Western Regional Manager (Invest NI developed these two schemes), said:
“We developed these schemes to equip local retailers to respond to business challenges and maximise online sales opportunities. Our two digital schemes, DSCG and MBEG, have given SMEs and micro-businesses the confidence to explore the world of online selling, both locally and globally, so that they can sustain their businesses and increase their export potential.”
There is no doubt that these schemes have helped many businesses across the country improve their digital marketing skills, which can only be a good thing. More of these sort of schemes are required in the future to help local businesses get a strong foothold in the online marketplace.