Local Enterprise Office Announces €4,500 Digital Start Grant For Software Project Planning
Grant funding of up to €4,500 is now available for small businesses with the Digital Start Grant across Ireland to benefit from expert consultancy in the development of a winning digital growth strategy.
The newly launched Local Enterprise Office (LEO) funding is called Digital Start and offers assistance to businesses planning to introduce digital software solutions to boost their businesses and stay ahead of the curve.
The grant is designed by LEO to ensure that small businesses plan well for digital transformation by “maximising every advantage”, whether they are planning to develop bespoke software to improve internal processes or to deliver improved customer experiences through digital solutions.
The funding can be accessed by businesses with up to 10 full-time employees and non-enterprise Ireland/IDA clients with 10-50 employees to develop digital success roadmaps with the help of approved LEO Digitalisation Advisors such as Grofuse.
Grofuse Digital Director, Denis Finnegan, said: “The aim of the LEO Digital Start grant is to help businesses put their best foot forward in their digital journey.
“This means they can benefit from expert guidance from experienced digital transformation professionals who can analyse business operations and provide the best advice on how to maximise return on investment.
“Whether it’s planning for the automation of internal processes by building bespoke software or guidance on data processing and analysis to implement improved customer journeys, the Digital Start grant offers a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to get help from the right digital and IT professionals, and make the most of their investment.”
Digital Start provides strategic intervention for businesses to work with approved LEO Digitalisation Advisors such as Grofuse to:
- Assist them in identifying where they are on their digital business journey.
- Develop a digital adaptation plan based on their identified needs.
- Support in implementing their digital adaptation plan.
Support can be provided in the following ways:
- Developing a business processes digital optimisation strategy.
- Developing a digital customer experience strategy.
- Developing a strategy to utilise digital data for increased sales.
It is important to note that the Digital Start grant is not eligible to cover costs associated with website development, digital marketing or hardware equipment.
By availing of this support from a digital growth agency that provides software solutions, your business can benefit from having a team at your disposal that can not only recommend the best path forward but one that also has the capacity to build the digital infrastructure to the exact specifications required following the consultation period. In that respect, your software project can hit the ground running with the help of the Digital Start grant.
At Grofuse, our team has lots of experience in fully planning, developing and deploying bespoke software innovations for clients to both streamline internal processes and transform customer experiences. and can have a discovery meeting to understand the pain points your customers face as well as future-proofing your business against the competition.
Recent Examples of Grofuse Software Innovations – From Blank Page to Successful Solutions
Customer Journey Software – HR Template Document Platform (B2B) Solutions
Our team at Grofuse, recently planned, developed and deployed an innovative HR template document platform for a long-term client to transform their clients’ experiences.
HR Docs is an entire digital library of HR and employment law compliance template documents to service businesses of all sizes across the island of Ireland and Great Britain. The idea was to provide more value for their existing clients, while also providing a completely new revenue stream through online subscriptions. This has increased their client retention and generated a very effective new revenue stream for their business.
Internal Processes Software – Windows Fabrication Company
For a windows fabrication company, we recently designed and developed a platform to streamline their internal business process. The system was planned in detail with the company through a series of discovery meetings before a detailed roadmap was created to deliver the large-scale project. The result is a software system that streamlines their entire process from first client contact to project sign-off, improving efficiencies by reducing errors and product wastage. The new system was planned, developed and delivered from scratch by the Grofuse team in close consultation with the senior management team and employees at all levels of the company. All the processes were recorded in one place, to be accessed by all team members (with varying levels of permissions) remotely and in real-time using desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Eligibility Criteria For Digital Start Grant
- The business must be in the manufacturing or internationally traded service sector operating in the commercial field.
- The business employs up to 10 full-time employees or non-enterprise Ireland/IDA clients who are employing between 10-50 on a limited basis in consultation with the LEO.
- Start-up businesses are generally not eligible for Digital Start. However, exceptions are considered for start-ups trading for a minimum of six months and generating revenues over €30k.
- Franchises, companies forming part of a holding group or linked companies etc. are only permitted to make one application.
- Online advertising campaigns.
- Marketing campaigns.
- Website design, development and/or website build.
- Purchasing of software packages, licenses or subscriptions.
- Purchasing of hardware equipment.
- Paid photography, banner ads and graphic developments.
Businesses in the following industries are ineligible for the grant if they are:
- Domestically focused on retail, professional services, personal services and construction services.
- Operating in the steel or coal sector.
- Operating in the agricultural, fishery or aquaculture sectors.
- Involved in activities that Local Enterprise Offices consider ineligible activities, including: The gambling sector, adult entertainment, tobacco and tobacco-related products, cannabis-based products that are not authorised as medicines.
The Digital Start Grant Offers Opportunities In 5 Key Areas:
1. Automation in manufacturing facilities and utilisation of AI, also known as Industry 4.0.
Artificial intelligence is enabling manufacturing to become more automated, bringing speed to efficiency and driving down the costs of the goods.
2. Data processing and analysis to support gathering customer trends and valuable insights.
With a deeper understanding of customer behaviours and preferences, you can better resonate with and serve those customers, which, in turn, improves their experience and increases revenue.
3. Cloud computing – moving software/data to the cloud for accessibility.
Cloud computing offers your business many benefits. It allows you to set up what is essentially a virtual office to give you the flexibility of connecting to your business anywhere, any time while reducing IT costs.
4. Cybersecurity – protecting records, information and data from potential attacks.
If you are a business owner, you should always take precautions to implement cybersecurity to keep your customers and your information safe from hackers.
5. Software or technology connectivity.
Connectivity is essential for virtually all businesses in this digital era to provide communications and data.
How Can I Apply?
At Grofuse, our expert digital consultants can help to develop a digital strategy that boosts and future-proofs your business.
Our team will identify where you are on your digital business journey, develop a digital adaptation plan based on your needs and assist you in implementing your digital strategy. With our team of software and digitisation experts, we can ensure that your roadmap foresees all the potential bumps on the road for a smooth development process.
Contact our team today for free assistance in applying for the Digital Start grant. Alternatively, contact your Local Enterprise Office.
Additional Funding From LEO
Do you not meet the criteria requirements for the Digital Start grant?
Check out the Trading Online Voucher scheme. This grant offers up to €2,500 to help SMEs with ten employees or less develop their e-commerce capabilities.