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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

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Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case IE-2020-18/796 Updated – measures in Ireland

COVID-19 online retail scheme

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 30 April 2020 – 25 May 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Reorientation of business activities
– Creation of platforms for businesses aimed at customer
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Case created 26 April 2020 (updated 23 July 2021)

Background information

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) has proposed this scheme in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need for retail companies to achieve a step change in online capability.

The fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of DBEI with a total fund size of €2 million. Applications for funding will be invited through a public call for submission of projects. Successful applicants will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 80% of the project eligible costs with a maximum grant of €40,000.

Content of measure

The purpose of this fund is to enable Irish-owned retailers to enhance their digital capability and to develop a more competitive online offer, that will enable an increase in their customer base and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace both online and offline. Typical elements involved in developing a sophisticated and transactional online presence include research, consultancy costs for strategy development, implementation and training.

The applicant must be an Irish-owned retail enterprise that had 10 or more employees on or before 29 February 2020 and has the potential to sustain or create jobs, generate growth in online transactions and has an ambition to internationalise their business in future.

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);

Successful applicants will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 80% of the project costs. The minimum grant amount payable is €10,000 under this Scheme.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

30 June 2021

A third call launched in May 2021.

Use of measure

According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: 185 applications were approved under the first call with a total value of €6.58 million. A further 145 applications were approved under the second call with a total value of €5.31 million.

A third call launched in May 2021 resulted in 133 applications being approved with a total of €5 million funding being provided.

Prior to this, according to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, 370 companies received funding under the Online Retail Scheme to the value of €12.8 million.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Sector specific set of companies
Companies providing essential services
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public support service providers
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions

No involvement.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G45 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

This case is not occupation-specific.



Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 online retail scheme, case IE-2020-18/796 (measures in Ireland), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.