The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys has opened the second call of Enterprise Ireland's Online Retail Scheme. 

The Scheme, an initiative of the Government through Enterprise Ireland, offers a total of €1.25 million in funding to online retailers.

The funding supports research, strategy development, implementation and training. 

It aims to enhance retailers' online sales capabilities and increase their competitiveness as they scale their businesses to international markets.

"Increasing the international sales of Irish companies translates into sustaining and creating high-quality, sustainable jobs across the country -- something that this Government is firmly focused on," Ms Humphreys said.

"Aligned with this, the Online Retail Scheme is intended to enable Irish retailers to expand their reach to a wider customer base both at home and abroad." 

Stephen Hughes, Head of Consumer, Enterprise Ireland, said the Scheme was "developed in response to the challenges currently faced by the retail sector in keeping up with consumers' ever-changing appetite for quick and easy consumption and the advances in digital capability."

"At least half of the total number of funds will be awarded to Irish retail businesses based outside of Dublin," Mr. Hughes projects, highlighting "the important role played by retailers in regional communities."

Any Irish-owned retail business with 10 or more employees and a physical retail outlet can apply for funding ranging from €10,000 to €25,000. 

The six-week application period opens on Wednesday, 19th June and closes at 3pm on Wednesday, 31st July. 

The move has been welcomed by trade organisation, Retail Excellence, which said it would give Irish retailers the resources to respond to external challenges like exporting in Q4 in a difficult post-Brexit environment, flat consumer confidence and increasing business costs.

"While we’re clear that today’s Call 2 launch is most welcome, the fact is that this scheme has been rolled out on a pilot basis, so it’s a step in the right direction," said Bryan Rankin, Head of Public Affairs with Retail Excellence. 

"However, the level of State support and financial intervention needs to be far more ambitious, in our view."

"We will be working with Minister Humphrey’s office to scale up funding to a level that can impact positively on the thousands of retailers that sell Irish products and services online."