145 retailers have been approved for funding through the second call of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme, which is administered by Enterprise Ireland.

The businesses have been approved for €5.3 million in funding as part of the scheme, which is targeted at retailers who already have an online presence - to strengthen their online offering and enable them to reach a wider customer base.

The successful applicants will receive funding ranging from €16,000 to €40,000.

The average grant value is €36,700 and covers up to 80% of project costs.

The scheme, which was announced in the Government's July Jobs Stimulus package, received 204 applications.

70% of the successful applicants are located outside Dublin with 102 retailers from these regions approved for funding.

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English said they received a very positive response from the Irish retail sector to the second call for applications.

"We know that consumers are keen to support their local retailers, even when shopping online, and these grants will help businesses to really maximise the opportunities in the e-commerce market.

"Of course, this market is not limited by geography and physical location and we know that Irish businesses with strong online resources also have their eyes on the international marketplace," he said.

Stephen Creaner, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland added that the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme has proven to be a very attractive scheme for retailers.

"Grants through this scheme are being used by retailers to upgrade their systems, to improve their digital presence and to become more competitive in the virtual marketplace.

"This is helping to broaden their customer base and grow sales with some companies reporting that they are recruiting extra staff as result," he said.

The 1933 Furniture Company, located in Beechmount Industrial Estate in Navan, Co. Meath was one of the 145 companies to receive grant approval in the second call for the scheme.

Conor Moran, Online Marketing Manager, said they are delighted to be approved.

"Our customers are spending an increased amount of time online, so the digital landscape is becoming an ever more important channel for us.

"We believe that the grant support will offer us the opportunity to create a new online platform that complements and integrates with our existing business model," he said,

The Online Retail Scheme was open to Irish-owned retailers with a physical store and a pre-existing online presence who employ 10 or more people.  

In addition, the scheme focuses on retailers predominantly selling products to individual consumers as opposed to those selling mainly to business customers.

Grants can be used to fund fees for service providers, develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training and enhance the retailer's website.

The scheme is in addition to the €2,500 Trading Online Vouchers, provided through the Local Enterprise Offices for companies with up to 10 employees.

Enterprise Ireland will be opening a new call under the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme in early 2021.

The 145 retailers awarded funding, operate across a broad spectrum of sectors including healthcare, jewellery, fashion, sports, homeware and furniture, electrical goods and equipment.