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Covid-19

Emergency Management

26 Mar 2020

Fingal County Council and COVID-19: Help us to help you.

Fingal County Council's public offices are now closed to the general public.

A number of our services can be completed over the phone, by mail or online.

You can contact Customer Care Unit at 01 8905000 . Paperwork can be sent by e-mail. E-mail addresses may be found on our website at www.fingal.ie

Full details can be found here.

 

Fingal Community Response Forum

A dedicated community support helpline and email address has been launched to assist at-risk members of the public in accessing non-emergency and non-medical supports and advice. Find out more here.

Big Surge in Fingal Businesses Moving Online

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, thousands of businesses throughout the country are moving their businesses online.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, thousands of businesses throughout the country are moving their businesses online. The Local Enterprise Office in Fingal is at the forefront in enabling this transition to online selling and is very busy dealing with a large volume of small businesses that wish to explore how they can maintain their business by using technology and E-Commerce to service their client base.
Last month, in response to the need for businesses to continue to trade during the pandemic, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, announced a substantial improvement to the “Trading Online Voucher” (TOV) scheme. This scheme provides funding and expertise to small businesses that wish to start trading online. Funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, as part of the National Digital Strategy, the TOV scheme supports local and established small businesses in enhancing their online offering. In her announcement, Minister Humphreys revealed that the match-funding element of the TOV was temporarily reduced from 50% to 10% until the end of September. In addition, previous TOV recipients would now be allowed to apply for a 2nd TOV to upgrade their eCommerce activities. 
The Local Enterprise Office in Fingal has responded proactively to enable as many businesses as possible to gain access to the scheme and is running a series of webinars for all LEOs and qualifying businesses nationwide. These webinars commenced on Tuesday the 28th April with 478 participants, of which, 170 were Fingal businesses. By the end of this week over 2,000 businesses will have participated in one of the webinars, at which details of the scheme are provided, as well as an excellent training session where business owner/managers are advised how they can successfully move their business online.  In a few short weeks, LEO Fingal has already approved 54 TOV applications with a further 67 currently under assessment. And it plans to approve much more during this crisis.
Commenting on the high volume off applications to the TOV scheme, Oisín Geoghegan, Chair of the LEO Network and Head of Enterprise in Fingal said: “While we’re starting on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, many local businesses still cannot trade from physical premises. It’s important now that businesses look at whether their business can be moved online and, if it can, they must know how they can do this to best effect”.
Meanwhile, other new initiatives such as the “Business Continuity Voucher” (BCV) have also seen a large volume of applications as businesses reach out to the Fingal Local Enterprise Office for support to help them survive the crisis. Worth up to €2,500 in third-party consultancy support, the BCV is designed is to help companies make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales. To date, LEO Fingal has approved 109 BCV applications to Fingal Businesses with a further 160 being assessed.
Finally, businesses that need to access funding are encouraged to apply for MFI COVID-19 Business Loans, which have seen a substantial reduction in interest rates down to 4.5%, where applications are made through LEO Fingal. These loans of up to €50,000 are available from MFI with no repayments and no interest charged in the first six months, for eligible businesses that employ less than 10 people.
Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, has encouraged any small business that is experiencing trading difficulties to avail of the Local Enterprise Office supports:
“Our Local Enterprise Office is working extremely hard to help small businesses to survive the impacts of COVID-19. In Fingal County Council we want to make sure that our local businesses are given all of the supports that they need to survive the current crisis. I am proud that our LEO was very quick to respond in very practical ways, such as by moving all of their services online, by actively promoting new funded business continuity schemes and by providing a wide array of customised and practical supports for business”. 
For a comprehensive list of the latest information and supports available to Fingal businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the LEO Fingal website www.localenterprise.ie/Fingal and sign up to the “Fingal Enterprise News” ezine to receive updates straight to your inbox.
ENDS
For media queries, please contact Oisín Geoghegan, Chair of the LEO Network and Head of Enterprise in Fingal, on: Tel: 01 8900 800 or 087-9884081. E-mail: [email protected].
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) 
The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Fingal is part of a network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, located within the Local Authority structure. The Fingal office is one of the largest and most active LEOs in the country. The role of the LEO is to support, and aid existing and potential small business promoters located in Fingal. In addition, Fingal LEO aims to foster the development of an enterprise culture. The LEOs operate under a Service Level Agreement with Enterprise Ireland. Local Enterprise Office Fingal is funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Trading Online Voucher
Delivered by the Local Enterprise Offices, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is an initiative under the Government’s National Digital Strategy: phase 1 (2013), funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment. It is designed to support small Irish businesses to develop their online presence and start to sell their products and service online by offering them training coupled with a financial incentive to develop their e-commerce capability. Companies that remain offline are missing out on the opportunity to be part of Ireland’s growing digital economy.

Trading Online Vouchers can be used for:
- development or upgrade of an e-commerce website, such as implementing online payments or booking systems
- purchase of internet related software
- online advertising (subject to limits)
- development of an app
- development and/or implementation of a digital marketing strategy
- consultation with ICT experts
- training and support to develop and manage your online trading activity 

The scheme is open to small businesses that have a limited or no e-commerce presence, have no more than 10 employees and a turnover of less than €2 million. Applicants must be trading for a minimum of 6 months.

Business Continuity Voucher (through Local Enterprise Offices)

Sole traders and businesses*, employing up to 50 staff, are eligible to apply for a Business Continuity Voucher to the value of €2,500 towards third party consultancy costs to assist with developing short-term and long-term strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the voucher is to provide contingency planning advice to assist enterprises to continue trading through the crisis.   

The primary aim of the scheme will be to support companies make informed decisions on the immediate measures needed to continue trading in the current environment while securing the safety of all employees and future business viability through identification of remedial actions. 

The Business Continuity Voucher is available to support businesses:

i.    Develop a business continuity plan 
ii.    Assess current financial needs in the short term to medium term 
iii.    Reduce variable costs, overheads and expenses,
iv.    Review and explore supply chain financing options
v.    Implement remote working processes or procedures
vi.    Leverage HR expertise 
vii.    Leverage ICT expertise  
viii.    Prepare a business case for application to emergency financial interventions available through Banks, SBCI (Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland) and Microfinance Ireland.

Application forms are available from www.LocalEnterprise.ie/Response and completed forms are submitted to the relevant Local Enterprise Office by e-mail.

Please note: 
Applicants to the Business Continuity Voucher scheme must be an Irish-owned enterprise with up to 50 employees. An application must be submitted in the name of a company registered with the Companies Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application. Applications will also be accepted from Sole Traders and Partnerships.
 

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