New Digital Selling grant to help retailers and wholesalers generate business online

COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant - Applications now open - banner

Open for applications from today (9 September 2020) the new COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant is specifically aimed at helping retail and wholesale businesses grow online sales.

It is one of a number of new initiatives we are developing to help companies respond to new business environment in the wake of COVID-19.

A maximum grant of £20,000 is available to eligible small and medium-sized retailers to support 50 per cent of eligible costs. Projects must have a minimum eligible expenditure of £10,000. Click here for full details.

A maximum grant of £20,000* is available to eligible small and medium-sized retailers. Retailers and wholesalers will be able to use this new grant to access consultancy services or expertise from a digital marketing or e-commerce supplier. It is designed to support retailers to research, develop and implement digital marketing and e-commerce improvements to specifically drive online sales.

Doing business online is one of the ways retailers can adapt to the current limitations of social distancing and the rise in consumers choosing to shop online. As the graph below shows, online shopping was already on the increase even before COVID. Previously accounting for just over 20% of all retail sales, since COVID this has escalated at a quicker rate and spiked highest when the restrictions were most strict. The trend is more businesses and consumers are buying online rather than in store and its important our retailers are well placed to fulfil this trend.

An online strategy will ensure retailers can continue to sell to their customers while also opening up opportunities to reach new markets and new customers.

We are confident that it is this sort of practical support that will help retailers to develop new ways of doing business and support them remain viable and competitive for the longer term.

The first call for applications is open until 6.00pm on Wednesday 7 October. Applications will be evaluated against as set of assessment criteria. Full details are available in the Guidance Notes published on


Richard Nugent

It’s a shame these grants are not available for operational micro-SMEs with no minimum staff numbers. These are the businesses that truly need digital help.

Warnock Mills

I agree with Richard Nugent's previous comment regarding staff numbers. We are in retail homeware and have quite substantial stock levels. We currently do not undertake any online sales and would need to employ new staff with the appropriate IT skills to transition to online sales.

Invest NI

Thank you both for your comments.

There are over 9,000 retail/wholesale businesses in Northern Ireland and unfortunately it is not possible to fund all through the Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG). DSCG is a competitive fund and expects to award up to £1million in funding in this call. To ensure the best return in investment for the public funding available, DSCG is aimed at businesses with sufficient scale in terms of products, staff, resources and a proven track record to deliver the greatest return.

You can contact our Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422 to see if there are other Invest NI supports you may be able to avail of.

margaret donnelly

Can you lets us know where Micro businesses can get grants for e-commerce and digital marketing please.

Invest NI

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for your enquiry.

To see how we can support, can you please contact our Business Support team on 0800 181 4422 or by completing the ‘send us an enquiry’ form on our website