Now Closed – COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant


Invest NI’s Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG) has been designed to help SME’s in the retail and wholesale sector IN Northern Ireland ,selling physical products prepare for growth, maximise online sales, develop their customer base and find new markets. DSCG is part of a wider COVID-19 support package to help eligible businesses progress recovery plans, strengthen supply chains, develop new products and access finance.

The scheme is now live and the call for applications closes on 6pm on Wednesday 7th October 2020.

Applicants can complete an online eligibility checker before progressing to the application – The link to this can be found below.


Funding Available:

Businesses can claim a grant for 50% of eligible costs up to a maximum grant of £20,000 for projects – with a minimum eligible expenditure of £10,000.


Eligible Expenditure:

Eligible activities include consultancy services or expertise from a digital marketing or e-commerce supplier to:

  • carry out best practice research to identify relevant benchmarks
  • review current digital marketing capabilities and online sales channels
  • develop a digital marketing strategy to maximise online presence
  • develop an e-commerce strategy to drive sustainable growth in online sales
  • implement an enhanced online e-commerce system or improvements to your existing e-commerce solution for the business
  • in-house training and knowledge transfer to develop the digital marketing and e-commerce capability of the employees for the business
  • improve integration and automation with existing e-commerce systems


The following activities are not covered:

  • Upgrades to existing online channels that would happen anyway or could be considered business as usual.
  • The purchase of computer hardware and equipment, and software licences and subscriptions.
  • Pay-per-click or display advertising costs for online advertising on platforms such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, or purchasing mailing or membership lists.
  • Offline marketing costs.
  • Consultancy and/or supplier costs from related parties.



This scheme is open to all small or medium-sized retailer or wholesaler looking to grow their business online, you are eligible if:

  • Your business operation is based in Northern Ireland.
  • You are a small or medium-sized business employing 10 or more full-time equivalent staff in Northern Ireland.
  • Your business has an existing online presence such as a business website or social media channels.
  • Your business has a physical product, or a range of physical products, that can be sold online and shipped to customers.
  • In the past 12 months, or in the most recent financial year prior to 29 February 2020, more than 50% of your revenue has come from offline sales instead of online sales.
  • Your project is not receiving any other public funding such as government or European Union funding.
  • You are able to deliver your project, pay the costs in full and submit your claim to Invest NI before 26 March 2021.

If you are a business, which is part of a group structure with the same ultimate ownership, you can only submit one application across the group. Also, the business does not have to be an Invest NI customer to apply.


Who Cannot Apply:

  • Businesses involved in the primary production of agricultural products, fisheries and aquaculture.
  • Businesses providing hospitality and leisure services such as hotels, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
  • Businesses involved in the provision of a service such as travel agents, mechanics and tyre fitting services, grooming and beauty services, hair salons, tattoo artists, funeral directors, medical, dental and veterinary practices, accountancy, legal and financial services and insurance broker services.
  • Franchisees of retailers for whom the franchisor provides material online support such as online marketing or e-commerce expertise.
  • Businesses involved in activities that Invest NI considers as ineligible or as involving an unacceptable reputational risk, such as gambling, adult entertainment, tobacco products and cannabis-based products, which are not, authorised as medicines.
  • Businesses that cannot demonstrate they have a viable and profitable operation.


How To Apply

Invest NI’s Digital Selling Capability Grant is now open for applications.

Click Here for Detailed Guidance Notes on the Application Process


Click Here to Check your Eligibility and Apply


You will need the following information to complete the online application form:

  • Your business name.
  • Your contact name and number.
  • Your business address and postcode.
  • The date you established your business in Northern Ireland.
  • Number of people you employ in Northern Ireland.
  • The financial year-end of your business.
  • The annual turnover of your business.
  • The balance sheet total of your business.
  • Annual accounts and financial projections including offline and online sales.
  • Details of the project with costs, tasks and timelines.
  • Your company registration number (if applicable) issued by Companies House, beginning with NI followed by six numbers, for example, NI123456.
  • Supplier quotation(s) for all the project costs included in the application form.