COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant - third call

News article

The COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG) will help established retail and wholesale businesses in Northern Ireland to grow their business online - this information is for the third call for applications

This call for applications closed at 5pm on Friday 15 October 2021.

This third call for applications is open to any small or medium-sized retailer or wholesaler with 5 employees or more. The business must have an existing online presence and want to enhance its digital offering to expand its customer base, improve e-commerce capability and increase online sales.

Businesses can access a maximum grant of £20,000 to support 50% of eligible costs for projects. The project must have a minimum eligible expenditure of £10,000.

DSCG is developed and operated by Invest Northern Ireland.

How to apply

As a small or medium-sized retailer or wholesaler, you are eligible if:

  • Your business operation is based in Northern Ireland and has been trading at least 2 years.
  • You are a small or medium-sized business employing 5 or more full-time equivalent staff in Northern Ireland.
  • You are a retail or wholesale business with physical retail or wholesale premises in Northern Ireland, accessible to the public.
  • Where your business turnover includes income from sources other than your retail or wholesale premises, more than 50% of your total turnover/sales/revenue must be from your retail/wholesale operation (i.e. you are NOT primarily a manufacturer, producer, engineering or services business, etc.)
  • 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 either the current or previous two financial years, 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 to your supplier(s) and submit your claim to Invest NI before 28 February 2022.

Please note, if you are a business, which is part of a group structure or has the same ultimate ownership, you can only submit one application across the group of businesses. When evaluating if a business is a small or medium-sized business, Invest NI will consider the group structure as a whole, including the resources of all companies where there is common ownership.

Who is not eligible?

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • Businesses that cannot demonstrate they have a viable and profitable operation.
  • 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, estate agents, photographers, delivery services, 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.


DSCG is now closed to applications.

This third call for applications closed at 5pm on Friday 15 October 2021.

Please read and check your application form before submitting it as corrections or additional information provided after the closing date will not be accepted.

How to apply

Your first step was to check if you are eligible to apply for DSCG. If you met the eligibility criteria, you were able to access the online application. The application process takes approximately one hour to complete.

You may find these FAQs (PDF, 198K) helpful when applying.

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.
  • Last 2 years Annual accounts information and headline financial projections including turnover, employee numbers, 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.

You are responsible for providing accurate and true information on your application.

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Guidance Notes (PDF, 383K) and the FAQs (PDF, 198K).

General enquiries

Please also review these FAQs (PDF, 198K) regarding the DSCG.

If you have any enquiries about the COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant complete this enquiry form.

For general enquiries, please contact Invest NI’s Business Support Team on 0800 181 4422. Lines are open Monday to Friday 10am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

First published 20 September 2021