COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG)

15 June 2021


The COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant (DSCG) has launched its second call for applications. The scheme is developed by Invest NI, and has been designed to help established small or medium retail or wholesale businesses to grow their online capabilities.

The second call for applications will close at 5pm on Friday 9 July 2021.

The program offers 50% funding support for projects with expenditure between £10,000 and £40,000, providing support for small and medium businesses to improve their e-commerce capability, expand their customer base, and boost online sales.

This means businesses can claim up to £20,000 of support.


Who Can Apply?

The Digital Selling Capability Grant is open to any small or medium sized retailer or wholesaler, who can display the following eligibility criteria:

  • You are a small or medium business, based in Northern Ireland, with 5 or more full-time equivalent staff.
  • You are a retail or wholesale business with physical premises in Northern Ireland which are accessible to the public.
  • Your business has a physical product which can be sold online and shipped to customers.
  • Where income includes multiple sources, 50% or more of total turnover must be from your retail/wholesale operation (i.e not manufacturing, engineering, services).
  • Your business has an existing online presence such as a website or social media page.
  • Offline sales account for more than 50% of total sales in the past 2 years.
  • The project is not already in receipt of public funding support.



The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • Businesses which 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 and cafes.
  • Businesses involved in the provision of services such as travel agents, photographers, beauty or grooming studios, hair salons, funeral directors, mechanics and tyre fitting studios, accountancy, legal and financial services and insurance broker services.
  • Franchisees of retailers who provide material online support such as marketing or e-commerce expertise.
  • Business involved in activities that Invest NI consider as ineligible or involving an unacceptable reputational risk, such as gambling, adult entertainment, tobacco products, and cannabis products which are not authorised as medicines.


You can check if you’re eligible by using the online eligibility checker here.


What are Eligible Activities?

Projects must have minimum eligible expenditure of £10,000. Eligible activities are wide ranging, but support can be used 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 of online sales.
  • Implement an enhanced online e-commerce system or improvements to current e-commerce systems.
  • In-house training and knowledge transfer to develop the digital marketing and e-commerce capabilities of employees.
  • Improve integration and automation with existing e-commerce systems.


The following activities are NOT covered:

  • Upgrades to existing online channels which would be considered business as usal or would happen anyway.
  • The purchase of computer hardware, software licenses, hosting charges and subscriptions.
  • Pay-per-click or display advertising costs, or purchasing mailing or membership lists.
  • Offline marketing costs.
  • External training fees.
  • Consultancy or supplier costs from related parties.


How to Apply:

Applications for the COVID-19 Digital Selling Capability Grant are now open for a competitive call for applications.

The second call for application will close at 5pm on Friday 9 July 2021.

To check eligibility and apply, click here.

Click here to access the Guidance notes and FAQs to support you with your application.



If you have any queries or need help with your application, please contact us here.