10,000 Irish businesses are now online using free tool

8 May 2012

(From left) Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD; Alan Gregory of A.G. Electrical Solutions; Amie Gregory, age 4; John Herlihy, head of Google in Ireland; and Vicky Gregory holding daughter Lucy Gregory (five months), at Google in Dublin

Gettingbusinessonline.ie, the initiative to help business and sole traders in Ireland develop a web presence, has got 10,000 business online since it launched almost a year ago.

The initiative came about in 2011 when Google, Blacknight Internet Solutions, An Post and the county and city enterprise boards came together to help businesses build a free website in less than 30 minutes. 

Blacknight Solutions provides participating businesses with a free website, and hosting with a .eu, .com, .biz or .ie domain name that is free for one year.

Google also provides a trial of online advertising with a coupon worth €100. Meanwhile, the county and city enterprise boards hold training seminars for business owners to guide them through the process of setting up a website.

Alan Gregory of A.G. Electrical Solutions from Drogheda, Co Louth, has become the 10,000th Irish business to migrate to the online space using Gettingbusinessonline.ie.

Gregory said he set up his website in March this year, when he attended a Getting Business Online event held by Google along with the Drogheda Local Heroes team.

Speaking at Google’s European HQ in Dublin yesterday where he met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, Gregory said he has already noticed an increase in new business queries since going online.

“My business is now effectively open 24/7 and I can market my services to customers all over Ireland, not just in Louth,” he said.

Having set up A.G. Electrical Solutions in September 2011, Gregory said he knew he had to create a website to capitalise on online searches for electrical contractors.

Ronan Harris, EMEA director of large customer sales at Google, said there are still 30,000 businesses in Ireland without a web presence and the initiative would continue to reach out to such businesses to help them get online.

Google eCounty Award

Meanwhile, John Herlihy, head of Google in Ireland, said yesterday the search giant will also be launching the Google eCounty Award to complement the online drive.

“We will be breaking Ireland down into its 26 different counties to see which ones have seen the biggest growth in online commercial activity over the last year. It will be interesting to see which counties have best grasped the economic opportunities of the web,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic