€150k Optimise Fund to bring 20 more firms into the digital economy in 2014

5 Dec 2013

Twenty more firms will be supported by the IE Domain Registry’s (IEDR) €150,000 Optimise Fund. So far the annual fund has brought 45 businesses into the digital economy with e-commerce development support.

The Optimise Fund helps provide small business owners with tangible improvements to their online presence, such as the incorporation of real-time payments, online catalogues, order processing and booking facilities.

The fund will open in early 2014 to applications from all organisations classified as an SME or micro-enterprise and applicants must have an existing .ie website that is hosted online and accessible to the public.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, said the aim of his department’s National Digital Strategy will be to get 2,000 small Irish businesses trading online over a period of two years. In the coming year, businesses will be able to apply for €2,500 innovation vouchers to e-commerce-enable their firms.

“The Optimise Fund, along with other similar schemes, will assist these companies in developing the capacity and skills which are crucial to compete in the global economy and is a fine example from IEDR of the practical support for small business developing their online presence,” Rabbitte said.

Irish spend €4bn online every year

IEDR chief executive David Curtin outlined the importance of bringing Irish SMEs up to speed in terms of e-commerce, especially at a time when Irish consumers are spending €4bn a year online, out of which three-quarters of this amount goes to overseas businesses.

“With our Optimise Fund now firmly established, we’re excited about helping a further 20 firms achieve their online potential next year. Our experience in working with small companies at various stages of their online life means we can deliver tailored e-commerce solutions which make a real difference. Optimise is about identifying the tools and technologies and instilling the confidence and know-how to help small business owners take their business forward online.

“At a time when Irish consumers are spending in the region of €4bn on the web, there’s never been a better time for small firms to be e-commerce ready.

“It’s something that Irish companies have remained worryingly slow to do, yet this year’s winners clearly demonstrate the results attainable from taking small steps to improve their e-commerce capability,” Curtin said.

The continuation of the fund into its fourth year was announced at a ceremony today to celebrate the 20 winners of the 2013 fund.

These included The Butler’s Pantry, Killowen Farm, Business World, Press22, Java Republic, Rock Farm Slane, Wholesale Directory, Seavite bodycare, Viking Marine, Colmac Robotics, Eurocyles, Courtlough Shooting Grounds, PuddleDucks, Motive Television, Orient Travel, Tyre and Service Superstore, Anchor Safety, Air Impact, Datascope and RA Kee & Sons Ltd.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years