Free digital skills course for Irish businesses launched by Google

25 Jul 2022

Socafro Kitchen founder Alistair Jeje and Minister Damien English. Image: Google Ireland

You’re the Business will help Irish SMEs at all stages to get online and expand internationally.

Google has developed a free online digital skills programme for Irish businesses to get online and expand their services both locally and internationally.

Launched today (25 July), the You’re the Business digital upskilling programme has been created in association with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices.

It comes in response to research that suggests Irish SMEs are lagging behind European counterparts in digitalisation. A recent report by Google found that more than one in 10 SMEs based in Ireland do not use digital technology in their business.

Almost half of SMEs in Ireland do not have their own website, significantly higher than the EU average (23pc). A similar percentage also believe their employees have few or none of the skills needed to adopt technology, and less than half have invested any time in digital skills training.

Through You’re the Business, Irish SMEs will have access to a series of live and on-demand training sessions. These sessions are geared towards supporting businesses at all stages of the digitalisation journey, from early-stage companies to those ready to starting exporting.

Across three modules, businesses will learn how to get online, grow their digital footprint and expand internationally. Google’s research suggests that demand for such programmes is high, with 32pc of Irish SMEs surveyed saying they would like to invest time in digital skills training.

“The skills required for doing business in a digital-first world are constantly evolving, and it can be challenging for SMEs to stay ahead of the curve as they manage their day-to-day business needs,” said Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English, TD.

While open to all SMEs in Ireland, 10 participants will also be awarded with a suite of customised supports such as mentorship and a €1,000 Google Ads package. To be eligible, businesses must upload a short video explaining what digital skills mean to them and how they’re using it.

“Knowing that there is still a digital divide, where a significant proportion of Irish businesses are not online, even though their customers are, we are keen to come together to help. Getting online can unlock so many opportunities for businesses,” said Alice Mansergh, director for small business at Google.

“Digital skills will be important for driving competitiveness and navigating volatility in the years to come, and so will be important not only to individual SMEs but to the Irish economy overall.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic